2014 Albarrada, Vinho Regional Alentejano

It’s a night of experimentation, with new foodstuffs and wine on the line. Let’s start with dinner–a new recipe for chicken cacciatore with fettuccine pasta and mushrooms. The chicken was light, the pasta was easy, and we kicked up the garlic-infused red sauce a notch by way of some carefully placed flakes of crushed red pepper. (Okay, we kicked up the mushrooms too, doubling what the instructions called for – we love us some shrooms!)

2014 Albarrada Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal.

2014 Albarrada Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal.

Bottled by Adega de Redondo, the wine is made from a grape that’s new to this reviewer. The 2014 Albarrada red is made from the Castelão grape and known too as the Periquita. Upon first tasting, the Albarrada reminded me very much of a Bordeaux. It is dry and fresh red fruits in ample supply, combined with a longer tannic finish. As it breathed over the evening, the Albarrada softened and showed its true colors–which are crimson red, by the way.

Even now I’m thinking about the spice in the pepper flakes and this red blend. I thought they came together pretty well, but I am less than enthusiastic about tomato sauces so might have missed some of the highlights of this combination.

What I’ll remember long after the Albarrada and the Castelão fade from my mind is the spirited kitchen ambiance and the fun of readying this delicious meal.