The winemaker said to decant this bad boy before drinking, and I did not heed those warnings–I should have. I was all excited to uncork this Portuguese import, to vary from my California favorites, and to enjoy some great grapes. If you saw this previous post, you know this oenophile was looking forward to documenting more tasting experiences and the 2013 Carvalhas was first up in the queue.
2013 Quinta das Carvalhas Reserva Duoro, Vila Nova de Gala, Portugal.
It’s a red blend, and that usually strikes a favorable chord for me. In the 2013 Quinta das Carvalhas Reserva Duoro, the winemaker combines Touriga Nacional (60%), Touriga Franca (20%), and Tinta Roriz (20%) grapes together. I found it to be overly heavy in tannins (and bear in mind I do like firm tannins usually) and had a strong blackberry taste. That too should have made this a win, but this medium-bodied bottle was underwhelming.
The wine is aged 12 months in oak, and Wine Enthusiast says, “It has spice, acidity, and sense of brooding power.” You know how you see a dilapidated house advertised as a “handy man’s dream?” That’s how I read the Enthusiast comments. Trust me, the 2013 Carvalhas has tannins in spades. Maybe I blew this one by failing to decant it prior to tasting? Note to self to fix this future tastings through 2017.
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!)
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.
This port blend, apparently from the Lisboa region of Portugal, we enjoyed on Friday night (11/11/11) with steak, roasted potatoes, and an amazing asparagus with burnt butter and lemon sauce. The wine big shots offer the following:
Perneta 2010 - Vinho Regional Alentejano, Tinto, Red
“Lively aromas of pepper and berries. Plenty of spice behind the plum and red berry flavors that lingers into a long, soft finish. Medium bodied with rich texture and fresh acidity.”
I read that the Lisboa region–just north west of Lisbon in Portgual–is apparently mild and conducive to wine production. Though once known for producing low-quality wines, it has been restored with new grape varieties that today are regarded for their relative quality and price. We purchased from Bottle King in Ramsey, N.J.