September 1, 2017

The IBERIAN CONNECTION! Spain vs. Portugal

1. 1985 Porta Dos Cavaleiros Dao (Portugal) - blend of 40% Jaen, 20% Alfrocheiro, 20% Preito de Mortagua, 10% Tinta Roriz, and 10% Baga grapes
Caves São João has a cache of older wines they are just now releasing into the market. These need to be treated with care and given plenty of air, as this 1985, for example, is a delicate wine. It starts with scents of dried fruits, dried flowers and old-fashioned stalky baga tannins. Then the aroma develops into a complex mélange of cedar, tobacco, mushrooms and spice as the tannins mellow into a note of paraffin wax. A little Portuguese originality to serve with roast lamb.
Rated 90 Wine & Spirits Magazine

2. 2001 Faustino I Gran Reserva (Spain) - blend of 85% Tempranillo, 10% Graciano, 5% Mazuelo grape
Deliciously decadent, with extraordinary vitality on the palate and a long, unique finish. A jewel at this price. I have this wine full marks - it was perfect. I cannot think of any other wine, in this price range, that provides so much complexity, elegance, style, classicism and length. Rated 97 Decanter Magazine

3. 2009 Sogrape Callabriga Duoro (Portugal) - 80% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Roriz
Very structured and firm, this has dense tannins overlaying the black currant fruit. Its dry, solid texture ­dominates, yielding an impressive wine that has fine juicy fruit now and will age well over four years.Rated 91 Wine Enthusiast Magazine

4. 2012 Marques de Murrieta Reserva Rioja Finca Ygay (Spain) - 77% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha, 8% Graciano and 5% Mazuelo
Terrific aromas of currants, berries, cinnamon and perfume. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a dense palate. Superb length and refinement. Compact. Super length. Superb quality considering the price. More delicate and refined than the 2010. Precise. Rated 95 points James Suckling

5. 2007 Quinta do Mouro Gold Label Estremoz (Portugal)
The 2007 Tinto "Gold Label" is sappy, youthful, primary and simply stunning. Not on the market as of this writing (Mouro tends to late release), this has gloriously delicious fruit, yet it, like all of Mouro's wines, is beautifully constructed and built to hold. This is young, fresh and sensational, with more steel underneath than seems apparent at first in the initial rush of sexy fruit. It may well close down at some point. As fine as the flagship Tinto is in Mouro's terrific 2007 vintage - this is better, I think, and covers all the bases any wine geek could want - hedonism, intellectual interest, balance, ageworthiness....It is shocking to realize that this is a 2007 as it tastes so fresh, so unevolved and so primary. As fine as it is at the moment, it is just dripping with the potential to improve. Be patient if you can, as this will develop some character and complexity along the way. Drink 2014-2030. Rated 96 The Wine Advocate

6. 2013 Bodegas Vizcarra Senda del Oro (Spain) - blend of 50% Granacha, 40% Mazuelo, 10% Syrah grapes
"Bright purple. Spice-accented black and blue fruit aromas show good clarity and a slight medicinal quality. Dry and focused on the palate, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors and a touch of mintiness. Dusty tannins give shape and grip to the incisive finish, with the cherry note strongly repeating. Rated 90 Vinous

7. 2002 Monte dos Cabacos Vinho Regional Alentejano (Portugal) - blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional, and Aragones
Cabaços believes in releasing its wines when they are ready to drink. That's why it's possible to drink this Reserva for the first time. It's a magnificent, powerful wine, packed with dark fruits that are now mature. The opulent Alicante Bouschet is the backbone of the wine along with the more structured Touriga Nacional. Drink now. Rated 94 Wine Enthusiast Magazine & Editors' Choice

8. 2015 Bigardo Zamora (Spain) - Tinta de Toro grape
Kiko Calvo made wine all over the world before returning to Toro to farm his family's own-rooted Tinta de Toro vines and use his diverse winemaking experience to draw out their potential, with no adherence to local styles or conventions. Bigardo's website notes that Tinta de Toro grapes ("not Tempranillo!") for this wine are harvested over the course of 45 days, with many individual fermentations highlighting the character of specific vineyard parcels, which range from 20 to 100 years old. This incredible effort to enhance and layer the personalities of the grapes is evident in the finished wine as well, which feels supple and sculpted, a braid of rich textures and flavors. Aromas of currants, cherries, and sweet smoke swirl onto the palate, which at first is red-fruited, pretty, and pleasantly acidic with sweet tannins, opening with oxygen to reveal layers of creamy purple and black fruit - mulberry, black currant, and earthy plums - rosebud, licorice, candied violets, cocoa, and and cooling hint of pine. Shape-shifting and marvelous! Chamber Street Wines

Dessert wine: Quinta do Noval Black (Portugal)
"Black" replaces LB, Noval's former entry in this range, and uses top-quality fruit to create a soft, accommodating texture. The aromas are purple-black while the flavors are pure black cherry. Acidity spices it up and adds to the juiciness of the finish. It's plump in the middle and supple all the way through, ending on fruit-skin tannin and a touch of chocolate from oak. At the level of many of the region's best LBVs, this wine may become a staple for a new generation of Port drinkers. Rated 91 Wine & Spirits Magazine