Wine of the Week – The Wine That Changed My Life
While discussing many things with wine-minded people on Twitter, I came across a competition of sorts on The Wine Whore blog. It asks for people to convey the wine that changed their lives. “Intriguing” I said to myself. “I should be able to come up with something for that – it will be fun”. Well let me tell you, it is not as easy as you think.
With much mashing of brain cells, not to mention many glasses of wine drunk, I set about trying to come up with something that was truly a life changing wine for me. A place where I do a lot of thinking, the wine shop, came to my rescue. I was looking for something big, red, but inexpensive. With the budget imposed by Christmas shopping, I was looking for something to gratify my wine requirements until I can start opening some less cost-effective wines for Christmas celebratory purposes next week.
As I often do, I found myself in the very small Portuguese section. After asking myself for the 100th time, “why are there not more wines from Portugal here?” I saw a familiar label on the shelf and a pleasant feeling washed over me. I knew this, above any other, was the wine that changed my life.
Therefore this week’s Wine of the Week is the current 2008 vintage of Monte Velho, made by Herdade do Esporão. This wine is a blend of native Portuguese Trincadeira, Aragones and Castelão grapes. It has an elegant nose with a spicy rich fruity aroma. The taste provides a good hit of fruit, with some oak and then just enough tannin to fill the mouth. For under €10 this wine, as with many from Portugal, is very under valued. It can’t compete with the single vineyard varieties made by Herdade do Esporão, however it does represent fantastic value for the price tag.
This is not the greatest wine every made, so why is this the wine that changed my life? On my first visit to Portugal with two very good friends, we stopped to get petrol at a service station and inside we also were able to get some nice food to take back to our camp site along with this wine. It was remarkable enough for me that you could get good quality food and some wine at the same place you fill your car. What was even more shocking was that it was also inexpensive and great quality.
As we ate our assorted chorizo, olives, cheese and bread which went fantastically well with the wine and with the sun setting, It got me thinking ‘I could live here’. I guess everyone has thought this while on holiday somewhere. However on my 4th visit to Portugal earlier this year, I decided once and for all to leave my reasonably well paying job and move to Portugal. In just over a month, I will move there and offer tours to the wine producing area, that produced this and many other great quality wines, the Alentejo. I want others to experience the same beauty, great people, fantastic food and outstanding wine that had such an effect on me. If it was not for the experience of this wine, I would probably be planning how to get a promotion in the corporate environment that does not suit me what so ever.