Wine Experience of the Week – The Grape Indoors

The weather has definitely turned. The last few days have been a good time to keep myself inside with the rain and wind. The good thing about that is I get to catch up on what is happening on the world of Facebook, Twitter and doing some much needed e-mail cleaning. Apart from the virtual world, I have been taking the time to try a few red wines now the weather is cooling and I bigger richer meals are in order. In doing so I have been thinking of wines made of native Portuguese grapes… Not all of them! That would be far too time consuming seen as there are hundreds of them. So I have been thinking about many of the more common red grapes used for making wine here in Portugal.

Some of the more common red grapes are; Alicante Bouschet, Aragones/Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Castelão, Trincadeira/Tinta Amarela, and Touriga Nacional. There are many more, however the majority red of table wines made in Portugal are made of these grapes. Mostly they are blended to make a variety of textured wines, however sometimes you can find single varietal wines which are an interesting change to the blends you usually find. Aragones, also known as Tempranillo across the border in Spain, will be familiar to the wider wine drinking world. Single varietal Alicante Bouschet is also made, but is a big wine! Not for a light meal. Castelão makes a far lighter wine, if you are so inclined. Touriga Nacional makes a well balanced and interesting wine. It is probably the best known single varietal wine coming out of Portugal at the moment.

The last grape in the list is Trincadeira. It is not often thought of as single varietal wine, however it does make a good one. So give you an idea of what sort of wine this grape makes, this week’s Wine Experience of the Week is the Quinta de Alcube 2008 Trincadeira. I have chosen this wine because of geographical reasons. By that I mean it is the closest winery to me… The wine has a deep ruby color and has aromas of black berries and spice. Tasting the wine you first notice mouth filling juiciness. Then you get flavors of red berries and cherry, then some good peppery spice at the end. This makes it great to have with grilled lamb or even pasta with a rich red sauce. The juicy mouth and long finish make it quite an interesting wine. Then we come to the price… €5 from the winery! There is a catch however; you can only buy Quinta de Alcube wines from the winery itself.

There are other examples from larger wineries in Portugal such as Esporão, Cooperativa de Pegoes, Cortes de Cima and João Portugal Ramos, which you could look out for. These are also very good wines and I am sure you will find them interesting. Otherwise you could come on a tour with us to visit Quinta de Alcube.

By Chris Metcalfe

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