Sunday, January 6, 2008

Douro: Great wine from "Port" grapes

I'm Back!

Sorry for the prolonged absence and silence. I was on vacation for two weeks. I also changed internet providers at home and was not able to access the internet from home.

Thanks, Dr. Debs, for mentioning this blog in your Good Wine Under $20 blog. I hope you weren't disappointed when I didn't post for so long. I promise to keep up with my posting now that I'm off break. You have been a great encouragement, both in learning about wine and in blogging.

I don't drink much Port, but I do like the wines made from the grapes that go into Port. I'm a big fan of Portuguese wines because of the price and the taste. I had a real treat over my vacation when I had the 2005 Valtorto Douro. It took a little while to fully appreciate this wine, but I learned a cool lesson.

Douro is the region of Portugal where Port is produced. The land and climate seem barely capable of supporting grape vines. Several other wine growing areas have steep hills, but they started out with ample soil. In many Portuguese vineyards, soil had to be carried in to augment the schist and granite. Terraces were built after workers chipped away at rocks and added organic matter. (See the "Vineyard of the day" for an example of a terraced Douro vineyard.)

This area is known for Port, but the grapes that are used to make Port can make a great table wine, too. One of these is made by the Port shipper Wiese & Krohn. They have blended Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo) and Touriga franca into a nice table wine that has some of the distinct flavor of Port without the strong sweetness or alcohol.

When I first tasted the wine it reminded me of a Tempranillo. But when I let the wine sit in my glass for about half an hour it transformed into something different! After it had a chance to breathe, I noticed a plum aroma that I hadn't earlier. When I tasted the wine, I was surprised and pleased by the port like flavor! The next day I drank the wine, I decanted it for about half an hour got the same result. I'll have to see if decanting helps produce the same flavors in other Douro wines I've tried in the past

Tasting Notes:

Color: Ruby red

Aroma: Plum and raisins

Taste: Tastes like Port, but not as sweet. Much less alcohol than a Port, too. The wine has a flavor that resembles the spiciness of Zinfandel and goes with foods like Pizza and spaghetti with spicy sauces.


Dr. Debs said...

Welcome back! It's good to get the alert that you had a new post, and it was worth the wait. I've had the same experience with Portuguese grapes. At first I think, ok, basic Spanish red, but if you let it sit--they are so aromatic and the aromas change so much. Really fun to drink and enjoy over the course of an evening.

Sonadora said...

Great post Orion! I'm not such a Port person myself either, though I'm trying to get into it. My dad gave us some earlier this year as a house warming gift.

Click to Watch WLTV

The latest wine library TV

Changing the wine world.