Set The Bar
Lifestyle in Style

Double Portugal

So what is the Douro known for aside from its beautiful terrain? Its red table wine and of course its Port wine. Let’s celebrate the end of spring (not that we ever had one) and the beginning of summer with a touch of the Douro and the up and coming Alentejo which makes great blended red wines!

The Alentejo is south of Porto and I have actually been there in the days I knew very little about Portuguese wine! I visited the Roman ruins in Evora while heading down to the Algarve. I really must go back and investigate. But I can say its wines are nipping at the heels of the Douro and it needs more publicity and exposure here in Canada for that to happen and of course for Canadian tourists to visit and bring back their memories of sites and wine!

We start with a red table wine in a rather serious looking bottle with a serious title. It is a Herdade de São Miguel Escolha dos Enólogos 2016. It even has its own bottle number! And the Alentejo in my mind is when dealing with its red wine so often blended with Alicante Bouschet giving it a mellow and warm character. And its name has school for oenologists in it so it must be pretty darn good to deserve that name?

Black cherry and red plum in colour. On the nose very ripe black cherry, Obidos cherry liqueur, pine and milk chocolate. At 14% not surprising there is a liqueur element.

On the palate very smooth with some chalky tannins. It kind of grabs and rushes at your palate trying to make a big impression. Is this what you might call a gentle aggressive wine? Notes of sour cherry, dates, red plum and loganberry. Mid length finish with a bit of a burn. Built for food so I vote for goat, stewed beef or marinated wild boar or even a Tomahawk steak!

The often used throughout Portugal Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca with that ole Alentejo favourite Alicante Bouschet.

I think it will mellow out just a bit more by 2022.

(Herdade de São Miguel Escolha dos Enólogos 2016 IG Alentejano, Casa Relvas, Redondo, Portugal, 14%, $21.95, 750 mL, LCBO # 445122, Set The Bar Rating 91/100).

It’s awfully difficult to taste a clunker from the Douro. With so many people visiting Porto and the Douro wine region it can only gain in popularity. In most cases the wine is reasonably priced.

This Parcelas 2016 has almost a purplish colour to it. It has the usual Douro characteristics on the nose of black cherry, blackberry, pomegranate and yes rhubarb!

On the palate not a heck of a lot of tannins. Full bodied and smooth like a tonic salesman from Kansas. Loads of blackberry and black cherry on the palate. Simplistic elegance. As far as wines go from the Douro its “Old Reliable” and consistently top notch. And the usual suspects in a Douro blend being Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Sousáo. Aged 9 months in French oak. Drink within the next 2 years. It would pair well with duck breast or a Douro Duck casserole and restrained enough to match Portugal’s famous cod dish Bacalhau of which there are over 1,000 recipes for. Red wine with cod? You must be kidding. No I am not. This is just the right easy going red to do the trick. Photo by Food Network. (Parcelas 2016 DOP Douro, Quinta de Porrais, Murça, Portugal, $16.95, 14%, 750 mL, Vintages # 397422, Set The Bar Rating 89/100).

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