Friday, March 28, 2008

2005 Quinta de Cabriz Dão Colheita Seleccionada

In the good old days when our US currency still had decent purchasing power, French, German and even Italian wines were relatively affordable. However, with the dollar sinking to an abyss, good and inexpensive European wines are just hard to come by. Today, a decent bottle from these regions will cost you at least $15.

When I want a wine for casual drinking, I can't help but to go back at Portugal. Aside from producing a very wide variety of wines with distinctive personalities, Portugal also produces some of the world's finest, unique and highest value-added wines. As in the case of this 2005 Quinta de Cabriz Dão Colheita Seleccionada that only cost $8 with fairly decent availability nationwide.

Quinta de Cabriz belongs to a dynamic wine company, Dão Sul, that makes a wide range of products. Although not directly mentioned the Colheita Seleccionada, Simon Goode,wrote an excellent article describing Quinat de Cabriz's portfolio back in 2004.

Cabriz Colheita Seleccionada is a blend of Alfrocheiro, Tinta-Roriz, and Touriga-Nacional which spent 6 months in 2 year old French oak barrels. It is lightly filtered prior to bottling and carries ABV of 13%. The US importer is Aidil Wines & Liquors.

Tasting Notes:

Color: Clear Ruby.

Nose: Fresh cut pine wood, cherry and cinnamon. Quite aromatic.

Palate: High-toned cherry liqueur. Lively acidicty (although a bit high) and juicy fruit keeps it from being boring. Quite balanced. Notes of violet and some dark fruit flavors emerge as wine opens up. Tannins very light.

Body: Medium.

Finish: Short to medium. Mostly cherry and spice, notes of pine needle.

This is a fun and lovely everyday wine that can support a wide range of cuisine. Better with food than by itself. It does has the structure to support 1-2 years of bottle aging. Extremely high QPR value.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

WBW #43: Comfort Wines

Joel at Wine Life Today provided the assignment for Wine Blogging Wednesday #43:
Choose a wine, any wine, that you love to unwind to and tell us about not only the wine but what makes the experience special and relaxing for you!”

In my mind, comfort food is typically inexpensive, uncomplicated, and easy to prepare. By the same token, a comfort wine should complement comfort food in the following ways: easy to find, comfortable to drink and light on your wallet.

In the current economic climate, inflation of wine price is down right scary!Comfort wines that are 'best bang for the buck' are not easy to come by (Well, two buck chuck does not count!). What makes the wine I am going to recommend so special is its high QPR value. Aside from being tasty, just by knowing the fact that every time when I open a bottle to share at any occassion is not going to break my bank is enough to make the drinking experience 'relaxing and special'.

The Wine: 2003 Royal Oporto Douro Porca de Murça Red
ABV: 13%, Price: $5, Importer: Admiral Wine Imports

Porca de Murça is produced by Real Companhia Velha in Portugal. The company has a very nice website in English highlighting their history, culture and products. The grapes of Porca de Murça are sourced from vineyards in the Douro region owned by Real Vinicola. The varieties in this wine is composed of Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz and Barroca. Real Companhia Velha also makes a white wine under the Porca de Murça label that sells for about the same price.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Slightly murky, medium garnet.

Nose: Fairly straight forward. Mostly candied cherry.

Palate: Albeit one dimensional, it is quite balanced. Acidity does poke out at times. Fairly concentrated flavor of ripe cherries supported by hints of oak. Light Tannins.

Body: Medium at best.

Finish: Short to medium. red fruit and slightly pepperish. As wine opens, there is also a note of black tea detected.

Although Porca de Murça does fine as sipping wine, it performs much better with food. This wine just sings when paired with a dishes such as maple-garlic pork tenderloin.

Note: I have tasted the '03, '04 and the '05 vintages of this wine and the quality is consistent across all the vintages. The best part is that you can still find the 2005 vintage retails for $5, especially in New York City, at Astor and PJ Wine. How special and comforting is that?