Wine #11

No pictures of the wine this time, as I was out to dinner at the Rouge Tomate for my dear friend's 30th Birthday. I thought it might be a *tad* rude to break out the camera and start snapping pictures, but I quickly jotted some notes down under the table...

source: Rouge Tomate Facebook Images

source: Rouge Tomate Facebook Images

The wine was darker in color, a deep red/purple. Actually, this is exactly what I have written down:

  • Red and purple
  • Med tannin
  • Acidic
  • Long finish
  • Satly
  • Briny
  • A little spicy
  • Bright cherry
  • berries
  • Acidic *[HA, looks like it was so acidic, I had to write it twice]

Not the most comprehensive or well documented tasting notes, but pretty good considering. 

One note that I didn't get to write down was just how different it tasted. I knew it wasn't something I've had that much before... I was thinking definitely old world, something by the sea. I can't really tell you why, but it just had that maritime feeling. I'm sure there is a very logical explanation, but at the time, I was just going with my gut. Based on that, I narrowed it down to Portugal, or maybe even some cool Greek wine that I don't even know about. I was debating between the two, and ultimately, due to a hint that I've had this type of grape before, I went to Portugal... and therefore, guessed it was a wine made from the Touriga Nacional grape, Portugal's most "noble" of grapes.

What's your guess?

Oh, and in case you were wondering how in the heck I got a glass of wine without knowing what it was: the husband gave me a [few] sip[s] of whatever he ordered. 

One of these days, I'm gong to just ask a bartender or a waiter for a blind pour, but I'm also afraid I'm going to get the $30 wine by the glass... (yes, in NYC, that is totally possible...)

correct answer:

Varietal(s): Touriga Nacional (mostly), but also Touriga Franca & Tinta Roriz

Place & Year: PORTUGAL 2008

PRODUCER: Quinta do Infantado

Quinta do Infantado, Douro - 2008 (Notes from Astor Wines & Spirits)

Traditional production and all estate grown, this is scrumptious blend of mixed berries, purple damson plums and holiday spices. The texture leans to the more food-friendly austere side, as acidity rubs up against darkened tannins.

Sounds yummy, right?

 So, I was sorta-kinda right...

Now, if you haven't heard of Touriga Nacional yet, don't worry. Not many people have,

BUT... TOURIGA NACIONAL is the "star" grape of Portugal.

Just so you know, it is pretty awesome. 

Portugal is making so many awesome wines; So much more than just sweet dessert wines (Port) and Vinho Verde (young, fresh white wines).


Here is a VERY BRIEF overview of the cool grapes in this blend:

TOURIGA NACIONAL: Tannic, bolder wines. Small berries mean more skin to juice ratio: Since one source of tannins is the grape skin, small berries mean 1) will be a more concentrated flavor AND 2) more of those lovely mouth drying tannins (you know... if you're into that sort of thing). Wine made from this grape as some darker fruit notes (blackberries, etc), floral (violet), and even some blackpepper notes. I really like THIS write up by Catavino.

TOURIGA FRANCA: The sidekick, kinda like Robin in the Batman/Robin duo. It has a little more "finesse" and is more elegant than its more dominant, showy partner, Touriga Nacional. TF is more aromatic and a little lighter in body...

TINTA RORIZ: This is just the Portugese name/clone for TEMPRANILLO, which is the "star" grape of Spain. I'll be sure to discuss this grape more in future posts, but for NOW, if you see TINTA RORIZ, just remember our old, red fruit dominated, lowly acidic, lowly tannic (unless oaked), earthy, leathery friend - TEMPRANILLO.

Homework this week?

Go get yourself a bottle of dry (non-sugary) but still fruity, Portuguese red wine.