Friday Sips

Join Us for Friday Sips!


18 January 2013

Drop by for a taste of 4 blitzing good wines from emerging regions of Portugal & Spain. Like a beer at 8:30 AM, these big reds are unmitigated eye-openers, don't miss this one!!

$11.99 BTL./$143.88 CASE

To the northwest of Ribera del Duero lies the growing region of Cigales, yet another Spanish Tempranillo-producing region. This little known appellation harbors tremendous values from earnest and inspired producers and in days past, more famed names in Ribera Del Duero and Rioja would utilize and sneak in its higher-elevation Tempranillo for firmness and structure. Bodegas Hiriart is indeed one of the ambitious growers who makes a line-up of stupendous wines. Fruit-forward with redcurrants and raspberries plus a touch of clove spiciness gives way to a texture that provides lots of palate coverage with deceptively concentrated flavors complimented by a subtly supple, well-rounded finish. Have with grilled pork chops or a nice aged manchego cheese.

$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

We can never say enough about the magnificent value-oriented wines of this cool, diverse Portuguese producer. For years we have been touting these as great everyday house wines but for this offering, we wanted to uptick the quality by offering one of their single varietal selections. Grown just outside of Lisbon in its namesake region, this is a well-honed, mouth-seducing scrumptious red made from Touriga Nacional, Portugal's most prized grape found in most of its growing regions. Famous for being the base of Port, this grape also puts forth dry reds that can range from the engaging everyday drinker to high-class collectibles. Buxom aromas of pronounced chocolate-covered strawberry with underlying balsamico, finely placed oak and sneaky minerality. Bountiful and very stylish flavors captivate the palate with an almost-Italian plum-like quality before advancing through to the arousing finish that brings it all home. Enjoy with lamb, grilled sausage or a hearty stew.

$27.99 BTL./$335.88 CASE

Portuguese Wine 101: The best Portuguese wines are made from native grapes that can be tongue-twisters when trying to pronounce them, but these days, they are well worth the search and to drink. Some of the red grape varietals you come across: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Cão, Baga, Tinta Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira, and Encruzado. The best wines in Portugal come from the 19 top wine regions that have earned DOC (Denomination of Controlled Origin) status. Among the most famous are Porto, Douro, Dão, Madeira, Vino Verde, and Bairrada.

Quinta Dos Roques along with its other properties Quinta das Maias and Quinta do Correio are deftly run by the ever-passionate and energetic Luis Lourenco and are among the leaders and innovators of the new Portugal. The 2007 Reserva was without question one of the finest Portuguese reds that I tasted in 2012 when Luis made a visit to Portland. 55% Touriga Nacional, 20% Alfrocheiro, 15% Jaen, 5% Touriga Nacional & 5% Tinta Cão, this well-integrated red is a real mouthful of delicious excitement!! Loads of individuality and class behind a robe of dense blackberry fruit. Mountain spices, wild flowers, mint and mocha ride along and provide complexity. Rich, full-bodied yet very agile and compelling, this "alive" wine shows impressive texture and breadth of flavor all while maintaining poise. Lots of movement and licorice shine on the finish and sum up the entire experience by letting the taster know that all of the components really work well and do their part from start to finish. A fabulous effort and one that can be drunk now over the next decade.

$34.99 BTL./$419.88 CASE

Wines from regions south of Barcelona (Penedès, Monsant, Tarragona and Priorat) are some of the true treasures of Spain. Don't necessarily call them Spanish though, this area is full-on and proud to be Catalonia (Madrid Se C?ma which is Catalan for Madrid is burning!). Prime sites combined with an infusion of moxie from a dynamic generation of producers has allowed the vineyards to become the superstars resulting in an abundance of excitement in both whites and full-flavored reds.

A real treat, this find is from an old friend's hallowed vineyard site and now 7 years old and showing extremely well at the moment. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Mas Vilella is a special vineyard whose soils are meager and rocky and abound with fossilized crustaceans. Cedary and certainly well-poised, there are plenty of Meridonial aspects here, but the bottom line is that this wine is certainly well-poised with an abundance of concentration and yet with an enlightened height of smoothness. A mysterious brunette, this red has many twists and turns as well as layered cassis/currant qualities, touches of peppermint, lavender, Moroccan spice and cinnamon tones that are layered and well-integrated. The superb finish fans out with an array of herb, spice and turned earth qualities that combine Catalonian and Mediterranean aspects with influences of Bordeaux. Starting to drink exquisitely now and can be cellared and consumed for another 6-8 years as well.