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Locations Wines P4: Portugal!

28 Feb

P4 Locations Wines by David Phinney, Portuguese Red Wine Blend. 15%ABV, MSRP$18/bottle.


Color is deep ruby with warm purple edges. The nose is a touch hot, hiding rich dark fruit beneath the alcohol that requires a moment to dissipate. On the palate, black plum, black and blue berries, green vegetation, and a hint of bitter herb on the back palate. Strong tannins and acidity deliver a solid finish with notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, gravel, and chalk.

The flavors are dark and deeply concentrated, evoking images of ancient, gnarled rootstock, and powerful sun beating down on small fruit hanging from low vines carefully strung across a steep hillside.

A beautiful palate cleanser, my initial thought was that this wine begs for petiscos, fresh fish and the warm climate of home, being a blend of touriga franca, touring nacional, and trincadeira grapes. But it is still winter in NYC, so I opened this bottle and enjoyed a glass with grilled chicken and broccoli, and was more that satisfied. Two days later with my in-laws, it paired beautifully with winter meat loaf, potatoes and salad. And once again, my brother-in-law and I just enjoyed this wine so evenly! Not to be outdone, on day four it matched a vegetarian dinner of kale salad and baked onion pie. While compiling my notes, the final sips paired beautifully again with baked gorgonzola bites and then perfectly with a single piece of dark chocolate.





I keep wondering if I will open a bottle of Locations and not be impressed. Dave Phinney seems to be the Derek Jeter of wine: always on top of his game, rock solid in his delivery, and seemingly never out of surprises.

More Locations Wines to come. Stay tuned!


à votre santé!



Cepa Pura Touriga Nacional 2011 / Astor Wines’ Top Ten

16 Jan

Cepa Pura Touriga Nacional, Quinto do Montalto, 2011, $10/bottle at Astor Wines & Spirits

With a nose of cassis and cherry and a nice purple color, this Portuguese red has plum as the dominant fruit when tasted. Secondary notes of leather and cedar accompany the nice balance of the Touriga Franca grapes; and it has an even, medium dry finish I found delightful. I had two bottles of this wine and enjoyed it over two weeks with steak, salmon, chicken, even pizza -and found this a nice vin du table I’d serve with just about anything.  I was surprised that when I googled this wine, I only found it at Astor Wine- I’d expect others to jump on this bargain immediately!  I’m considering both getting a case, or a mixed case of this and the white from Cepa Pura (see my link below).


Here is a link to the winery Quinto do Montalto for your enjoyment! If you click an English link that does not work, try it in French or Spanish!

Cepa Pura red


In the meantime, I happily suggest Astor’s Top Ten Under $10. Both of the wines from Quinto Do Montalto were from this set which is a great introduction to great bargains from around the world. (Here’s the link to the Fernao Pires I reviewed, and another for the McManis Family Syrah!) I’ve been very happy with the selections I’ve purchased from Astor Wine & Spirits and think this inexpensive case of wine is a great way to get to know new wines- you can even see what’s in the group in advance. If you decide to try one, let me know what you think! I bought a case in November (it changes every month!) and it is accompanied by a descriptive sheet which I enjoyed reading for pairing suggestions. I really enjoy this wine store and have found several wonderful, rare wines that are available here.

I think Astor’s Top Ten Under $10 is the perfect complement to Sherry Lehman’s Unsung Heroes of Bordeaux, which is another one of my favorite ways to taste new, small, or unknown Chateaux. These wines change twice yearly, and both of these sets make excellent gifts to your oenophile friends!


à votre santé!


Symington Estate Altano Douro 2007

30 Jun

How often do you find a $10 red blend with clout? If you read my wine posts, you know that the best bargains found today in red wine are Portuguese wines from Douro, when the Argentinian Malbecs and Chilean vineyards full of French Cab Suv grapes have been gaining  popularity and as a result, their prices are climbing. The Douro area, famous for port, has become a mecca for phenomenal reds and vino verdes at $10 or under – and when I can find them for $10 in pricey Manhattan wineries, local stores with less overhead may sell them for as little as $7-8/bottle. BARGAIN TIME!

Today’s selection is the Symington Family Estate Altano 2007, made of Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo grape) and Touriga Franca grapes. (Please note: The Touriga Franca, aka Touriga Francesa grape is a port wine grape commonly found in Portugal.) This is a lovely blended wine whose nose demonstrates ripe red fruit, tasting of red plum and cherry. A hint of vanilla, oak and earth after the tangy, medium finish, this is a fun wine- its medium body will complement many dishes well. If you haven’t looked into wines from Douro yet- this may be the time, and the wine, to try. It’s a classic example of a great value wine with flexibility.

If you’re still unsure about the concept of Portuguese wines, you can rest easily knowing that these wines have been popular for a long time locally- and only recently have been become popular for export, much like the New Zealand, Chilean and Argentnian wines we find commonplace these days. But  check out their website about their viniculture, sustainable growth structure, and organic wines.

à votre santé!

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