Friday, August 01, 2008

Marcus Goes Portuguese

Bachelor-guy Marcus seems to like my kids. I don't know why, but he was comfortable enough with my young family to invite the whole lot of us over to his place for an evening of fireworks, fine food, and Portuguese wine. Unfortunately a rainstorm negatively impacted the viewing of the fireworks from his patio, but the food and wine were excellent.

Marcus whet our appetites with the 2005 Alves de Sousa Branco da Gaivosa, a Portuguese white blend of Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Viosinho and other old grape varieties from Portugal's famed Duoro region. Pear, with some white flower notes, rather simple on the nose. Round and luscious on the palate with modest acid and a hint of oak, some nice bitterness. Simple, but refreshing, worked well with a nice cheese platter.
cork. 13% alcohol
Score: 16/20
Price: C$18.90 (SAQ)

For dinner Marcus paired a few Portuguese reds with a grilled pork tenderloin.

On our left was the 2003 Herdade do Peso Colheita (Alentejo), a wine fashioned from the local Aragones and Alfrocheiro varietals. Leathery grape skins on the nose, minty blackberry jam, some greenness and spicy black pepper notes as well. Smooth and refined on the palate with light, fresh cherries, velvety tannins and good persistency, this was a great little bottle (and my wife's favourite).
cork. 14% alcohol
Score: 17/20
Price: C$21.05

The best wine of the evening, in my opinion, was the 2003 Quinta dos Roques Reserva from Portugal's Dao region, a blend of Touriga Nacional, some Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cao, and other local varieties. Crisp cherries, leather, woodsy tannins, and spicy cloves on the nose, it really impressed on the palate, with fresher and crisper with velvety tannins, beautifully balanced. Not a long finish, this is a wine to drink now. Best pairing with the pork tenderloin.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: C$32 (SAQ)

The third wine of the evening was a wine from the Ribatejano appellation, a first for me. The 2004 Tercius (a blend of Castel√£o, Alicante Bouchet, Trincadeira and Aragones), sported a jammy nose of spicy black cherry fruit, some vanilla, smoke and mustiness as well. Thin cherry fruit on the palate, it was flavourful and balanced but intellectually flat. Drink now.
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 16/20
Price: C$18.25 (SAQ)

I rarely, if ever, buy Portuguese wine, so many hanks to Marcus for hosting this and bringing me outside of my shell. A little less rain and the fireworks would have been perfect as well!


Marcus said...

It's a pleasure to host when the tasting notes are written up for me like this. Come back to the bachelor pad! (Though the weekly fireworks are over, it's still raining...)

Surprised you gave the Tercius a 16 -- thought you'd be harsher when the Branco was a 16. I'm not familiar with this vintage of Tercius, and I ended up returning the other bottle of the 2004 I had, recognizing how little it offered compared to the others (yet Phaneuf gives claims it's a four-star bargain like in previous years).

I maintain that there's something alluring about the cheaper (read: not cellar-able like the Herdado or not as poised as the Roques or the even-cheaper-than-Tercius) Portuguese wines that make so great with weekday dinners -- some are limited under close inspection but they are simple pleasures at the dinner table.

Joe said...

Hi Marcus, we'll be back. Both the Branco and Tercius were fine, just lacking complexity. I guess I am closer to M. Phaneuf on that Tercius. Beyond the Marques de Marialava I don't have much experience with the cheap stuff, but you have definitely piqued my interest.