The Wine of the Week
by Annette Tomei
2009 Quinta de Foz de Arouce (tinto), Beira Interior, Portugal
Though Quinta de Foz de Arouce is respected as a producer of quality wines, they remain obscure, producing wines in a region that is off the beaten path both physically and in terms of the industry’s radar. Winemaker João Portugal Ramos is often credited with bringing Portuguese wines international acclaim for his more than two decades as a consulting oenologist, as well as making his own wine.
This particular red blend is, like its producer, a contradiction of sorts – it’s rare to describe a wine as having all the good parts of Rhone Valley Syrah AND of a great old world Pinot Noir – a little gamey, a bit of black pepper, stony earth, and bright red fruit, bright acidity and fairly aggressive tannins, all in one. It is a blend of two regional grapes Baga and a bit of Touriga Naçional. The Baga grape is the component responsible for all the contradictions – thick skin and high acidity make it perfect for the longer growing season, but fussy as any Pinot Noir to grow.
If you’re eager to taste what makes Portuguese wines so special beyond Oporto, this is a fine example – ready to enjoy now with a thick steak, or hold onto it for a few years to soften those tannins – it’s full of delicious contradictions!
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