The Douro region of Portugal once hopped with the production of Port wine. From the freshest Ruby to the exquisite, ageable Vintage Port, producers readily sold their unique wine to the world. But times and tastes change, and the consumption of Port after a meal is a dwindling exercise.
More than 20 years ago, producers started seriously producing table reds from the four grape varieties used in Port. The result has been a renaissance for delicious, main course libation. Today's featured wine, made from three of the four grape types, illustrates that this pleasure that can be had at a most reasonable cost. Those of you who choose basic Chiantis or Argentinean Malbecs for everyday consumption would do well to consider Portugal's take on it all.
2009 Palestra, Douro Red Wine $10 srp
Round, robust but velvety soft-textured on the sinuses. Elements of plum, wildflower and crushed berries--plus a penetrating sense of sweetness--on the nose. Smells, not surprisingly, like a Ruby Port. Flavor is soft, cushy and mouth-filling. There's a distinct tarriness and cut on the aftertaste which prevents a languid or insipid texture. Alcohol seems a tad high, but this blended red, (Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca) will really please as an all-around winter red. Good value. (Drink now-2015)