Tasting Through Portugal and Spain: Part Un

The Line Up From Portugal


In the final month of their stay at Halter Ranch we enlisted both Raquel and Orestes in helping us acquire a smattering of wines from their respective homelands.  Within a budget they each provided a list of delightful and/or interesting wines and we sought them out.  The following is an account of the tastings that resulted from these endeavors and some brief thoughts from the staff on the wines.


Raquel pours Vinho Verde


For the tasting from Portugal we began with a Vinho Verde which means ‘Green Wine’.  The title refers both to the region of origin and the fact that the wine is designed to be consumed when it is young. Vinho Verde is typically bright with bracing acidity and often has some slight carbonation.  The Aveleda fit these descriptors well and seemed to desire some light fare or a hot day in which to shine.  We followed our brief sensory tour of Vinho Verde with an Alvarinho (the Dorado pictured above) that showed distinct signs of oxidation, it received mixed reviews from the tasting panel.  Skylar commented that it exhibited some characteristics similar to intentionally oxidized wines produced in the Jura region of France.  When asked if the oxidation was intentional in this case Raquel responded:  “Maybe…but most likely not.” 


The team prepares to taste


We followed the two white wines with a Touriga Nacional and the Mouchau (a red blend), both of which were absolutely delicious.  The Touriga had a distinct spicy profile with a few flowery hints.  On the palate it felt full but not heavy with a healthy dose of fresh oak.  The Mouchau exhibited some characteristics that made us wonder if a portion of the fruit had been allowed to dry in the sun.   According to Raquel, Mouchau is one of her favorite producers in Portugal.  Tastefully applied oak and more lush plummy fruit became apparent as the wine opened.


Kevin, Molly, and Darren analyze.


We finished with three distinct styles of Port.  A dry white Port, a tawny–both from Niepoort, and a 1985 Fonseca generously provided by one Darren Ramos.  The white port was interesting in that there was very little residual sugar, if any.  The tawny was lushest of the three, showing brighter fruit with more weight than the other two.  Fonseca brought up the rear with the most complexity, more dried fruit, and spicy character than the other two with an almost briney quality–it was absolutely delicious.  It was an absolute privilege to taste through this special grouping of wines with Raquel there to provide us with insight as to their style and origin.

Thank you for reading!  Check back next week for Orestes’s half of our tasting adventure.  Cheers

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