Friday, March 29, 2013

A Mid-Week Portugese Blend

1275. N.V. Bonifácio - Encosta dos Curiosos (Portugal)

A low-key night at home, a panini on the grill, it just seemed right to pop the cork on this bottle from the "Vineyard of the Curious" that I'd picked up at Marquis awhile back. An entry level wine, the back label states that this is a wine made of "Portugese traditional grape varieties." That phrasing of "Portugese" "traditional" and "varieties" is likely what prompted me to grab it in the first place. Known for the vast assortment of varieties that can go into its blends, I'm always hopeful that a Portugese blend might provide another addition to my Wine Century Club tally.

It took a bit of online searching - and I never did find a definitive breakdown - but I discovered the the three main varieties going into EC are Castelão, Tinta Miúda and Alicante Bouschet. I've already tallied the first and last grape but Tinta Miúda looked good for an add.

That is, until I checked Jancis Robinson's tome, Wine Grapes, and found out that Tinta Miúda is just one of many synonyms for the Graciano grape - and Graciano was a Wine Century Club add a long ways back. Darn.

With no new grape variety to focus on, I tried finding out a bit about the winery but there wasn't a whole lot of depth or interesting information readily available. I did see that Bonifácio was founded in 1963 (after years of family involvement in the wine business), is still family operated, and is based in the district just outside of Lisbon. The winery utilizes organic practices and releases wines under a number of brand names.

For the under $15 category (remember I'm in Vancouver), this was more interesting than a lot of its peers. EC is still a commercial wine but it doesn't rely simply on big, sweet fruit. It was more red fruit than black and it probably drank a little nicer with the food than on its own. I don't think it's readily available in the market, but I'd probably consider opening another bottle when in similar circumstances - i.e. mid-week simple wine with a light dinner in front of the TV.

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