Friday, November 25, 2011

Water or Wine?

One of Boo's biggest hopes for the trip would be that the November weather might be just warm enough for him to not completely freeze if he took a dip in the Atlantic Ocean. Anything less than tropical would be too cold for me to leave the comfort of the beach, but he figured the 68ºF./20ºC. we were enjoying would suit his purpose to make like a porpoise. He actually lasted a lot longer in the cold ocean waters than we imagined, but Desirée and I were completely content to take pictures in the warmth of our jackets and sweatshirts.

We did, however, have a glass of a deep, dark red to try and help warm him upon his return to shore.

997. 2007 Quinta de Ventozelo - Touriga Nacional (Douro DOC - Portugal)

I'm quite intrigued by the strides being made by Portugese winemakers in the last decade. Like many, I really only looked to Portugal for my beloved Port (and maybe the odd Vinho Verde), but more and more red table wines have been showing up on bottle shop shelves and, like the surge in new Spanish wines, they're being brought in because the wine industry in the old country is modernizing and trying to capture a share of the world market.

Portugese table wines generally didn't make it to North America because they were simple, cheap wines made for the home market, but a desire on the producers' part to sell globally and a distinct improvement in the wine being made has seen a big change. In general, Portugese table wines are still on the affordable side of the pricing scale and that fact, together with an increasing interest in the wine drinking public to try wines made from grapes they've never heard of, has helped lead to this ever increasing availability of wines.

I don't think I've seen Quinta de Ventozelo in the Vancouver market but it is a relatively new brand. Historical papers show that the quinta itself goes back to the early 1800's; however, up until a change in ownership in 1999, the quinta's grapes and wines were all sold in bulk to other producers - some of which played roles in award winning Ports. The new owners decided to draw on the quinta's tradition and success and start to market and sell Port and still wines under its own brand name.

I've had a few postings about wines that included Touriga Nacional but not many that feature a strictly varietal wine. The grape is one of the most prominent varietals used in making Port and is one of the best known grapes in Portugal as far as varietal wines go. Quinta de Ventozelo is located in the Douro region - perhaps the most famous wine region in Portugal as it is known as the home of Port production. The combination of Douro, table wine and Touriga Nacional is one that is bound to pique my interest currently. I doubt Joe Wine Buyer will ever recognize a Touriga Nacional before a Merlot, Cab Sauv or Shiraz, but I think we'll see a lot more attention given to wines like this in the years to come.

It doesn't hurt that the wine hits the mark with nice body, fruit and structure.

But, with Boo's swim all finished and our glasses now empty, it was time to head back to the beach house.

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