Gota 'Prunus' Tinto 2017 - $14.99
Portugal has become a treasure trove for those on the hunt for the ultimate bang-for-your-buck; possibly representing value and a sense of place unparalleled in the wine world. Talented growers have avoided the temptation of planting international varieties and instead have championed the native grapes of the region. Along with the rise of small grower producers and small scale negociants like Gota, quality in the region has dramatically increased.
Before the 1990s, the Dão region was synonymous with abrasive and muscular reds made from cooperatives that paid for quantity over quality. Luckily, modern winemaking techniques were quickly embraced by the new generation of well-educated winemakers who have challenged the old heavy-handed cellar techniques to make way for light, playful, and utterly delicious examples. See how the plum, mulberry, and anise flavors will complement our recipe for Roasted Sausages with Grapes and Onions.
“Prunus” represents a who’s who of Dão varieties. Here, the belief is that blends work best: 80% Jaen (aka Mencía) holds the distinction of being the most planted in the region and gives levity for early drinking reds, 10% Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo) offers body, 5% Touriga Nacional supplies structure, and 5% Alfrocheiro Preto for good measure. Aged in used 225-liter French and Portuguese oak barrels and then an extended bottle age at the winery before release. Rather than relying on raw power to impress, it’s about the subtlety and balance of all of its components.
* Cheese Tip: For a perfect pairing, try Pyrenees Brebis with this wine.
TUNES FOR YOUR JUICE
by Liza Morgioni
The Dão wine region of Portugal, located near the Estrela Mountain range, is particularly interesting because it is the only one covered in a thick layer of snow during the winter. Those grapes in the rest of Portugal have it easy getting sunned-up all year round. What we’ve got here are some seriously resilient, strong, and therefore extra delicious grapes. (Is my Vermont bias showing…?) So what better wine embodies the spirit of Fado, a traditional portuguese music genre often characterized by a sense of longing or struggle.
In this Fado song, the singer likens her struggles with love to waiting for summer to arrive. Ultimately, in spite of whatever was against her, she makes it through and is able to return to her lover.
Ana Moura is a contemporary Fado performer, though she is still considered one of the greats. Watching her perform, her freshness is coupled by elegance and true Portuguese spirit. Her voice is smooth and captivating, yet it packs a punch. The Jaen and Tinta Roriz grapes, known in Spain as Mencía and Tempranillo respectively, ensure the same effect in this bottle of Tinto.