Soil: Soils vary greatly within the region composing of schist, pink marble, granite, and limestone, often laid upon a sub-layer of water-retaining clay. Conditions are more challenging in the sub-region of Granja-Amareleja, Moura and Vidigueira, with poor, limestone-based soils and significantly hotter climate.
Type: Nearly Bone-Dry
Grape: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Syrah, and Alicante Bouschet
Color: Bright, opaque ruby red with a pink water rim at the brim. Leaves a color trail on the glass wall
Nose: Overripe plums, maraschino cherries, eucalyptus, oak/cedar tree oil, dark aromatic flowers, petrichor, tobacco, and mild spices towards the end
Palate: The nearly bone-dry palate is rife with dark fruits (over ripe plums, maraschino cherries) followed by spices (sage, cinnamon, and nutmeg), hints of violets and elderflower, dark chocolate, and tobacco. This wine has strong tannins that are not outlandishly robust but could use a little more softening, making this a good wine for the cellar in good conditions for at least 5-7 years. End palate has some minerals on it owing to the soil structure and hot Mediterranean climate. There is a youthful elegance to the wine in spite of the robust tannins. Finish is medium-long, with end palate dominated by minerals and some sediment.This wine is best served after at least an hour of decanting to bring out its best.
Serving Temperature: 12-14ºC
Food Pairing: Pairs well with meats, cheese, and olives. Good for unpaired consumption in cooler weather.
Notes: The vineyards planted in 1901 have been with the family since, except during a brief period from 1974-1985. Alicante Bouschet, a red grape nearly native to the region, is quite a revelation in grape varietals for the narrator. The Mouchäo Pontes Das Canas is recommended for connoisseurs who like to experiment with grape varietals and vinification styles.
Casa Brancaia, Ilatraia 2011
Region: Chianti D.O.C.G, Tuscany (Italy)
Soil: Soil is sandy, loamy with a roughly equal percentage of sand and silt and a smaller percentage of clay. The rocky skeleton of the soil allows fast drainage reducing the soil fertility to moderate.
Grape: 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Petit Verdot and 20% Cabernet Franc
Color: Bright, nearly opaque purple with a water rim at the brim
Palate: This off-dry wine offers a fruity palate of dark fruits (over ripe plums and cassis) followed by floral notes (jasmine and lavender), hints of spices (rosemary and sage), and cinnamon-sweetness on the end palate. Smooth and well-mannered tannins appear like a good Italian suit. The wine carries a residual sweetness from the fermentation tanks making this a good, easy drinking wine apt for the cellar in good conditions for at least 2-3 years. End palate has cinnamon like sweetness over a medium finish.This wine can use some decantation before serving, although it is not necessary.
Serving Temperature: 12-14ºC
Food Pairing: Pairs well with pastas, meats, curries, and olives. Good for unpaired consumption in cool weather.
Notes: “It is a Chianti” – should be enough of a statement. The wine is aged for 18 months in French barriques – half of them are new and half are used – followed by a few months in the bottle prior to release.