Wine Blogging Wednesday #38: Outubro em Portugal? I wish...

1812 h. --it is a web log, after all.

I just walked back from El Hórreo with three bottles of wine from the Alentejo, more specifically, Quinta do Carmo, a Domaine Baron Rotschild property since 1992.
Should've done this yesterday: it's past midnight & already Thursday for WBW #38 hosts Gabriella & Ryan on the northernmost ridges of El Garraf, west of Barcelona.

1912 h. Was hoping to go for a run or at the very least some light weight-training & stretching before continuing but the heat & humidity have me on the edge of nodding out.
There was a bottle of Vinho Verde winking at me from a display rack & I should have yielded to its seduction. Lentillas refogadas is not the best idea for dinner in this weather, either. Should have stuck with the original plan for some Salada 'Russa'...yadda yadda.

2058 h. Yah, OK, I gave up. Finally sitting down to my plate of lentils-- after opening & comparing (nibbling on some mariscos en escabeche out of a can all the while...) the '91 & '02 bottlings of 'Don Martinho', (la Quinta's 'second wine') the older bottling still under the care (winemaking? management?) of Julio Bastos; the second, with the Rotschild partnership well in charge; their young Cab & Syrah plantings online for a couple of years & blended in to the vague tune of 20- 40%, while 70 to 80% (percentages are the Rotschilds!) is a mix of traditional Aragonez-- synonym --or clone?-- of Tinta Roriz &/or Tempranillo; Alicante (Bouschet, or Garnacha Tintorera)-- & Periquita, also known as Castelão in different regions of Portugal.

2306 h. It's taken me this long to edit this much. Tasting notes? The '02 was slightly 'bretty' to the nose, all saddle leather, loam & mushrooms, while the '91 had some elusive evergreen & cherry mixed in with much lighter, fading notes of the funk underpinning. Color is ruby in the '02, a deeper, more intense 'cereza picota' (--bing cherry?) in the '91.

2348 h. I opened the more expensive (26.50 + 6.5?% tax) 1996 Quinta do Carmo-- 'drink now through 2001' says the WS blurb on the North Carolina online merchant's page linked to above. Ooops.
Meanwhile, the '91 is slowly opening & seems to be holding up amazingly well-- some light but lively sour cherry in there! At one pont, midpalate seemed to be thinning out into tart ether, but it seems to have reflated... I'll check in & publish this now, but, like the proto-pop modernist old serials & 'graphic novels' (glorified comics?) used to put it,

Columbus Day:
Día de Colón(ization) or, Día de la Raza, or Descubrimiento de América...depending where & how you celebrate it-- if at all. How confused can Political Correctness get? Are 'Indigenous' populations all Indo-Aryans, then?
OK! End of mini-rant... the '96 Quinta do Carmo has opened up to show more depth (I won't go so far as to say 'complexity', notice...) & a delicious mouthfeel for an 11 year-old wine supposedly past its prime...but as far as price point in Puerto Rico, $26.50 plus our new, convoluted sales/value-added tax hybrid...seems just a bit much-- just a bit, mind you-- however, the '91 'Don Martinho' --$15.00 + tax here in Puerto Rico-- if you can find it, is a little jewel-- sixteen years in the bottle & it keeps opening up to brisk freshness similar to a 'Cru' Beaujolais, two days after pulling the cork! Fruit something like redcurrant or cranberry; midpalate just a little thin, body lighter than the 'Quinta'-- but for a wine so light, there is a nice lingering 'posgusto'-- while the '02 version, for all the young Cab & Syrah now being added, has tannins that hit your palate then come up short.

If you'll bear with me, I'll write a third installment tomorrow-- ah-- tomorrow (today, already) is Padrino's, my uncle Yayo (Eduardo)'s 94th birthday...

He used to love the big wines of Cariñena (-- & the lighter, Garnacha-based clarets of Navarra) like I do.

Anything & everything I write about wine owes a lot to him.
...& this particular 'Baptism of Fire' into the WBW (Wrestling Blotto Writers?) arena I would like to dedicate to the memory of my Titi Olga.


On the third day...ten minutes out of the refrigerator & still cold, some unusual qualities came up before the wines finally 'flattened out':
'Don Martinho' followed the hollowing midpalate with an aftertaste of sticky, chalky tannins, while the 'Quinta do Carmo' seemed to run towards heat and heightened, rough acidity-- still, bouncing back to some nice cassis & clove spice notes in the latter case, even as it died in the glass! I had never experienced the importance of temperature in serving wine like this. Lessons to ponder.
(PS, Sunday evening-- Ended up drinking the last 3/4 glass of the 'Quinta' I'd saved to add to a stew-- still some cassis & spice!-- I may have been too quickly dismissive of this wine-- here: you can find it stateside at $19.99 from two different online shops. It's the least I can do! Salut!)

Un abrazo y un millón de gracias a Gabriella & Ryan por todos sus esfuerzos.