Back in the fall of 2012 I took a bit of a departure from Lisbon and Cascais and went down to the the Alentejo region of Portugal to taste some wines at Esparao, one of the larger producers who make quality wines in the region.
That trip, my second to the winery in a few years, once again reaffirmed my faith in wines from Portugal as being under-discovered by many, except the likes of long time winepal in Philadelphia, Mark Squires who authors coverage of the wines of Portugal for The Wine Advocate. Honestly, Mark may be the best authority in the USA on Portuguese wines bar none, as he has taken the task on with the vigor.
So, when I spied a bottle of the Esporao 2011 Quatro Castas Red on the shelf, it was in my cart as fast as it could be, and was the first red of the week I opened. Just like what I tasted at the winery, it didn't dissapoint me one bit. Here's a rich, full bodied red that was silky smooth and very lush on the palate with aromatics of cherries, blackberries, plums and raspberry fruit, all knitted together like a well woven scarf.
Made from a combination of Touriga Franca, Tinta Miúda, Cabernet Sauvignon, Alicante Bouschet, the wine is an example of a sub 10 euro bottle of wine that can hold it's own with a wine priced twice as much. Long on the finish, the bottle didn't last long with my friend and I taking turns with it, as we munched on Iberico ham and local cheese--all without any crackers or bread....
Oh...and if you like olive oils and vinegars, Herdade de Esporao makes some of the best around...Personally I'm a fan of their Seleccio, which is their top extra virgin olive oil, but based on a tasting of them last year, they're all as great as their wines.