Tuesday, August 20, 2013


In the store at this time we have a large stack of inexpensive Terras Do Literal Portuguese wines from Vidigal, one of that country's wine giants.  One of the reds is labeled "Vinho Regional Lisboa" which obviously means regional wine of Lisbon.  That was obvious, I guess, to every one but me since it actually took me hearing it from a customer before I got it.  It turns out Lisboa is Lisbon for the Portuguese people and the wine region extends 40km north and west of Portugal's capitol city.  Before its renaming as Lisboa in 2009, this region was called Estremadura.

Estremadura was never a popular name on Portuguese wine labels because there are nine subregions within the district which were more important place designations.  In 1993 the wine industry created the "regional wine" category for Estremadura to both take advantage of new investment money coming into the area and to promote experimentation with new varieties in new locations within Estremadura.  So whereas the nine districts continued to exist as an overlay for the region, the regional wines could be drawn from anywhere within the region's boundaries.  This was actually a qualitative upgrade yet a continuation of the region's history of producing decent ordinary wines, the equivalent of France's Vin de Pays wines.  As such, the region has been the largest wine producer by volume in Portugal.

The nine subregions of Lisboa, of course, reflect microclimates within this region of hillsides and reliefs in varying distances from the Atlantic coast.  The climate is subtropical and Mediterranean with average temperatures year round in the 50-70 degree range.  Its winters are amongst the warmest in Europe, courtesy of the Atlantic Ocean.

Our Lisboa offering is an elegant lighter style red composed of 70% Tinta Roriz, 20% Castelao, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Tinta Roriz is one of the thirty-five or so names for Tempranillo which may display aromas and flavors of berries, plums, tobacco, vanilla, leather, and herbs.  Being inexpensive wine this one is fruity with raspberry and other red berries predominating.  The wine is ruby in color and food affinities would include most meat dishes, pastas, and even salads.  Last night I had this wine with salmon on the grill with a honey mustard glaze and it was delightful.

Please join us here this Friday between 5 and 7pm as we continue our exploration of new wines in the store.  This time we welcome Ryan Thayer of Eagle Rock Distributing as he presents Italian and Chilean reds and the critically acclaimed Ferraton Cotes du Rhone Blanc.  Also, please become a follower here since that may eventually land me some advertising revenue.

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