November 29, 2012

Review: 2009 Do Vale Meao Douro Meandro

Well, friends.  Here's my first wine review.

I'm going to do things a little differently than most wine reviewers, which is to say:  I won't be ranking wines.  Chances are, if I feature a wine on this blog, it will have mostly redeeming qualities.  If it's a real dud, maybe I'll mention it, but I'd rather spend my time describing the good ones.  

Right now, I'm in rehearsals for a wonderful concert with my amazing choir, the Angel City Chorale, here in Los Angeles.  Rehearsals are fun, but have been going late in anticipation for this weekend's two performances.  Last night, I didn't have rehearsal, and I found myself really in need of a glass of red wine.  (This is also the reason for the lack of a Wednesday post.  Exhaustion and the need to relax took over.  Never again!) A few weeks ago, I had a Spanish-themed, tapas-style dinner party for a few good friends, and went a little crazy at Costco picking up some bottles for the evening.  This is one I sort of saved, because it's actually Portuguese, but I'd also been dying to really try a wine from the Douro region.  I was ready to relax with this puppy. 

The Douro region is known for growing the grapes that go into making Port, which I LOVE.  However, the region apparently produces as much table wine as it does the fortified dessert wine.  And after this bottle, I'm sold.

The particular label on this wine read as follows:  Meandro Do Vale Meão Douro .
Confused yet?  Lemme break it down!
Do Vale Meão=the winery (in Portugal, these are often preceded by quinta which means farm/estate)
Meandro=name of wine, means to meander!

Whew.  Ok.  Now:  The wine itself.
The wine is a blend of red Portuguese grapes, all from the Douro region.  The medium-fine tannins (if this means nothing to you, stay tuned for a future post!) were silky and pleasant.  But, what does a wine from the Douro taste like??? Well, like port.

To me?  That's a great thing!  I love the warming, luxurious taste of port, but don't always want the boozy kick that the fortified wine can give.  I tasted a big punch of fruit--really lovely red fruit flavors, honestly, but it wasn't too sweet--maybe due to the lingering taste of bitter cocoa. It seemed balanced with a savory side--a real heartiness and peppery kick that was really enjoyable.  This is all the more impressive since I was just sipping it, and not enjoying it with a meal. I kept thinking it reminded me of beef stew, in a subtle way.  I was drinking a 2009, which could have benefited from maybe waiting another year--but I don't really care.  This was a lovely wine, and I'm going to keep my eye out for it again.

So: who would like this wine?
Those who love the flavor of port but might find it too strong.  Those who like Spanish wines- this one had qualities that reminded me of Tempranillo.  Those who love both fruit and savory simultaneously in their wines. That was my favorite part.

Oh, and if you are interested, here's the breakdown of grapes:

Touriga Nacional (35%)
Touriga Franca (30%)
Tinta Roriz (25%)
Tinta Barroca (5%)
Souao (5%)

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