Friday, November 30, 2007

Tasting Note: 2005 Lavradores de Feitoria Douro

The Story: It's Thursday night, and it's been a long week at work. I want an inexpensive red to drink with dinner: sauteed pork chop in a sherry shallot pan sauce. I look at the options I have on hand and the most fitting looks like this Douro. I bought from Mister Wright for $11 a few weeks back because wines from Portugal have been all the rage among wine geeks recently, and I have never tried one. Tonight seems as good a night as any to test drive a Douro.

The Region: Douro, Portugal. The Douro region is in Northern Portugal. It is the same region of Portugal where Port is produced. Lavradores de Feitoria is located in Vila Real., the capital of the province of Trás-os-Montes. Vila Real, Portugal, on Google Maps

The Grape: This is a red blend. Traditionally, Douro wines include Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional grapes, among others. The same grapes are also used to produce Port.

The Look: Dark purple.

The Aroma: It takes a good amount of swirling for me to identify anything. Eventually I notice hints of raspberry, but the aroma is mostly "red wine."

The Swish: I manage to break the cork in half the first time I try to open the bottle. As I try to pull out the second half of the cork, pieces of the cork crumble and drop into the wine. A little cork never hurt anyone. I hope the cork does not absorb too much wine.

As I take my first sip, the wine tingles the tip of my tongue. This is a sensation I have never felt before. In that first millisecond when my tongue touches the wine for each sip, my tongue tingles and I briefly taste raisins. I wonder if this taste is something that the wine picked up from its sweet cousin, Port. It is a very unusual taste for a red wine, but I like it.

Once the wine passes the tip of my tongue, it is fairly one dimensional, but enjoyable. I notice hints of plums on the palate, but for the most part it just tastes like fermented grape juice. I taste more alcohol than I would prefer. I manage to swallow some cork, but it does not detract too much from the wine. Despite the alcohol flavor and the cork, the wine is easy to drink. It is full-bodied and has a nice finish for $11.

The Verdict: I still cannot get over the tingling sensation and that this wine had on my tongue when I first sipped it. One day after opening the bottle, the tingling sensation was gone, but I will remember this wine by that sensation. I've never had a dry red wine that tingled on the tongue and tasted of raisins. Do Douros usually have this characteristic? While I did not love this particular wine, I am intrigued by Douro wines. I would not buy this wine again, but I definitely will purchase other Douros.


RougeAndBlanc said...

I tasted a few Douro and never did get the tinging sensation. May be you should by another one and perform an A/B test with this one to compare.
" I taste more alcohol than I would prefer" - The wine maybe too warm. I posted "A cool idea for a slow sipper" suggesting the usage of reusable plastic ice cubes. Maybe that will cool the wine down in your glass.

Eddie H. said...

Thanks for the comment. The tingling sensation was gone after the second day, so I don't know if it was just the particular bottle I had or a strange interaction the wine had with the food I was eating, but there is no doubt that the tingling sensation existed. I read your ice cube idea-- may have to give that a try. I agree that that last sip of warm wine in a glass, is not pleasant.

David McDuff said...

It's possible that the tingling sensation you felt could be from a touch of residual CO2 remaining in the wine, something that's often done intentionally with lighter reds in the northeast of Italy.

I think it's more likely though, based on your tasting notes, that there was enough residual sugar in your wine, along with some remaining organic life, for a wee bit of bottle fermentation to have occurred. If this was indeed the case, the tingling would have been the sensation caused by the active production of CO2 during this bottle re-fermentation. It makes perfect sense that the tingling would be gone on day two as any further CO2 production would have dissipated into the air rather than being captured in solution.

Eddie H. said...

Thanks for the explanations, David. I'm going to guess that the tingling sensation was due to bottle sensation, as I am familiar with the sensation of residual CO2 in the wine, and this was slightly different. Regardless, it did not detract too much from the wine.