Friday Feature 5-3-13: Portugal Delivers!

Hello and Happy Friday!


Just a reminder that we are back with another edition of Routier tonight!  Stop in any time between 5 and 8 pm to try a flight of three wines along with a nibble of cheese and crackers for only $25 per person.


Tonight’s theme focuses on Spring reds.  Inspired by a warming in the weather (and now a little cooling!), we will pour three reds that offer a transition from those cold weather, big reds.  The bounty of spring veggies and its inspired food also makes us want to drink the following line-up for tonight:


Cuvée XI M. Lapierre Raisins Gaulois Vin de France

2011 Elio Grasso Dolcetto D’Alba ‘Dei Grassi’ Piemonte, Italy

2010 Ravailles Frères Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup Rouge Cuvée Sainte Agnès




In other news, yesterday we released a new schedule for our “Wine Wednesday’s” tastings.  Remember you can always check out our calendar of events here.




Today’s Friday Feature focuses on a country that Craig is eagerly anticipating visiting in just over a week.  On Sunday, May 12th, Craig will embark on a two week journey to Portugal.  He will visit seven different regions in this diverse wine country.


Of course no discussion of Portuguese wine would be complete without talking about the Douro region.  One of the world’s most historic regions, it has been given the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site.  While the history of Port production is hundreds of years old, the dry table wines of the Douro have less than two decades of history.


In that short time, the region is now home to some of Europe’s greatest red wines.


To prove this bold statement, this Friday Feature focuses on what is one of the true great producers of the region, Quinta do Crasto.  Yesterday I met with Miguel Roquette and tasted through his incredible line-up of wines.  From white, to red to fortified wine, rarely do you taste a group of wines that is so good from the bottom to top.


On this Friday Feature, there is a little something for everyone, including two great values, and one of the top wines of the Crasto estate, a wine that is always considered one of the greatest wines of Portugal.


We really encourage each and every one of you to try the wines of Quinta do Crasto.  Some of these are very limited, so secure yours today!


Have a great weekend,

Craig & Sheb

Friday Feature

2010 Quinta do Crasto Douro TintoOne of the great values in Portuguese wine is that of Quinta do Crasto Tinto.  This is a lot of wine for the money!


A glimpse into the traditional Port varieties, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional.  The fruit comes from 20+ year-old vines facing South and East.


This is a perfect introductory to these varietals, as it is fermented in tank, and bottled.  The lack of oak influence gives a perspective into the unadulterated forms of these varietals, and also provides a truly drinkable style of red.


Bright red and dark berry fruit, mineral, and Syrah-like roasted spice notes can be found on the nose and palate.  The finish is long, perfectly balanced and best of all finishes fresh, so that you want to come back for another sip.


A simple grilled steak and a glass of the Crasto Tinto will bring a smile to your face.


$15.99 BTL. / $191.88 CASE


2008 Quinta do Crasto Douro Superior 


The Douro region is divided into three sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior.


The Crasto winery is located in the Cima Corgo subzone. They have also invested into the Douro Superior or Upper Douro as it is also known, by purchasing the Quinta da Cabreira.  The vineyard is 114 hectares, planted with the traditional Douro grapes.  The Upper Douro has an extreme dry climate, with dramatic temperature swings between day and night.


This wine offers a glimpse into the amazing potential in the Douro Superior.  It is a blend  of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Roriz and Sousão.  It is fermented in open top plunging tanks, basket pressed, and aged for one year in French oak barrels.


Again, this is another amazing value, a wine that delivers insane quality for a shockingly low price.


Beautiful aromatics that hint at wild strawberry, baking spices and mineral.  Intense, rich fruit that coats the palate, but does so in a way that doesn’t feel heavy.  There is some solid structure here in the mid palate, with nice acidity and freshness.


A gorgeous wine that has the ability to age, but is irresistible right now!  Go beyond the classic steak and potatoes pairing, and try it with a curry, it will knock your socks off.



===2009 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional


Quinta do Crasto was the first producer in the Douro to varietally bottle the grape varietal Touriga Nacional.  The feeling among those that work at Crasto is that Touriga is a noble variety, one with great character, although quite difficult to produce at the highest level.


That is why, only in the best years, Quinta do Crasto produces a pure Touriga Nacional from their estate vines.  The 2009 marks the follow up to the 2006 vintage.


The fruit is sourced from the best plots, with vines ranging in age from 25 years and older.  Hand picked, rigorously selected, they are foot trodden in a “lagar,” a traditional stone tank.  The wine is transferred to stainless steel tanks where it undergoes fermentation, and then aged for 16 months in 225-liter French oak barrels.  Not just any French oak barrels, rather, because of the Roquette’s relationship with Jean-Michel Cazes in Bordeaux, they have access to the same oak barrels as the First Growth estates in Bordeaux.  A mere 1600 Euros per barrel, which shows the spare no expense attitude of make great wine at Crasto!


The 2009 offers a beautiful nose full of black berry, cocoa and oak spice.  Full-bodied with a firm tannic spine, that is softened by the generous amount of fruit, the length on this wine is truly impressive.  This is only just now beginning to show what it will in the future.


If you want to taste the best wines of Portugal, then this is a must buy.  If drinking now, decant 4-5 hours ahead of time.  It will enjoy a nice evolution in bottle through 2025+.



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