2011 Churchill Estates Douro- $17
This wine from Portugal is a blend of 3 different grapes-
40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca and 30% Tinta Roriz.
Portugal is often overlooked as a top wine region on the world stage. It doesn’t get the same love that France, Italy, Germany and Napa get, but Portugal is an incredible wine growing region that grows some very different grapes. It’s for this reason that I really enjoy serving wines from Portugal. While everyone else is pouring the same boring Chards and Cabs, I like to uncork something different and interesting like this bottle.
This wine is perfect for that. This is a red blend that tastes like an elegant $75 wine, but at $17, it’s an absolute steal!
What it tastes like: This wine is characterized by lots of dark fruit and chocolate. Rich and meaty with lots of concentrated cherry, blackberry, plum and mocha notes. The chocolate on the nose is reminiscent of a baking chocolate or cocoa powder, which makes this an instant head turner. There is some spice in the backgound, but just enough to add complexity and layers of flavor. You’ll notice dried fennel and taragon. This wine has an unquestionably sexy and romantic feel, with a nice long finish and is velvety smooth on the back end. It’s reminiscent of Port (this wine uses some of the same grapes) but is very different in style. I like to say that if Port had a younger, hottter sister, this wine would be it!
Who will love this wine?
-Single guys looking for a sexy, and romantic red. Gentlemen, this is your new go-to bottle. This wine is easy to enjoy on it’s own or with most pasta dishes for an at-home dinner date. Part of the appeal of this wine is how different it is and explaining to your date that this wine comes from the Douro region of Portugal. The grapes? Oh those are the oh-so-sexy to pronounce Touriga Nacional (too-REE-gah nah-syoo-NHL), Touriga Franca (too-REE-gah fran-kuh), and Tinta Roriz (tinta roh-reez). Practice your pronunciation while simultaneously pouring and you’ll be sure to impress your date! At $17 a bottle, (and 14.5%) you should buy it by the case!
-Steakhouse lovers that want something different. The dark fruit and tannins in this wine pair well with grilled meats. Instead of trying the same old Napa Cabernet or Merlot, take the lead and order this instead. Since you won’t find it on many wine lists, you may even consider bringing this to the restaurant and paying the corkage fee. It makes for a dynamic pairing.
-Those that enjoy big California Cabs but want something different. I’m a typical California-kid that was raised on Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Whenever I crave something different from the norm, I usually reach for this bottle. This is a great change of pace, but still satisfies that Cabernet craving.
-Anyone that enjoys drinking Port. The grapes in this wine are also found in Port and in fact, it’s produced in the same region in Portugal. While you’ll find some of the same notes in this wine, the key difference is you won’t find the super rich and concentrated flavors and intense sweetness in some Ports. If you’ve got a friend or family member that loves Port and won’t drink anything else, this is a nice baby-step toward the world of unfortified wines.
Final Conclusion: Must Buy
As you can tell I’m a fan of this bottle. It delivers big bang for the buck, get high marks for uniqueness and is a real crowd pleaser.
Great post Frank. Looking forward to some recommendations on whites too!
Thanks Pete! Glad you like it. More to come soon and I’m always open to requests!