Three-grape blend, Portuguese-style: Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande 2000

Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande 2000
I have not yet tasted the current 2002 vintage, but the Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande 2000 is delicious. The blend of traditional red grapes from the Douro region of Portugal combines into a luxurious wine with lots of character. More than 20 minutes in the decanter pays off well as the sharpness of the fruit mellows considerably and notes of leather become well developed. This is a very silky and robust wine, yet it does not overpower. It's not too rich or heavy, and its charming style which verges on rustic, is one that I appreciate. Often I find these kinds of wines to be the most food-friendly. Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande 2000 is the perfect accompaniment to food, and especially the kind of affordable but comforting food I most often prepare at this time of year: pork roasts, pan-grilled chicken and pasta in creamy sauces.

Bottle: "This wine is produced in our winery of Quinta do Seixo in the Douro region from the selected grapes varieties Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Barroca and aged in oak casks of 270 litres. Only the finest quality vintages are used in making Vinha Grande. With a ruby colour and an intense aroma of ripe fruit, this red wine is well balanced, very smooth and has an elegant, persistent finish."

Another 2000 vintage and one that may be easier to locate is the inimitable Tercius, which is a blend of the same three regional grape varieties (hence the name). Suffice to say that though I uncorked a bottle of it last spring before an increase in price sent it above the $20 mark, I would gladly pay this amount for such a remarkable wine.

Vila Nove de Gaia, Portugal. 13.5%.

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