A dark Portuguese
Tonight I sip something dark, Portuguese, a bit unusual, and totally enjoyable. It's from the wild country north of the Douro, where some dude built a big house and then decided to plant a vineyard. From these vines winemaker Rui Cunha has produced a cracking wine with bags of savoury personality (see www.vallepradinhos.pt).
Valle Pradinhos Tinto 2003 Tras-os-Montes, Portugal
Beautifully packaged in a Burgundy-shaped bottle and with an elegantly simple label, this is a lovely gutsy red that reminds me of the best wines of southwest France. It has a bright, savoury spicy nose with dark fruits and a hint of tar. There's a gravelly minerality to the palate, which has tight dark fruits with a spicy kick, and plenty of tannins. The result is very refreshing, drinkable and utterly food friendly. There's even a hint of elegance here - it isn't overly rustic. I like it a lot. Very good/excellent 90/100 (use wine-searcher.com to locate stockists)
Aside: did any of you catch Oz and James' Big Wine Adventure on BBC2 tonight? Wine is back on national television. And there was a cameo role for my chum Sam Harrop MW, who came across rather well. My thoughts on this programme follow tomorrow.