October 6, 2011: Vino Cava Imports: Wines of the Iberian Peninsula

Vino Cava Specialty Wine Imports is headquartered in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Their wines are brand-new to the state and include high-quality, great values from Spain and Portugal, and more specifically the Iberian Peninsula. Many of the wines they represent are from small-production, family-owned wineries that focus on quality above all else.a

Vino Cava represents a number of Portuguese wines, which, other than Port, tend to be relatively unknown in the U.S. They say “there is an important story to be told about Portugal- rich wines, old vines, and a passionate and dedicated group of winemakers who have been producing fantastic wines for centuries. The Portuguese culture is quite unique, and the indigenous grape varieties found here are used to create wines unlike any other in the world.”

Some of the Portuguese indigenous grape varieties that we will explore at the tasting are: Fernão Pires, Castelao, Trincadeira, and Alicante Bouschet. Some of the wines also contain more familiar grape varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Spanish wines are made from Garnacha and Monastrell (same as Mourvedre).

Spanish and Portuguese wines, above all else, present excellent value to the consumer. These regions exemplify outstanding quality for the money, probably more-so than almost any other Old World region (don’t get me wrong though- there’s great value to be found everywhere, even France and Italy!). We hope you will join us to sample these new and exciting labels, priced between $8.99-$10.99 tomorrow night.

The specific wines for the tasting are:

Quinta do Casal Branco Capoeira Branco 2009– Vinho Regional Ribatejano, Portugal. A blend of the native white grape Fernão Pires with a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc. Its perfumed nose offers tropical scents of lime, pineapple, and apple, with stone and sweet floral hints. It is lively in the mouth and light- to medium-bodied with apple and tropical fruit flavors and a note of spice, followed a clean, fresh, mineral-filled finish.

Quinta do Casal Branco Capoeira Tinto 2008– Vinho Regional Ribatejano, Portugal. A blend of the native red grape Castelão blended with Cabernet Sauvignon. Bright ruby red/purple in color with inviting rustic scents of floral notes, spicy red and black fruit, and an herbaceous hint of eucalyptus. The palate is juicy with tart fruit notes and rustic qualities, followed by a fruity, well-balanced finish (somewhat reminiscent of a mild Cabernet Franc).

Quinta do Casal Quartilho Q Branco 2009– Vinho Regional Ribatejano, Portugal. Made from 100% Fernão Pires from 25-year-old vines. Bright yellow/green in color with a citrus-filled nose of lemon, lime, lemon peel, and hints of mineral and lavender. It is tangy and fresh with a lean palate of lime and mineral and a hint of white flowers, with a slight note of salty minerality on the finish.

Quinta do Casal Quartilho Q Tinto 2008– Ribatejo DOC, Portugal. Made from a blend of 60% Castelao, 30% Trincadeira and 10% Alicante Bouschet, foot-trodden in traditional ‘lageres’ (large stone tanks). Aged in new and used French oak for 4 months. Deep rusty/ruby in color with complex aromas of spice and dark fruits that opens up to reveal bright blackberry and cherry, spicy tobacco, savory/earthy notes, and floral hints. It is nicely balanced on the palate with good acid, gripping tannins, and generous flavors of ripe berry fruits, savory mushroom and smoke qualities. The finish is bright and fruity. An excellent value.

Vina Paquita Garnacha 2008– Carinena, Spain. 100% old-vine Garnacha, unoaked. Carinena is one of the oldest growing areas in Europe, with a continental climate that’s ideal for producing excellent Garnacha wines. This example offers a ripe nose of blueberry, strawberry, and briary fruits, with hints of black pepper and berry jam. It is textured and bright on the palate with rich and soft red fruit flavors, hints of licorice and mineral, and soft, smooth tannins. Another great value.

Barranc del Rei Monastrell 2010– Valencia, Spain. 100% Monastrell (known as Mourvedre in France). On the nose, pretty purple fruits of blueberry and ripe cherries are abundant with an underlying Rhone-like quality of tobacco and spice. Fresh, juicy fruit flavors are enhanced with good acid and gripping tannins in this approachable, value-driven red.

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