Herdade das Ânforas “Monte das Ânforas,” 2009

How many Portuguese wines get featured on Grapeaide? Not enough. They’re hearty, they’re often rustic, and they leave a red stain on teeth and lips that’s quite nearly bestial. Good carnivore wines, whether dense and tannic, or lighter and more acidic. Both have the muscle to pair with my other favorite thing: steak.

Tonight’s post is quick and to the point, concerning a wine that looks to be the same: the 2009 “Monte das Ânforas,” produced by Herdade das Ânforas, a winery located in the Alentejano region of Portugal, far to the south. Now, when most people talk Portuguese wine, they’re talking about wines made in the Dão and the Douro appellations, which are the most well-known regions for red Portuguese table wines. Douro wines tend to be more full-bodied and round, while Dão wines are usually lighter and higher in acidity. Both frequently present the budding oenophile with phenomenal values, across the board.

That said, if you want to impress your friends (and don’t we all), look further and you can find gems from the corners of the nation. Alentejano produces what most would consider “New World” style wine: red wine with flesh on its tannic bones, lip-smacking acidity dropping the drinker’s guard just before the dark core of the wine’s fruit swoops in like – pick your own animals, dear readers – a blackberry falcon.

What’s that? Not impressed yet? Alright – let’s have the wine speak for itself: the 2009 “Monte das Ânforas” is made from one of my consistently favorite grapes: Aragónez, also known as Tempranillo, the grape behind Rioja, of Spanish fame. Some Trincadeira and Alfrocheiro, two other indigenous Portuguese grapes, made the blend as well. A cherry red in the glass, straight to the rim, nice clarity. Gorgeous fruity aromas, mixed dark berries and a hint of damp earth sprinkled with dried herbs. Great intensity, hearty texture; the concentration of fruit belies the price point with every sip. Finishes medium, clean because it’s unoaked, but with poise – this is a balanced, good value wine that tastes out of its league. What kind of league am I talking about? The $8 league. Buy a case.

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