It's not much of a secret anymore that Portuguese reds can be quite satisfying for a fraction of the cost of the competition. I figure that these wineries never became obsessed with single varietal releases, never spent the big bucks on marketing, and never got into the Parker influenced over the top fruit flavors that people seem to look for these days. On a recent trip to a wine "outlet" the other day I found an inexpensive bottle all alone on the shelf. Psychologically speaking when I see the last bottle on a shelf I feel one of two things. One, it must be good if the rest have already been bought. Two, what if I like it and now I know I can't get anymore?
For six bucks, I had nothing to lose. This bottle is not your average Portuguese red. It comes from the Setubal Peninsula, an area I don't see often and instead of being a carefully crafted blend of indigenous grapes, it one one single varietal called Castelao or Periquita.
Ruby red in color, this wine is noticeably lighter than any red I've had from Portugal. On the nose I got dark cherry, blackberry, and black pepper. There was a noticeable element of funk coming through as well, with manure being the best word to describe it. Luckily it didn't show on my palate as this wine was quite pleasing. The word balanced comes to mind because this wine just simply went down well. Simple yet charming, it was a perfect week night match for that pizza or pasta dish. The finish was adequate, with little or no sign of oak lingering. For six bucks, I'd pick up a couple more if I can ever find it again. Grade: B-