Friday, February 24, 2012

Vale do Bomfim Douro (2009)

When it comes to wine and Portugal, one most often thinks of Port, the fortified wine from the Douro Valley.  This is probably due to the fact that the large Port houses -- like Dow -- have been successfully making the wine for centuries.  However, these same houses have also begun to use their grapes to produce both red and white wines.  One such red wine is the Douro, which has its own DOC, or Denominação de Origem Controlada.

The Douro DOC is found along the Douro River in the Trás os Montes e Alto Douro of northern Portugal.  The principal red grape varieties in this DOC include the Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (also known as the Tempranillo grape in Spain) and Tinto Cao.  Many of these grapes are used in the production of Port; however, the Port House of Dow has taken these grapes to produce the Vale do Bomfin, a red wine that I found at a local grocery store. 

The Vale do Bomfin is produced by the Symington family.  This is the family that owns and operates the venerable Dow Port House, which has been producing Port wine since 1798.  The Val do Bonfim is named after Quinta do Bonfim, which is where the Dow House has its headquarters. This Douro wine is a blend of five grape varietals.  For this vintage, the blend is 30% Tinta Barroca, 25% Touriga Franca, 25% Touriga Nacional, 15% Tinta Roriz, and 5% Tinto Cao.  The family describes this Douro wine as reflecting "the new style of wine of wines coming from the Upper Douro valley, where it offers assertive spice aromas and delicious wild berry flavors."

This intensely garnet-hued Douro wine provides a lot of wild berry aromas and flavors, such as cherries, black cherries and a small handful of raspberries.  This Douro also has a little oak and earthiness hiding amongst all of that fruit, in the background of a this rather bold wine, providing a subtle reminder of the aging of the wine. The wine also is rather tannic, providing a certain dryness and astringency that often comes from big, bold red wines.  

Like those big bold wines, the Val do Bonfim is best paired with red meats, whether grilled, broiled or pan seared.  This wine would also pair well with flatbreads or pizzas that have red sauces, sausage, and mushrooms.  And, speaking of sausage, this wine would also pair well with the iconic Portuguese sausage ... linguiça, along with chourico (or chorizo). 

I found this wine at a local grocery store.  It sells for about $9.99 for one bottle. 


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