Quinta de Roriz Reserva Douro 2002
Quinta de Roriz Reserva is made with a blend of native Douro grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz, which acquired its name from the estate when it was first brought to the Quinta in the 19th century. (Tinta Roriz originated in Spain, where it is known as "Tempranillo".)
This dry red table wine is tasting particularly well right now after a few years of bottle age. It features ripe, dark fruit flavors with sweet, spicy notes that are balanced by earthy notes and exotic flavors typical of the Douro.
Douro reds pair particularly well with game meats, stews and full-flavored cheeses. Decanting is suggested for enhanced aromatics.
Quinta de Roriz is one of the oldest and finest estates in the Douro and has been owned by the van Zeller family since 1815. Historical records show that Roriz was the very first Quinta Port to be exported and the first Quinta to establish an international reputation for the quality of its wines. During much of the 19th Century, Roriz was considered one of the greatest of Vintage Ports, and it is intended to re-establish this standing in the 21st Century.
Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.
While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.
The Douro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.
Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.
The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.