Silk and Spice Red Blend 2014
Pair with: Pork chops, beef stew, beef stroganoff, lasagna, and comparable dishes served with tomato-based or barbeque sauces.
Blend: 40% Touriga Nacional, 20% Baga, 20% Syrah and 20% Alicante Bouchet.
Silk & Spice represents the exceptional flavors made possible by Portugal’s diverse terroir, indigenous Portuguese grapes, and the exotic spices and aromas discovered on the ‘Silk and Spice’ routes to the far east in the 1500’s. This is a red blend of deep, rich layers, characterized by aromas of ripe red fruit with hints of vanilla, mocha and spices. Indigenous Portuguese grape varieties - Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Baga - are used to make Silk & Spice.
The label illustrates a reinterpretation of an original XV century map from the Age of Discovery. It details the Bay of Bengal, the Portuguese coat of arms and a historic caravel of the time, all symbolizing the bravery of the maritime explorers who journeyed into the unknown and shared with the world spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and pepper, and fabrics like silk.
Winemaker, António Braga is the Enological Director at Sogrape Vinhos. At the company since 2007, he originally assumed a winemaking role at Quinta da Leda. There, in the Douro Superior, Antonio oversaw 10 harvests and made an invaluable contribution as the ‘right hand man’ to Luis Sottomayor, amplifying the portfolio and prestige of Sogrape’s Douro wine brands. In recognition of his excellent work, new and greater responsibilities naturally followed and in March 2017, António Braga took responsibility for some of Sogrape Vinhos regions (Vinhos Verdes, Dão, Bairrada and Lisbon), monitoring a new winemaking team.
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 Duoro 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.