Callabriga Dao 2004, Sogrape Vinhos

Of the wines I picked up in the Wine Society’s January clearance, along with a few of the EOS Petite Sirahs I keep wibbling on about, this is the first to get opened. I do like Portuguese reds, as a rule – big, gutsy, honest, meaty, flavourful wines that so far rarely disappoint (I had a wonderful white wine there once, too, a few years ago, and spent a couple of years searching off and on for a British importer before forgetting what it was called).

Anyway, this is largely Tinta Roriz, otherwise known as Tempranillo, with a bit of Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro Preto, an obscure varietal used in the Dao to add depth of colour to blends, so I’m told.

The Callabriga website gives quite a lot of detail about how the wine is produced and should be served. It’s aged for a year in 225-litre oak barrels, which is evident upon tasting, as are the red berries which they boast of. It is a big and delicious wine with impressive but not overbearing tannins, but there was something of the dropped-on-the-barbecue about it, which is as obscure a tasting note as I’ve ever come up with. A success, as was the price – Berry Bros are selling it for £9.70 a bottle, Alexander Hadleigh (who I hadn’t previously heard of) are charging £12.30, while the Wine Society were knocking it off for £6.75 (though it looks like it’s sold out). Shame I only got the one bottle, and that I never cook the roast pork that everyone suggests it would match perfectly (though I could always start).

Head to the Callabriga website to discover such gems as how best to open it (“Perforate the cork right in the centre and slowly insert the whole of the spiral screw. Pull the cork out vertically, applying a continuous force”), how to serve it at the table (“use a drop-stop on the neck of the bottle to avoid spilling drops of wine on the tablecloth”), and why they used funny bottles (“sophisticated, elegant and modern, and dignifies the more refined table”).


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