Wine: Periquita Original.
Grapes: Castelao (74 percent), trincadeira (14 percent), aragonez (12 percent)
Region: Setubal Peninsula, Portugal
Availability: Lee's Discount Liquors, Total Wine
In the glass: This Periquita wine is very deep blood ruby red with a dense opaque core going out into a fine light violet rim definition with medium viscosity.
On the nose: It has a distinct mulled wine nose at first, but then opens up to reveal dark fruits like sloe, huckleberries and pomegranate seeds, then phenolic compounds, old wood, ripe bramble fruit interspersed by star anise and soft earthy notes, almost bordering on forest floor.
On the palate: There is a myriad of things going on once this wine hits your tongue with very bright forward acidity from distinctly red fruits rather, showing copious amounts of crushed red currants, red plum skins, ascorbic acid and almost citrusy notes. The midpalate is pierced by the bright acidity, but it does play well with the fine tannins in the wine making the finish red and high-toned for quite a while.
Odds and ends: It has been a long time since I found a good Portuguese wine to review and just when I was about to give up on that country, along comes this superinteresting and highly tasty Periquita wine. Made from three indigenous grape varieties, which are not even in the top three red wine varieties I would have ever guessed, it comes together nicely.
Portugal is best known for its centuries-old port wine production, but in the past 20 years or so, a serious effort has been made by many of these port-producing houses as well as other winemakers to bring out a stunning array of great wines for export. Most of these are made from the famous grapes that go into port, namely Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinto Roriz and sometimes Tinta Barroca.
Periquita is one of the great names in Portugal's wine history and it has been produced as a dry red wine since 1850, giving it both great heritage and peerage, so to find this for less than $10 per bottle just goes to show that consumers vote with their wallets. This is a wine unlike any other red wine I have tasted in the past couple of years (in a good way!) and it is interesting enough to merit a review here.
It is absolutely a wine for rich foods; its bright acidity will cut right through whether it's greasy pizza or Chinese food and it'll do the trick.
Open at least one hour before consumption and drink now through 2016.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89106-0749, or email him at email@example.com.