Wine Review: 2007 Peccatore Douro Reserva

6 10 2011

Can you see the difference? Price is the difference. Though the ultra-cheap faux foil on the neck was still a bit disappointing.

I’ll try to be (more) brief tonight than I have been recently — quite a few posts over the last couple weeks have eclipsed the 1000 word mark.  To cut to the chase, tonight’s wine costs $13 and doesn’t suck.  Thanks to my (sizeable) tuition bill for the WSET Advanced class starting at the end of the month, I’ve cut back my wine budget substantially over the past few months and as a result have been on the lookout for inexpensive wines that still deliver.  There may not be a better place in the world for these bargains than Portugal, which is cultivating a reputation for solid, easily drinkable dry reds at value prices.  You may have some initial reticence to delve into the Portuguese wine market, largely because it’s based around a large number of indigenous grapes that no one outside of Lisbon has ever heard of, but if you embrace your fear of the unknown, accept that your $15 Portuguese red won’t be made out of Cabernet and just drink it for what it is, you WILL be very pleasantly surprised.

This particular wine comes from the Douro region in northern Portugal, which is (drastically) more famous as the birthplace and home of Port, the sweet fortified dessert wine.  The grapes from the Douro that go into Port (the most important of which are Touriga Nacional [Portugal’s top red grape], Tinta Roriz [known elsewhere as Tempranillo], Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cao) are also made into dry table wines, of which this is one, that share Port’s boldness and fruitiness but do not have its heightened levels of sugar and alcohol.  While you find the odd high-priced luxury dry Douro wine out there, the majority of them are very reasonably priced given the quality of what’s inside.  Peccatore appears to be a second label of the larger producer Quinta do Portal; the word “Peccatore” means “sinner” in Italian, and the somewhat-creepy label gives you a clue about the kind of sinning going on.

Cork Rating: 0.5/10 (It's about a third shorter than a normal cork, it's fake, and it's decorated only by Website Infractions. Not good.)

The Peccatore was a medium-deep purple colour in the glass, although the strength of the colour thinned out noticeably at the rim.  On the nose, it was very New World in style, with sweet blackberry, cherry Nibs, chocolate, sweet spice, coconut and sauna aromas predominating — the kind of ripe, fruity notes you would expect to see on a budget Californian or Chilean red.  This lush, straightforward style continued on the palate, which placed juicy, brambly dark fruit (blackberry and blueberry) front and centre, with accent notes of bubblegum, wood/char and a touch of earth.  As its flavour profile would suggest, the Peccatore was big and full-bodied and had only medium levels of acidity, but was held together by fairly high levels of soft, dusty tannins.  It may not be a wine to delve into and mine for complexity, but it’s not trying to be that wine — it’s trying to be $13, balanced and delicous, and it definitely succeeds at that goal.

I drank the Peccatore with weeknight BBQ and it was a perfect match — the bold fruit flavours and sweet spice notes worked very well with tangy barbecue sauce, and the wine was powerful enough to stand up to the assertive flavours of grilled meat.  And did I mention it’s $13?  It’s $13.  And it doesn’t suck.  Case closed.

85+ points

$10 to $15 CDN 

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