Casa Ferreirinha Esteva Douro Red 19

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When folks consider Portugal's Douro Valley, most often, Port comes to mind -- the sweet, fortified wine that initially positioned Portugal firmly on the radar of all wine lovers. While Port undeniably has its own unique appeal, a tremendous amount of outstanding dry red wines are also produced in the Douro. From everyday sippers to pillars of complexity and elegance, the dry reds from the Douro wonderfully showcase the region's indigenous grapes and unique terroir.

The Douro Valley extends from the Spanish border to the twin coastal cities of Porto and Gaia, and the Valley is universally regarded as one of the world's oldest and most revered wine regions. Etched by the meandering Douro River, the Valley's mountainous landscape is highlighted by terraced vineyards stretching as far as the eye can see.

Gaia, on the southern bank of the river, is home to many ancient port lodges, where the revered sweet wine ages gracefully in countless cellars. However, a renaissance has been underway in the Douro in recent decades, with more wineries branching out to produce compelling dry red wines.

Portugal is home to an extraordinary range of indigenous varietals, many of which elude the discerning palates of even the most seasoned wine aficionados. The grapes used to produce Esteva Douro Tinto are among the most significant.

Esteva Tintofeatures a classic blend of Portugal's indigenous grapes. Touriga Nacional, Portugal's most celebrated grape, provides Esteva's foundation, contributing depth, black fruit flavors, and floral notes to the blend. Touriga Nacional's traditional blending partner, Touriga Franca, adds freshness, lift, and finesse to the cuvée. Tinta Roriz, known as Tempranillo in Spain, contributes body, a supple mouth-feel, and provides a touch of red fruit and spice.

Casa Ferreirinha is a venerable, family-owned estate noted for producing top-quality wines in the Douro Valley. The family's history traces back to the mid-18th century, and over the years, Casa Ferreirinha has solidified its reputation as a leading player in the region's production of sweet fortified and, more recently, dry table wines.

The estate was elevated to an iconic status under the leadership of Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, affectionately known as "Ferreirinha." Dona Antónia, a visionary entrepreneur and philanthropist, was instrumental in improving the region's viticulture methods while simultaneously improving the standard of living for the local vineyard and winery workers.

In your glass, the ruby-red hue leads to juicy red raspberry and strawberry aromas, swimming around notes of crushed flowers and violet -- - a Touriga Nacional hallmark. Subtle hints of earth and spice balance the ample fruit as this lovely Tinto opens up and settles in the glass.

The palate is soft and silky with ripe notes of cherry and plum, framed by tannins that are just right. I love how the Tinta Roriz in the blend provides a spicy edge to the fruit and a whisper of firmness to the finish. There's also an underlying minerality, thanks to the Douro Valley's schistous soils.

Esteva Douro Tinto is a terrific choice for a multitude of food pairings. The fruit-forward nature and generous lift make it an excellent match for various grilled and roasted fare-- grilled pork chops and sausages would be a top choice. Thanks to the soft tannins and silky fruit, Esteba is also excellent for vegetarian fare -- a hearty mushroom risotto or a roasted vegetable medley would make equally delightful pairings. Esteva is super-smooth and approachable, making it perfectly enjoyable on its own.

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