Pinhal da Torre -- Alqueve Tradicional Tejo Tinto 17
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Pinhal da Torre is a family-owned winery established in 1947 by the Saturnino Cunha family. Their vineyard holdings have grown over the years to include the best locations in Portugal, with forty-three hectares spread over four different properties.
Current owner and family member Paulo Saturnino Cunha illustrates their philosophy very nicely with this quote:
We try to understand the uniqueness of each grape variety, limiting its production, in absolute respect for natural cycles, through the implementation of extreme care that we call "Pinhal da Torre Happy Grapes Program," thus seeking the highest quality of our grapes, through biological and sustainable procedures.
Tradicional (Quinta do Alqueve) is a blend of 30% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 25% Castelão, and 20% Touriga Franca, aged for six months in used French oak. Grapes are picked and sorted entirely by hand, and much like Port, at least half the production is trodden by foot in traditional Lagares.
The Tradicional is similar to the Pinhal da Torre Tago; however, it's a nice step up in quality and structure without a step up in price. In the glass, the blue-black color with shades of mahogany opens to palate of spicy dark berries with hints of coffee, balsamic and black pepper. The dark fruit notes stop just short of jammy, and there's pleasant structure leading all through the finish.
Simply put, Portuguese wines are a bargain, comparing favorably with their pricier European counterparts. Since they use indigenous grapes almost exclusively, they're also distinct wines that are fun to discover and explore!