Casa Santos Lima Touriz 2004
I brought this wine to celebrate a happy and long-overdue reunion with some
Portuguese-speaking friends. From the Estremadura region in southeast Portugal near the
capital of Lisbon, this wine accesses three of the country's most reliable grapes (all of which
may be found in port): Touriga Nacional (40%), Touriga Franca (30%), and Tinta Roriz
(30%), the equivalent of Spain's mainstay grape, Tempranillo.
The $13 Touriz is a rich, lusty, dry Vinho Regional (the Portuguese equivalent to France's Vin de Pays). Full-bodied and thick in the mouth, the wine gives unstinting fruit, pronounced acidity, meaty tannins. The fruit is an earthy cherry, plum and cassis, but there are also dried fruit notes of prune and apricot couched in leather and tar. The spices mix sweet vanilla, nutmeg, and clove with pungent black pepper. A full company of floral tones do their own dance on the nose.
The occasion aside, it was perhaps wishing too much for so much wine to provide maximally
without cellaring a few years or at least doing a three hour decant. The fruit did open up and
begin to meld with the acidity after a little bit, softening from that initial punch into an
enthusiastic snuggle, if not quite a caress. The considerable finish is worth waiting for since
the fruit has stamina and the accompanying tannins have a sense of purpose. In the final
analysis, this was a bumpy ride at times, but an enjoyable one.
Verdict: A lot of wine
A good wine will always tend to clarify some of the weighty problems of the world, if only by making them less weighty.
James Beard Award Nominee Elliot Essman