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Douro 2012, Diálogo, Niepoort ($16.85, 12098033)
A blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo) and Tinta Amarela, among others (for what it’s worth, gives the proportions of the named varieties as 40%, 30%, 20% and 10% respectively), from vines averaging ten to 20 years old. Manually harvested. Alcoholic fermentation takes place in stainless steel vats, malolactic fermentation in large barrels and stainless steel vats. The wine is matured 12 months in used 225-litre French oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. 13% ABV. If I’m not mistaken, the wine is marketed with country-specific comic strip labels and even cuvée names (e.g. Twisted, not Diálogo, in the States). The local bottling – titled Hunter – comes with a critter label of sorts drawn by Montrealer Claude Cloutier. Quebec agent: Alivin Canada.
Subdued, dry-smelling nose of plum, black cherry, pencil lead, old wood, savoury herbs and definite balsam notes. Disconcerting on first sip: not limp but virtually gripless. The acidity and tannins are so soft your attention settles on the supple, pure and fresh if dry fruit. A faint lactic vanilla streak colours the otherwise ephemeral finish. A half-hour in the carafe adds a little depth and vibrancy, but this welterweight is most notable for its elusive substantiality. Looking for a red wine to go with your piri-piri chicken? You got it. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Written by carswell

July 15, 2014 at 17:30

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