After an unrelenting feast of brand new wines, it came as something of a relief this weekend to open a couple of older bottles. Nothing rare or expensive, just a bottle kindly brought by dinner guests and another found in a forgotten box unearthed whilst tidying the cellar.
1994 Cartuxa Reserva, Evora : hand on heart, I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about this wine and the back label, written in a teensy font was not illuminating. In the cold light of the following morning I made a quick online search and found the winery website (www.cartuxa.pt) which told me the Reserva is ” a blend of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouschet planted in the Fundação Eugénio de Almeida vineyards”. Obviously.
I would have had trouble picking this as Portuguese wine as it didn’t have the gravelly tannins I usually associate with Dao or Bairrada and I am not certain I would recognize the defining characters of Trincadeira . Instead it was a wonderfully mature red with a strong forest floor, aged leather and sweet spice character, silky tannins and still a surprising degree of freshness. It was delicious and a welcome distraction from the barbecued beef that I had forgotten was still ON the barbecue and so was served dans le style anglais. ie. well done.
1988 Jurancon Clos Uroulat, Charles Hours : I know the wines of Domaine Cauhape well as I used to sell them in London but was once tempted to buy a mixed case of dry and moelleux Jurancon from a range of other producers. I must have drunk the dry wines some time ago but still have some of the late picked wines left. Charles Hours makes two wines; the dry Cuvee Marie and the late harvest Clos Uroulat, the latter made from 100% petit manseng and aged for 10 months in barrel. If I was honest, this wine was perhaps a little too old but although the intense sweetness had been replaced by a dried apricot and honeyed marmalade edge there was still enough sugar to accompany my boiled orange and almond cake.