Friday, March 24, 2017

Locations Wine: P Is For Portugal

Locations is an experiment of place for winemaker Dave Phinney, of Orin Swift fame. It's his attempt at making wine a country-wide effort, although I don't really agree with the philosophy of blending wine across a nation. Specific locations are important because of what they are, where they are, why they are. Can't deny.

These wines are labeled only with a big letter or two, depicting the place of origin - F for France, P for Portugal, I for Italy, TX for Texas. Yes, he sources grapes from Texas. The wines are bottled at the Locations headquarters in Spain.

P is for Portugal. Phinney’s Portuguese effort is a "blend of Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, and Touriga Franca sourced primarily from the northern region of Douro, with the remainder coming from the Alentejo region to the south."

The old vines of the northern Douro Valley are sheltered from the impact of the Atlantic Ocean by the Serra do Marão mountain range, and very little rain falls on the "steep, rocky slopes." As a result, the grapes are concentrated and aromas and flavors are huge and expressive. The southern grapes are by nature fruity and fresh. Phinney says the blend allows for a silky, layered wine that hits a big 15% abv and is aged in French and American oak.

The wine is dark and juicy, with black currant and black raspberry aromas, but the nose has a distinct savory side to it, with cedar, olives, smoke and sassafras. Chocolate and meat also play into the olfactory delight. The palate brings a textbook darkness, with earth for miles and miles and miles. It's just about pitch black, and that's okay, because I've got a flashlight. There is a heavy note of oak spice, a tongue-teasing acidity and a tannic structure that wants to exert its influence over meat, make that steak, make that ribeye.

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