Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spirit of Wine Review & Rating: ***+ $ Loios Vinho Tinto (Red Wine), J. Portugal Ramos, Alentejano (Alentejo), Portugal, 2008 (BEST VALUE

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By way of background: Loios Vinho Tinto (Red Wine) is a bargain-priced red from the Alentejano (Alentejo) region of southern Portugal, known for its large production of cork as well as red and white wine grapes. The term "Loios" comes from the sect of monks who dominated the area historically. The red wine is finished at 14% alcohol.

Original review, November, 2009:

In the glass: Loios Red shows as deep magenta in the glass, not quite moving to opaque in the center.

On the nose: Swirled after a pour, the wine shows deep and rich aromas of dark plums and oak, wafting up on a sturdy alcohol wave.

On the palate: The front of your tongue first notes a bright plum wash, followed by a sweep toward the back of your mouth. That sweep is carried lightly sweet, with bold acids and very mild tannins.

And the finish: Acids perk up your upper jaw as the taste fades to light plum.

In summary: Lots of plum, not lots of layers. Simple, serviceable and better with food. Two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale.

Updated review, a year and a half later, June, 2011: Consistent color of deep magenta.  Nose shows layers of bready yeast along with the oak and deep fruit.  Now the palate is soft, not acidic.  The deep plum fruit marries nicely with the oak for a balanced, rounded palate and lively, moderately lengthy and completely clean finish.  Three stars now, with a plus for balance.  Gaining a point and a half with a year and a half of aging is a remarkable finding, almost unprecedented in my tastings.  I highly recommend Loios Red now, at three years from vintage date.   Screaming best value. Following long decant, one day kept cool in partially-filled bottle: Yeasty, fruity and inky nose.  Still excellent, creamy balance on the palate.

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