Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Updated Review: *** $ Esporao Monte Velho Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal, 2008 (BEST VALUE)

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By way of background: This is Esporao Monte Velho Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal, 2008, a bargain red wine from a combination of Alentejano Portuguese grape varietals, finished at 13.5% alcohol.

Original review, April, 2011:

In the glass: Deep magenta, opaque from about an inch in from the edge of the glass. 

On the nose: Poured cool with a brief decant and swirled vigorously, shows deep fruit with the husky helium overtones which usually blow off with a bit more air time.  From the aroma, seems like this will be sturdy, soft, oaky and bold, bigger than its 13.5% alcohol would suggest.

On the palate: The primary elements on the palate are in fact a modest, mostly dry, spicy presence in the mouth, smoky spice wrapped around a fairly tight core of shy red fruit.  Wants more air or time; also seems to crave food.  So very dry.  Reminds me of a prairie dog, with its head just peeking up out of the ground.

In summary: Overall, rates two stars on the five-star Spirit of Wine scale, with a plus for unexpressed potential.  Good value because of its bargain price.

Following long decant, two days kept cool under vacuum in a partially filled bottle:  The nose has lost most of its helium character, now seems shy with a bit of old world funk.  The palate shows more fruit coming forward, and accompanying the spicy middle.   The prairie dog is beginning to surface with its fruit and flavors.  Edging towards three stars.  Let's watch its progress with even a bit more time in decant.

Following longer decant, another two days kept cool in a partially filled bottle, this time with NO vacuum:  A balanced nose now, some old world plum, some fruit, some oak.  On the palate, there is both spice and sleekness now.  It will settle with a bit more bottle time, but just tips the scale to the third star now, becoming a best value in the process.
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Updated review, over a year later,  June, 2012:  Color is consistent with original review.  Aroma and palate are now consistent with the "longer decant" review immediately above.  Cinnamon spices and reasonably sleek, balanced palate. 

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