I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

Pena de Pato Wines from Sogrape Vinhos

Pena de Pato Wines from Sogrape Vinhos

Last night, having put an entire chicken on the grill to accompany our mixed green salad topped with toasted gooey goat cheese rounds, we tasted a brand new range of wines from *Sogrape Vinhos called Pena de Pato. What we found most interesting about these wines, beyond their name “quill” for which I am still curious to know the story behind, is that they cover 4 different regions – Douro, Dao, Vinho Verde and Alentejo. Sadly, I can tell you very little about the wines. Through deductive reasoning (a phrase I so rarely get to pull off in a wine article), we can assume that these wines are not available on the market as of yet as a result of our inability to find them in any retail store, and because their brand website is just now being put together. However, just to be sure, I attempted to gain more information this morning through a handful of phone calls to Sogrape’s main office, which didn’t turn out so well. When my call was answered, I was promptly transferred and hung-up on. So, I made a second attempt, which ended the same. By the third attempt, I finally gave up when the guy just picked up the phone and transferred me without even a hello. Note to self: hanging up on a journalist is bad juju, but hanging up 3 times on a blogger is just asking for the red pen to come out of its deep, dark chamber.

From what we can tell though they appear to be a line of wines made for the retail grocery and most likely are not ones to lay down. All very simple and not showing much in the way of varietal character. As always our tasting notes follow the article at the bottom.

  • Pena de Pato Dao 2006 (White): grapes grown in the central-north part of the Dao with 12.7% alcohol and made from Encruzado, Bical and Malvasia-Fina.
  • Pena de Pato Dao 2004 (Red): grapes grown in the central-north part of the Dao sourced both at Sogrape’s Quinta dos Carvalhais and at private vineyards with 13.5% alcohol and made with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro Preto.
  • Pena de Pato Douro 2004 (Red): vineyards located in the Northeast region of Portugal with 13.35% alcohol and blended with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca.
  • Pena de Pato Alentejo 2004 (Red): Produced in the South of Portugal from both Sogrape’s Herdade do Peso vineyard and selected private vineyards with 14% alcohol and blended with Aragones, Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouschet.
  • Pena de Pato Vinho Verde 2006 (White): Grapes located in the Northwest of Portgual from the Quinta de Azevedo winery, near the city of Barcelos with 11.5% alcohol and blended from 70% Loureiro and 30% Pederna.

We had tried these wines both before and with dinner. And what had started as a line of relatively unimpressive wines changed significantly with a thick juicy piece of chicken in our mouths, leading us to an interesting question: should wines always be tasted with food?

If we consider internationally respected wine tasters such as Jancis Robinson and Robert Parker who taste wine in completely sterile conditions, does this truly give us enough information to judge a wine by? How often do you buy a wine and drink it without food, aromas, noise or company? I would ration a guess that the majority of us tend to celebrate life with a glass of wine in our hands, rather than in a sterile lab environment, leading me believe that all these sensory notes swirl together and change the life of a wine. The Pena de Pato wines became decent “pizza” wines when given a little gastronomical support. Would I pay more than a few Euros for them, no, but I would happily drink them if given a slice of thick crust Chicago style pizza and a movie.

Cheers,
Gabriella

Warning: Flash based website that is difficult to navigate. Also contains music that plays regardless if you tick the box located on the front page that asks whether or not you want to listen. VERY obnoxious and annoying!

Gabriella’s Tasting Notes

Pena de Pato Dão 2006
White wine produced by Sogrape in Dão, Portugal
Note: I was excited to have a white from the Dao full of native Portuguese grapes that I’m still trying to wrap my palate around, but unfortunately, I wasn’t knocked off my rocker. I will say that the faint aromas of honey, buttercup and green banana are intriguing to me and make me want to try more wines with these grapes, but the palate was limp and left an oily unappealing mouthfeel. Although technically correct, I personally wouldn’t seek out this wine.
Food pairing: grilled chicken with baked goat cheese rounds on a mixed green salad
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato Dão 2004
Red wine produced by Sogrape in Dão, Portugal
Note: Blended after a small portion saw a touch of oak while the remainder of the wine aged in stainless steel, this wine is a simple, one dimensional pizza and good flick type of wine. Translucent dark cranberry in color, the wine offers aromas of kirsh, cooked green peppers, dark cherry and a slight touch of chocolate. 2.5/5
Food pairing: grilled chicken with baked goat cheese rounds on a mixed green salad
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato 2004
Red wine produced by Sogrape Vinhos in Douro, Portugal
Note: Something definitely off with the wine. We’re unclear if it was corked or whether the flaw was of a different beast entirely, but what the case, the wine was off.
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato Alentejo 2004
Red wine produced by Sogrape in Alentejo, Portugal
Note: This wine is absolutely stunning in color. The dark brilliant garnet makes me want to run out and buy some stunning fall jewelery. Following malolactic fermentation in stainles steel, this blend of Aragones, Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro and Alicante Bouschet can be added to your “pizza” wine list. Showing well on the nose with fine aromas of cherry, kirsh, black pepper and green plants that desperately try to segway onto the palate but fall slightly short in expressing anything other than a small tease of cherry. With food, however, the wine peps up a bit and shows a bit more life. 2.5/5
Food pairing: grilled chicken with baked goat cheese rounds on a mixed green salad
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato Vinho Verde 2006
White wine produced by Sogrape in Vinho Verde, Portugal
Note: At first site, this wine boasts of what Vinho Verde is all about, sweet gentle light green with enough vibrant bubbles to take down a party. The nose follows her cue to release gentle green aromas of lime, green apple, honeydew rind and raw almonds.
The tip to the mid-palate, the wine is crisp and dry, displaying just a hint of green pear. Although characteristic in style, the wine lacks in showing a full spectrum of rich lush green flavors. Not bad with the goat cheese however!

Food pairing: grilled chicken with baked goat cheese rounds on a mixed green salad
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Ryan’s Tasting Notes

Pena de Pato Dão 2006
White wine produced by Sogrape in Dão, Portugal
Note: Pale yellow with greenish hues. If vanilla was a flower this is what it would smell like but just barely. Some like green banana notes and light honey. Nice acidty with a very mellow palate, some light citrus notes and grapefruit rind. Very ho hum. Nothing to write home about.

Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato Dão 2004
Red wine produced by Sogrape in Dão, Portugal
Note: Nice bright red color to this one, beautiful. Cherry deep with kirsch notes and some black pepper notes. Pure vanilla cherry with a high acidity and nice medium weight tannin. A bit disjointed over ripe red delicious apple notes on this dry wine. Towards the finish a herbal touch sneaks in with eucalyptus finish though all in all a bit boring, maybe a nice pizza wine.

Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato Alentejo 2004
Red wine produced by Sogrape in Alentejo, Portugal
Note: Pretty reddish maroon and very clear. Cinnamon and anise nose that has a cranberry core to it. Really a pretty nose on this one. Soft in the mouth with a med acid and tannin, sweet red fruit, and dry finish. Very simple wine and very nice for sipping with roast chicken or a pizza. Much nicer with food, consume with out food at your own risk!
Food pairing: grilled chicken
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)

Pena de Pato 2006
White wine produced by Vinhos Sogrape in Vinho Verde, Portugal
Note: Pale yellow in color with a restrained nose. Not very vibrant with some peach and light floral notes. Med-High acid with green apple flavor and gravel notes. Very boring, though much better with a little food. A perfect example of “do not consume without food!”
Rating: 2 (in 5)
(Tasted on August 10, 2007)