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Tasting Note – Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004

Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004

A few nights ago, Ryan and I opened two Dao wines from two distinctly different producers, the Borges Reserva 2003 and the Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004. Although the Quinta da Fata had a cute little gold star on it boasting of it being the “Best Wine of the Dao” from the DO itself, we knew very little about either of these wines having received them both in a 90+ shipment of Portuguese wine sent from Lisbon in August. Our confidence did however lie on the fact that it would be an interesting pairing with our dinner, as I have recently decided to try my hat at cooking. Although I am far from an intuitive cook, I will say that I love the idea of cooking and occasionally like to make my husband suffer through my impulsive cooking streaks. That’s love! So, with the Internet at my fingertips, I scanned through All Recipes.com and found the perfect fall dish: split pea soup with a fresh loaf of crusty bread!

Sounds great, doesn’t it? But finding ham hock in Spain is like finding Spanish cured ham in the US, just not going to happen. Walking into our open air market, I went from stand to stand pointing to the bottom of my leg while asking if they had it in pig. I’m eloquent in my language skills, aren’t I? Yeah, well, I couldn’t quite find the word for ham hock and resorted to my Neanderthal skills of pointing and gesturing in hopes of getting someone to understand me.

“Ahh, so you want the “tobillo” or the ankle of the pig?” the blood spattered butcher across the counter asked me.

Do I want the ankle? Maybe I need the ankle, but since I’ve never ordered a ham hock anywhere in the world, I have no idea if a ham hock is decidedly the ankle.

“Ahhh, sure, what does the ankle look like?”

Although I don’t know my anatomy as well as I should, I am quite confident that a pig’s foot is not the ankle. Somewhere, our communication went awry.

“So, where can I go for, ahh, other…pieces…of pork leg?”

She pointed me to a stand on far side of the market. What began a simple request for ham hock turned into a 30 minute scavenger hunt. I felt like I was in sitcom where the meat kept changing hands behind my back, but I could never grab it in time. It just didn’t seem fair.

In the end, I didn’t find ham hock, nor could I get my hands on split peas either. So with a little guidance from thy dear husband, I made a chicken, mushroom wild rice soup to pair with both wines. Although not the best combination, as I would have preferred an Amontillado, the Quinta da Fata went surprisingly well!

After a good hour of decanting (as suggested in capital letters on the technical sheet), the wine rose to its full potential, showing some of the great earthy and dark fruit notes characteristic of Dao wines. Made from 50% Touriga Nacional, 15% Tinta Roriz, 15% Jaen, 10% Alfrocheiro Preto and 10% Trincadeira the Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004 was harvested by hand followed by an initial foot trodden before a 5 day maceration. Throughout the maceration, the wine received occasional foot work (sounds like a dance step) so as to keep must from drying out. Malolactic fermentation was carried out in French and American oaks, and after one year, the wine was moved to stainless steel tanks to both stabilize the wine and soften the tannins. What resulted was a brilliantly clear deep red wine with rich red berry notes followed by subtle aromas of kirsch, candy cherry and wood, ending in a long luxurious anise finish. It’s a balanced, well-integrated wine that requires very little of you to appreciate it. Just take a look at our tasting notes below if you need further convincing.

Will you find this wine in your neck of the woods? Unless you live in Holland, you’re simply out of luck. However, Quinta da Fata is very receptive to having their wines reach new territories! Therefore, if you just happen to be looking for a fantastic Portuguese wine to bring into the US, UK or Canada, I might suggest giving them a ring.

Finally, if you’re interested in learning where Quinta da Fata is, see our map!


Ryan’s Tasting Note
Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004
Red wine produced by Quinta da Fata in Dão, Portugal
Note: Very intense red color with a solid core that barely sees light. Raspberry nose but with a bit of the brambly vine throw in, light stepping into the plant and inhaling the resulting smell. Under this I get a sweet cherry liqueur or kirsch note, candy like with a wood roof over it and anise breeze. Medium acidity to this wine with a fine but very firm tannin. Here is a food wine! I have to say this wine is very thin in appearance, mainly due to a lack of up front fruit, but this restrained nature is nice as the wine leaves and a wafting of delicate fruits and rhubarb creep onto my tongue, like the last of the wave slowly creeping from the shore. Soft spoken in it’s wisdom, this wine need a slice of pork roast whose richness would be balanced so well, while taking on a glaze of red fruit and light spice. Not an obvious wine, but obviously, not a wine to miss.
(Tasted on November 2, 2007)

Gabriella’s Tasting Note

Quinta da Fata Reserva 2004
Red wine produced by Quinta da Fata in Dão, Portugal
Note: Dark reddish purple with a concentrated core tapering off to a translucent ring. Dark red fruit on the nose with a touch of wet leaves, kirsch and eucalyptus ending in a long cherry lollipop and black licorice finish. It’s surprising how beautifully the eucalyptus seamlessly evolves into a rich licorice finish. The tannins in the beginning are firm and unrelenting, but with time, the acidity becomes brighter and the tannins relax into a round, integrated finish. It’s a wine that paired beautifully with wild mushroom soup, and could easily stand up to a roasted chicken, pork or even a hardy lasagna. I would highly suggest this wine and request your wine retailer seek it out!
(Tasted on November 2, 2007)

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