Wine Blog Wednesday – Casa de Santar – Part 2 | Catavino
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Wine Blog Wednesday – Casa de Santar – Part 2

Portuguese Porco Alentejana

The four wines we lined up on our dining room table were paired with a traditional Portuguese dish called, Portuguese Porco Alentejana. The result was, as always, delicious. I loved how the tender bits of pork and crunchy cubed potatoes married perfectly with the smoky paprika broth. I especially liked the sprig of parsley adorning the summit of my food. I have no idea what magical green power parsley has, but as it made its debut on my plate, the dish tasted even better. (Ryan’s note: I rarely like the parsley on a dish, but in this one, you NEED it. It really helps to add a contrast to the rich flavors.)

Technically, because this pork recipe originates from the Alentejo, we assumed that either of the Casa de Santar reds would pair well, as the Alentejo is known for their reds; however, to our surprise all three wines paired beautifully. I’d like to say all four, but the Casa de Santar Reserva 2006 was corked. So, we were left with one white, the Casa de Santar 2006 and two reds, the Casa de Santar 2004 and the Casa de Santar Reserva 2004. (Ryan’s Note: I would naturally gravitate to a white with this dish with high acidty, but personally found the lower priced red worked incredible well also. I would shoot for a wine with good acidity though, giving the food a bright contrast)

We had first tried the Casa de Santar 2006 at Sacramento one evening in Lisbon. Neither of us remembered we had tasted this previously, but having reread my tasting notes, it appears I walked away feeling as if the wine lacked on the palate. When tasting the wine a second time, I liked it much more than I had the previously, but I still found something lacking. Where Ryan found heaven, evoking everything from pineapple essence to sugar cookies on the palate, I was left feeling a slight void where flavors should have mingled but chose to escape quickly and without a goodbye. The nose, however, was incredible to both him and I. Light, vibrant and perky, the wine showed gorgeous citrus, melon, white flower and cream notes.

For the reds, we both sided wholeheartedly with the Casa de Santer 2004. While the Reserva was also a great wine, time couldn’t encourage it to reach its full potential. The color, however, was stunning: dark metallic garnet with the occasional flash of iridescent purple is not a color you encounter in most wines. In this way, the wine was truly unique. The Reserva also has an unbelievably seductive and funky nose. So enticing, that I actually found myself singing James Brown’s “Get Up”! Rich and intoxicating, the wine lured us in with exotic spice aromas, rich lavender, bright cherry, leather, and a touch of smoky seductiveness. In the mouth, we were both a bit put off by the simplicity of the sweet tannins and light acidity, but with a little inhalation and swishing, we could faintly pick out similar flavors we found on the nose. It’s a great wine, and we both recommend it, but when tasting it to the non-Reserva, it’s a different ball game.

The Casa de Santar 2004 is just plain classy and sexy. It reminds me of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys where she seamlessly intertwines sultry with sassy. Deep red in color, clear and translucent, the nose reminded Ryan off his mother’s spice drawer with cloves, allspice, cinnamon and anise behind rich dried fruits and cherry flavors. The palate was interesting because what started as firm tannins quickly mellowed out to a silky sensation that literally wrapped around your tongue. It’s very well integrated with bright red berry flavors and just a touch of smoky tar in the background. And although I didn’t find the finish particularly short, Ryan found it a touch brief after experiencing such an intense and intoxicating nose.

Overall, we absolutely loved these wines and would recommend them to anyone who might be interested. It appears as if both reds are currently available in Canada for around $16, while the 2006 Casa de Santar white can be found in the US for approx. $11. We suggest you contact Dão Sul if you’re interested in trying their wines!

Feel free to read our notes below and thank you for participating in WBW! And remember, even though our notes are up, you still have time. Get out there and get a wine! We’ll be waiting for your email 🙂

Cheers,

Gabriella and Ryan


Ryan’s Tasting Notes

Casa de Santar 2004
Red wine produced by Casa de Santar in , Portugal
Note: Deep red in color, clear and translucent. The nose reminds me off my mother spice drawer with cloves, allspice, cinnamon, anise and more, all backed by some rich dried fruits and cherry flavors. The best part is the wispy air of violets that seems to weave it’s way through the crowd of smells to tease you. Wood is a factor but in a way that makes me feel like the bench I’m resting on is made of oak and the forest of smells, wrap around it, drawn to my alert nose. Full in the mouth with a medium acidity fine tannins that don’t really play a strong role. The finish is short and somewhat disappointing after a nose that really excited me. Flavors on the palate run softer than on the nose but definitely show up, with a canvas of cherry, flowers, and chokecherry to sit upon. Highly Recommended
(Tasted on October 9, 2007)

Casa de Santar Reserva 2004
Red wine produced by Casa de Santar in , Portugal
Note: Deep dark marroonish red with a thick core of color. Bacon fat bullet(what would that look like?) seems to dart out of the dark forest of flavors. Cherry, cassis, smoke, and other mysterious flavors sit behind a wall of a Chocolate Mocha Coffee waterfall. The depth is what draws me to this wine closer as I try to get my head around the nose. In the mouth I’m at first put off a bit by the simple sweet tannins and light acidity. But with some air and proper “swishing” in the mouth I really do see the flavors from the nose, but through hazy sunglasses, faint yet potent flavors that have yet to evolve. Cherry and cassis like candy are evident with coffee, chocolate, and spice box notes jumping in and out. Really a fun wine. Recommended
(Tasted on October 9, 2007)

Casa de Santar 2006
White wine produced by Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal
Note: Very light golden color to this wine, almost clear. I know in my head that cream may be a smell, and creamy a texture, one for the mouth and one for the nose. But I have to say that this wine smells creamy with light flowery citrus, delicate and restrained. Sweet tarts are a childhood favorite that comes to mind, with grandma’s potpourri not directly under my nose more as though it was sitting in a dusty corner of the living room, only gently sneaking in from time to time. In the mouth this wine has a simple acidity at first restrained, but as you swallow a nice prickly texture of brightness glistens in my mind. Flavors of pineapple essence, light white flowers, sugar cookies, and ethereal lemon notes that I find hard to pin down. Really a fresh alive wine whose somewhat short finish leaves me less disappointed than elated to still have a bottle partially full in front of me yet to explore. Think, white fish, cold shrimp, oysters, and other fun seafood treats. Recommended.

(Tasted on October 8, 2007)

Gabriella’s Tasting Notes

Casa de Santar Reserva 2004
Red wine produced by Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal
Note: Dark metallic garnet with the occasional flash of iridescent purple. Wow, yet another enticing Casa de Santar bouquet showing rich cranberry, plum and purple grape juice, followed by a touch of finely ground black pepper, mocha, lavender, cassis and black earth. I’d go so far to call it ethereal and slightly elusive, but attractive! The palate is less complex with a touch more acidity than I would like for this wine, but no less attractive. Showing black cherry lollipop, chocolate and charcoal with a touch of blueberry licor. Interesting wine with fine tannins and a lingering mexican chocolate finish. Recommended
(Tasted on October 8, 2007)

Casa de Santar 2004
Red wine produced by Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal
Note: The color is as brilliant and as rich as a garnet stone with one sexy nose. Rich and intoxicating with exotic spice aromas, rich lavender, bright cherry, a touch of leather and a smoky seductiveness that teases my nose back into the glass. The palate is equally seductive showing firm tannins, bright acidity and a lush, silky mouthfeel. It’s well integrated with bright red berry flavors and just a touch of smoky tar in the background. Highly Recommended
(Tasted on October 8, 2007)

Casa de Santar 2006
White wine produced by Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal
Note: Encruzado/Cerceal Branco/Bical 12.5% alc.- Slight greenish hay color showing honeydew melon and pear with light notes of both cinnamon dusting and wet bark. Great acidity on the dead center of the palate, with a elegant round mouthfeel. The wine gently rolls off the sides of my tongue like rain on a newly waxed car, leaving a slight citrus and tropical fruit finish. I like it more than I did before, yet I still find a slight hollowness on the palate. Albeit balanced, the wine lacks a bit of personality.
(Tasted on October 8, 2007)

Casa de Santar Reserva 2006
White wine produced by Casa de Santar in Dao, Portugal
Note: Encruzado/Cerceal Branco/Bical 12.5% alc.- Corked Wine.
(Tasted on October 8, 2007)

PS: We know our theme excluded dessert wines, but any good meal with a touch of sweetness at the finish, in our opinion is just not right! So here are two bonus notes on a particularly wine that is very unique in Portugal. A Moscatel de Setubal, that is fortified with Armagnac brandy from France. Truly a unique and special wine and a fine end to any meal! Cheers,

Domingos Soares Franco Colecção Privada 2000
Fortified produced by Jose Maria da Fonseca in Setúbal, Portugal
Note: Light golden orange with a nose that has a touch of alcohol, almost like a flambé of peaches. Flowers, dried, mingle with apricots, peaches, and dates all fresh and alive with out a heavy character. In the mouth this wine is thick and unctuous, with notes of Earl Grey tea that are wrapped around honey drenched peaches and dried apricots that my mother once bought for me from the local co-op. Lush and inviting this wine leaves your mouth with a slight coating of honey infused orange and thoughts of the dried fruit merchant that I stare at each time I visit the boqueria in Barcelona. A fine wine, Highly Recommended.
(Tasted on October 9, 2007)

Domingos Soares Franco Colecção Privada 2000
Fortified produced by Jose Maria da Fonseca in Setúbal, Portugal
Note: Beautiful burnt orange color! It’s actually dead ringer for my birth stone, topaz, a stone I hated up through my teenage years for its lack of romance. As a child, to compare a brilliant red garnet or ruby to, what I considered, a muddy brown topaz what just not appealing. Now, with leaving falling outside my window, and a slight chill the air, I love this color! Loads of mandarin, cooked peaches, caramel and butterscotch on the nose, while the intensity falls off a touch on the palate showing subtle hints of vanilla, essence of mandarin, honey and melon. The texture is so silky and soft you wonder if wine ever touched your palate or whether a cloud of mist merely passed over your tongue.It’s an unctuous, well balanced wine that makes me inclined to grab another glass of this wine! Highly Recommended
(Tasted on October 9, 2007)