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Wine of the Week – Fitapreta Vinhos

There is no way I can start this post without sharing my elation that my hand is free to type. For those of you who are not in the know, I have been in a cast for exactly 78 days, as reminded to me by my doctor this morning. But now, my cast is gone, and from its hard powdery depths springs a hand that is dying for some sun, a splash in the sea and the ability to type at lightening speed without hearing “clunk” “clunk” every time my plaster thumb hit the space bar. Ahhh, life is officially good.

So getting back to today’s topic, our featured wines of the week consists of a big, bold Portuguese wine called Preta, in addition to a line of wines called “Sexy”. Portuguese winemaker, António Moita Macanita, along with English viticulturist, David Booth, have attempted to design a simple, yet provocative, red, white and rose that are intended to be light, easy drinking and compliment food.

The question though, as posed by Jamie Good of Wine Anorak, is, “Can a wine be sexy?” Jamie argues that these wines don’t necessarily show sex appeal, but more a “hint of seriousness”. If I’m reading Jamie correctly, this isn’t your run of the mill blond bombshell like Pamela Anderson, but instead, more of the demure, sensual and soft spoken type that you’d bring home to mom; essentially, Charlize Theron with glasses working the Dewey Decimal System.

I must admit that I agree with Jamie. The wines don’t give off an air of either sexy or seductive to me. They are all well-crafted, and enjoyable to savor either alone or with a light dish. Of all three, however, I found myself enjoying the 2007 White Sexy made with 60% Antao-Vaz, 30% Verdelho and 10% Arinto from the Alentejo. 80% of the grapes were then fermented in stainless-steel tanks, while the remaining 20% was aged in new French oak barrels.  Sticking your nose into the glass, I immediately get a waterfall of creamy tropical notes washing over me. Fresh pineapple, perfectly ripe pear and a touch of white peach aromas. In the mouth, the wine is bright near the tip of my tongue, but quickly dissolves to show its short time on lees and touch of barrel influence. Not enough to overwhelm you, but just enough to balance out its bright acidity. And despite its highly controversial name by USA standards, some of the Sexy wines are available in North America.

The 2005 Preta is a wine of a completely different caliber. This is a big, and bold, and yes, sexy wine! And ironically, I disliked this wine on very first day when we tasted it. I found it to be be disjointed and not well integrated. But on day two, it polished itself up to show nicely. Preta, translating to “black” in Portuguese, is made of 73% Touriga Nacional and 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, that has been hand harvested and selected from Bencatel and Fronteira, in the northern Alentejo, and then transported to the winery in a refrigerator truck. The grapes undergo spontaneaous fermentation by wild yeasts followed by a 21 day post maceration, followed by a traditional fining with egg whites. Aged for 4 months in new French and Portuguese oak barrels and the remaining 12 months in aged barrels. Approximately 6,000 bottles were sold, which are available throughout Europe, as well as Brazil.

How would I describe this wine beyond the word, sexy? I would call it an enticing wine. The nose shows perfumed aromas of violet, with a delicate interlacing of plum and dried red fruits and a touch of dark, rich spice. In the mouth, the acidity is still vibrant, despite the 14.5 percent alcohol and bold intensity of oak on the mid palate. Slightly chalky tannins ease into a medium dark berry finish, leaving me with a strong desire to have another glass. This is a wine with aging potential, and I would be interested how this wines shows in a few years time.

As for the 2007 Sexy Rosé, it is a solid wine, though a bit simple and missing some of the complexity that make for great rosé. For the money, it works, and in party situations, we’d give it a thumbs up, but as far being a  serious, or even sexy, rosé, we would pass.

So there you have it, a realtively new winery in the Alentejo managed by young international team who have some fun new wines we’re happy to recommend. And if you’ve tried these wines, please let us know your thoughts!

Saludos,

Gabriella Opaz

A few house keeping notes to finish with

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