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

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

  • Ryan will be speaking next Saturday the 27th of September at Podcamp Barcleona. Basically telling the story of going from a blogger to organizing a blogging conference.
  • We’ll be in Valencia the 2nd and 3rd of October and meeting up with bloggers on the 2nd downtown for dinner. If you want to come, contact us!
  • Question for the weekend: As the weather changes, how quickly do you change your wine choices? More Reds? Moving to a Port? Leaving Whites? Or do you prefer a more year round balanced approach? Let us know in the comments below.
  • http://www.ourwinestory.com Dylan

    Gabriella,I may have to check you on the comment, “And despite its highly controversial name by USA standards, some of the Sexy wines are available in North America.” I can't say for sure how controversial of a name this is by USA standards considering this is the same country where Justin Timberlake was “bringing Sexy back” much to the approval of dancing halls everywhere. (And, if my reference eludes you, “SexyBack” was a hit single by pop musician, Justin Timberlake).I have yet to try out this wine, but I'll drop you a line when I do. I hope it's as much of a hit as the JT single was.

  • ryanopaz

    Actually Dylan, when you look at labeling laws for alcohol in the US, they are very strict and absolutely ridiculous, often times leading wine and beer companys to submit labels with innuendo's hidden or imagery obscured.

  • Andrea

    I actually ended up trying the white Sexy at Sala Ogival the first time I was there and I have to agree with you that I definitely didn't find the wine “sexy”, in fact I wasn't too excited about it at all but the rosé sounds like it would be tastier. You have to admit though, labeling the wines that way will definitely attract people's attention at least!

  • http://www.passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/ RichardA

    Gabriella: Glad to hear your cast was finally removed. 78 days is certainly far too long to be so encumbered. I agree with Dylan that the name of the wine may not really be that controversial. For instance, there is a California wine called “Cleavage Creek”, with an accompanying label of a well endowed woman. For me, I would likely not buy a wine labeled “Sexy” as I would think it was more a marketing stunt rather than being a more serious wine.

  • ryanopaz

    Interesting point about the “I would likely not buy a wine labeled “Sexy” as I would think it was more a marketing stunt rather than being a more serious wine.”You recently reviewed favorably El Jefe's River of Skulls, a name that is quite obviously a marketing stunt. Would you not have bought that too because of the name? Or is the word “Sexy” less appealing to you then “skulls”.In the end though would you buy it if you saw we liked it regardless of the name(if it was a style you were seeking)? Or would the name actually cause you not to buy it even if others liked it?Just some thoughts

  • http://www.passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/ RichardA

    Hi Ryan: If I had known nothing else about River of Skulls beside the the name and label, I definitely would have hesistated before buying it. (Though I had actually recd it as a sample). But, as I knew more about the wine than merely the label and name, I would have been more likely to buy it. For example, it is made from Mouvedre, one of my favorite grapes. Though I would hesitate to buy the “Sexy” wine without knowing anything more about it, I would be more likely to buy it if I saw a positive review from people I trusted, such as yourselves.

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  • António Moita Maçanita

    Gabriella and Ryan,Glad you liked the wines. So we can do some reasonable white wines in the alentejo after alll. We have just done a Reserve white called PALPITE, based On the same blend than SEXY but with more Arinto. I will sendo you for a taste. Liked your commments.About the SEXY brand – A litle story… The last time I was in Antwerp in Belgium, I was in this wine presentation, with other 50 producers beeing shown. Close to end this gentleman comes to me and says “I am quite upset with you… from all the wines here i prefer yours but, why the terrible labeling?”, I replied: “what's the name of your second best wine of the night? And the third best” To what he smilled and said he didn't remenber the name. So you have it…. why the name … I continued: “what I need from you, is that you tell exactly what you think to your friends… that you just had a fantastic wine with a terrible pink label and they will know what look for”.So my bet is that besides the product.. it is not a wine label to be indiferent to. Who likes loves, who hates it is endorsing it.And also… life is all abourt feeling SEXY! CheersAntónio Moita Maçanita

  • luis & boni

    SOY DE VALENCIA Y TENGO TIENDA DE VINOS. EN SEPTIEMBRE VOY A TENER SEXY EN MI TIENDA, EL TINTO. NO LO HE PROBADO, PERO APUESTO POR ÉL. SI CUIDAN LA IMAGEN SERÁ POQUE CONTIENE ALGO BUENO.