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Far from Modern – Paulo do Silva’s Colares Chitas 2002

Chitas Colares 2002

I’m tired of all the whining about alcohol and extraction, manipulation and critic focused wine making. Wine is meant to be drunk, enjoyed and savored. And if you are not enjoying what is in front of you, pour the bottle down the drain and move on.

My tastes range from ultra-modern to the most classic of the classical, as flavor is what counts above all. I say this because last Sunday afternoon, I had the opportunity to taste a wine that made me stop, assess, and realize that not all the old styles are gone as of yet. This wine is a classic, and I was forewarned that it is a “wine that requires some patience”. Seeing that the style was a remnant of winemaking practices no longer seen as fashionable, I wondered if we all “need a bit more patience” as we get older.

The bottle our good friend Maria Joao opened was Paulo do Silva’s Colares Chitas Reserva Velho 2002

DOC Colares is a little more than a blink of an eye if you were to steer your boat north up the coast of Portugal towards Oporto. Having driven through there once back in 2003 aboard a bus whose speed indicated a desire to break the sound barrier, I can tell you only this, the blurred scenery was amazing. Today, there are still few producers in the area, and although the wines are not award winners, I find them to be intriguing. Part of my curiosity for the wine, may stem from the history of this varietal. The Ramisco’s roots are notoriously deep reaching, and when Phylloxera tore through Portugal in the 1890’s, destroying the wine landscape, the vine’s roots were left unaffected.

As for this 8 year old wine, it immediately reminded me of Tondonia, or another well aged Rioja wine. Light in body with a zesty acidity, the nose is musty with notes of earth and leather. Having had discussions recently about brett more than once in the past week, my mind immediately jumped to this aroma. However, upon further thought, I second-guessed my initial judgment as it was clean, and may have only been showing its unique character of herbs with cherry/cranberry notes mixed with pencil lead. This was a very elegant wine, and one that I would seek out again, possibly pairing it with the region’s famous grilled fish fare. In the end, I’d give this a 4 out of 5, keeping in mind that this is a wine for contemplation, a little patience and a good book.

I do suggest this wine, and I praise the desire to keep wines like this a part of the wine landscape. I’m sure that most modern wine lovers would not immediately fall in love with this, but the desire to explore new and interesting flavors makes me hope that we do not let them fade away. Fortunately Portugal still has many hidden nooks and crannies for wine lovers like me to explore.

Ryan Opaz

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