Last month, when my parents were in town visiting, I took them on one of my favorite local winery tours, the Manor House Museum Tour of José Maria da Fonseca. Easy to find on their website, this legendary Portuguese winery offers daily tours of the founder’s original estate and winery located in the town of Azeitão, just 40 minutes outside of Lisbon in the Terras de Sado region. For a small price, you can walk through the antique cellars that still hold their famous barrel-aged red, Periquita and their 100+ special reserve Moscatels de Setubal, while learning about their illustrious wine-making history. At the end, you offered a tasting of 2-3 wines, normally consisting of a white, red and Moscatel.
Being my second visit to the estate, and having already savored some of their whites and Moscatels before, I was looking forward to tasting a red. That paticular day, they had the 2004 Domini, their flagship Douro red produced under their Domingo Soares Franco label with the partnership of Christain Van Zeller of Quinta do Vale Dona Maria. This unfiltered wine aged three months in new oak is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo) and is a beautiful deep red-purple with the aroma of dark fruit, leather, earth and wild mushroom, which I love and have come to encounter in many Douro reds – reminding me of lovely right-bank Bordeaux reds. The palate is more of the dark fruit, plums and black currants with smooth but persistent tannins.
Both my parents and I adored this wine, so we each bought a bottle to reserve for a very special occasion. This came recently, when I hosted a wine and cheese gathering, and decided to roast some Portuguese sausage on my “Assador de Chouriço”. This traditional Portuguese roaster is a hand-painted, shallow ceramic dish, normally coming in the form of a little pig with three ceramic “grill marks” on top. It is great for roasting a variety of well-made Portuguese charcuterie by the unique (and very clean) method of flaming ethyl alcohol poured in the bottom. I chose three varieties of sausage; a basic chouriço, some long and thin linguiça and something I hadn’t tried yet, called chouriço porco preto. This “black” sausage, made from the famous Iberian black pigs located in the Alentejo region, ended up being the favorite of the night, with its distinct flavor made even more delicious when eaten roasted and warm. The Porco Preto also paired perfectly with the 2004 Domini. Its earthy notes complimented the “barnyard” flavors of the black pork, while matching in body with the fatty richness of the sausage. This delicious combination left me licking my fingers with greasy chouriço goodness, with intermittent sips of the Domini!
If you love, or end up loving, JMF’s 2004 Domini, try their 2004 Domini Plus, the winery’s high end Douro red, made with the addition of Tinta Barroca and aged 12 months in new French oak. I’m also looking forward to tasting the JMF trademark, Periquita “Classico” 2004, which I have sitting here awating roasted black pork chouriço!
To memorable pairings,
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