“An oddity” from Colares.

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“An oddity” is how Oz Clarke describes the Ramisco grape. Jancis Robinson is only a little more informative when she uses the adjectives “demanding” and “endangered”. Colares is the Portuguese wine made from this grape, grown in the defined region north-west of Lisbon. It’s unusual because the vines are ungrafted (the phylloxera bug can’t live in the sandy soil) but also demanding because it takes very many years for the acidity and tannins to soften so as to become a quite refined wine. In 2010 there were less than 60 acres planted in the world. And Richard tested me with a blind tasting of this! He’s a demanding task master. Needless to say I didn’t spot it but thought it rather Sangiovese-like with its sour cherry flavours. It has no relation to that grape.

With colours of intense ruby with a brick rim (it was 2005 vintage), this wine had a spice, gently sour, savoury smell and was intriguingly enticing. I thought the palate a little disappointing after such a layered bouquet because it was quite a simple wine of medium length. Robinson thinks it complex in flavour which hints of  better examples around. It would go well with spicy food. I liked it and it would be great to show at an unusual grapes tasting – but make sure it’s well-aged.

[Richard: bit surprised Geoff didn’t get this one, ho ho. As you can see from the dust I’d rather forgotten about this wine. Bought from TWS in 2011 for £22, no longer available which I suppose isn’t surprising given its rarity. Actually it was pretty good, if a little rustic in taste. Only 12.5% – another characteristic of the grape, apparently, so perfect for a Sunday night. Went well with a carbonade flamade.]

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