Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Ciconia Touriga Nacional Syrah Aragones NV $7.99 (not TJ's) ***(*)

photo by MEH
Impromptu, rustic, flavorful.  How's that for a mouthful.  I am LOVING Ciconia wines this week. We had some of their Vihno Verde and really liked it over the weekend.

What made it impromptu:  I wasn't planning on reviewing a wine tonight, but as dinner was cooking on he grill, JPH presented me with this familiar label picturing a folk drawing of Ciconia ciconia, the White Stork of Portugal.  How could I resist trying a sibling to the Vihno Verde that we had liked so much?

What I loved: The light fruitiness up front, and the lovely floral smell, and then the deep slightly oak finish. It is complex, yet served at room temperature on a hot/sticky day (it was muggy 80's) this wine was flavorful and refreshing. So refreshing that I can't imagine it on a cold day.  It is a great, mid weight summer red.

What I didn't love:  DON'T aerate this wine.  It made it bitter, woody and tart.   There is a threatening undertone that could be chocolate or could be bitterness.  It is like you are drinking something that could turn on you, but for the moment, it is really, really easy to drink, and flavorful, with just a hint of spiciness.

Either sip this wine alone or have it with savory food.  I tried a bite of our grilled pineapple with lime, and then drank some wine and it was like brushing my teeth and drinking a swig of orange juice.  Just don't do it. Some flavors just don't play well together.  This wine wants a nice steak with some char and a pristine ear of corn. Or anything with a full flavor that can be complimented by the deep cherry and tart raspberry with a hint of oak taste to this wine.

This wine comes from a major producer in Portugal Herdade SÃO Miguel.  There is a slight discrepancy between their tasting notes and our bottle.  Our bottle said 14.5% ETOH, their notes say 13.2%.  I believe the higher content.  It is a blend of some very interesting varietals:  Aragonês (the joke is on me, that is the Portuguese name for my beloved Tempranillo), Syrah and Touriga Nacional; a varietal used in the production of Port... mmm Port, now that is an after dinner elixir that I enjoy. 

So, there we have it, a cheap, cheerful blend of two of my favorite flavors.  The rustic coffee/leather/earthiness of Tempranillo, the heavy smooth fruitiness of the Touriga Nacional, and a light spritzer of Syrah to give it some highlight.  Well done.  It may be mass produced, and it may be a wine that you drink as soon as you open it - but for $7.99 why not?  I am a fan.

We had a simple dinner tonight.  Grilled skirt steak, fresh corn on the cob and for dessert, grilled fresh pineapple with a hint of lime, salt and rum.

I'll leave you with a shot of our dessert of grilled pineapple.  
I have been told that the leftovers may even go into some 
pineapple upsidedown muffins for breakfast.   
I am a very lucky girl.

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