- 2019 Casa Ermelinda Freitas Vinhas da Fonte Reserva, Peninsula de Setúbal, Portugal ($7.99 @ Trader Joe’s, California)
Anyone who has spent much time in the European Union in the past several decades can appreciate the vastly improved infrastructure of member countries. But beyond the the more conspicuous investment in bridges, tunnels and freeways, the wine industry has benefitted as well. Perhaps nowhere is this more true than in Portugal, which joined the EU in 1986. Due to the EU’s penchant for investing in “agricultural underdogs” money poured into its wine industry and the result is that today some of the preeminent wine regions in Portugal boast some of the most modern winemaking facilities in southern Europe. All of us fans of high QPR wines are the beneficiaries of this investment.
Prior to its entry into the EU, Portugal could be described as isolationist. This is reflected in their vineyards, which also evolved in isolation, which is not necessarily a bad thing if you are a fan of viticultural diversity, as we are. This featured wine reflects said diversity being comprised of 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Casteldo, 20% Syrah, 20% Touriga Nacional (the grape that powers Port wines) and 10% Alicante Bouchet.
From the back label’s tiny mouse type:
A family run company, Casa Ermelinda Freitas was founded in 1920 in Fernando Po, Southern Portugal. The quality of the wines are recognized globally, validated by the hundreds of international awards they have earned. This intense and elegant wine, elaborated with 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Castelao, 20% Syrah, 20% Touriga Nacional and 10% Alicante Bouschet, the wine was aged in French and American oak casks for the period of 12 months, with the intention of adding complexity. The bouquet has fine aromatic notes of black fruits and sweet spices for the oak aging, the palate is rich and smooth perfect to accompany complex dishes, red meat and cheeses. Drink between 61-64F. Store for a recommended maximum of 10 years.
The wine pours an opaque deep purple with a clear rim that speaks to its relative youth. It has a pleasant nose of white pepper, stewed plums and baking spice. In the mouth, similar flavors present. It is elegant, restrained and well-balanced. Nice finish of oak and smooth tannnins. At under $10, this would make a great everyday house wine as it is versatile and would work with a multitude of classic red wine food pairings.
If you’re shopping finds you at Trader Joe’s, keep an eye out for our Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine.
If you’re headed to Costco soon, you can find our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.