glassredOn occasion, something profound and sublime like the 2004 Chassagne Montrachet Morgeot Vigne Blanche from Maltroye is called for – full and rich with a finish that endlessly unrolls like the red carpet at a Hollywood Premier. I was so enamored with the Vigne Blanche when I tasted it recently, I blurted out that if I were rich I would drink White Burgundy everyday. Pete immediately posted this to our Facebook page. I still feel that way. The Non-Vintage Lamiable Rose I drank for my birthday not too long ago could also be put into that “profound and sublime” category. Knowing there are only a few bottles left in stock made it all the more precious. But then there are times when you need a wine that is all together something else. I’m talking about a wine that is hearty, simple and honest. A true “country” wine like the 2007 Tradicional from Quinta do Alqueve. It is belly warming, taste bud tingling, food-friendly goodness.

pauloOwned and run by the Saturnino Cunha family, Quinta do Alqueve has 36 hectares of vineyards planted in the appellation of Tejo about an hour north of Lisbon. The grapes that go into this solid red are Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeira and Periquita. All hand-harvested, the wine is aged in French oak for 9 months after fermentation. Though still wines from Portugal are growing in favor, in particular the easy-going Vinho Verde, Port continues to dominate the wine drinker’s consciousness. I doubt this will change anytime soon given the centuries-old history of the Port wine trade. Chipping away at this will be forward thinking Portuguese wineries like Quinta do Alqueve who are dedicated to making fine, quality wines at affordable prices. Quinta do Alqueve happens to make a sensational white as well from Fernao Pires. Quite truthfully, the popularity of the Fernao Pires with our staff and customers has in the past overshadowed the Tradicional. However with the recent arrival of the 2007 Tradicional, I think this will change. The 2007 Tradicional is that perfect combination of ripe red fruit, tangy acidity and gravelly texture. You don’t need to decant it nor do you need to dig out those expensive Riedel glasses…in a pinch a glass tumbler will suffice.

stuffed peppers in a red dish

three stuffed peppers in a red dish

My summer of stuffed squash veered off course a bit this week. A short trip up to the Russian River brought with it a delectable dish of stuffed bell peppers that my mom pulled together from leftovers and goodness knows what as only she can do, oh so effortlessly. My mother is the one-pot Master Chef. I pulled out the 2007 Tradicional and poured a round using our dacha’s mismatched wine goblets collected over the years from wine festivals and winery events. Now don’t get me wrong, I love White Burgundy and I am not against going to some swanky Michelin-starred restaurant, but at that moment I could not imagine anything tastier than Mama’s stuffed peppers and the rough-n-tumble 2007 Tradicional. A profound and sublime pairing.- Anya Balistreri


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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Portugal

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