I have never been a great lover of Merlot – there I’ve said it. I can hear wine connoisseurs all over the shriek in dismay! I am aware that Merlot is one of the most popular red wines on the market; and is the third most-planted grape variety in Australia after being beaten by Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon; but the bold notes and dark, plummy characters just don’t really do it for me. Funnily enough I love Merlot blends – go figure!
Anyway, why am I ranting on about my slight dislike of Merlot??? It’s because I may have become a convert – maybe. I was over at a friend’s house last night and he opened a bottle of Taltarni Merlot 2004. I’m not sure if it was because it paired so well with the meal he had prepared (which was a Prosciutto wrapped roast chicken stuffed with goat’s cheese) but I actually enjoyed it; I dare say, it was the best Merlot I have ever tried (which was obvious by the 3 glasses I had!)
I believe Taltarni’s vineyard is located in the Victorian Pyrenees wine region which is known for producing fantastic red wines, but I had no idea how much I was missing out on! There is a slight blend of Cabernet Sauvignon to this Merlot, but only 9 percent so I would say it was definitely the Merlot grape variety I was enjoying. Slightly lighter in colour than many Merlot’s I have previously tried, with soft, oakey-flavours and ripe tannins, which complimented the fruit-based palate delightfully. The flavours paired with the prosciutto and chicken amazingly and left a very subtle after taste of mocha.
This specific Taltarni red was aged in barrels for 4 years (must be where the oak-flavours come from) and has aged, like an old Katherine Hepburn, gracefully. I was absolutely gob-smacked at the pleasantness I received from this bottle of Merlot and while I would not say I’m reformed, I would definitely drink this Merlot again.
The origins of Portuguese wine date back to 2000 BC when vines were planted in the Tagus and Sado Valleys. During this phase, Portuguese wines mainly came from the Southern Coastal regions of the country. Later down the track, ancient civilizations such as the Romans spread the vineyards to the Northern parts of the Portugal. Portugal began exporting its wines to Rome.; and then eventually to England after 1703. The Methuen Treaty made Portuguese wines preferable in the British wine market over French wines.
In 1756, wine varietal, Port, became all the trend, and Sebastiao Jose Carvalho e Melo established boundaries and regulations for the production of Port in Douro. Since then, Portugal has been known as one of the greatest producers of Port in the world.
Centuries later, once Portugal had joined the European Union, the motionless wine industry was revived once again in the form of grants and other financing.
That’s all for now folks, that is my very summarised version of the history of wine from my great homeland, Portugal. Hope you learnt something!
Hello everyone out in the blogosphere! I’ll give you a bit of background. My name is Rob (Roberto) and I was born in Portugal – hence the name of the website; don’t be fooled though, I’ll be discussing a variety of wine-related topics and wines from all over the world! I am 28 years old and consider myself a major wino. I love drinking it, I love talking about, I love writing about it. I consider myself to be more in the know than the average wine drinker, but am in no way a connoisseur (yet!) I have attended wine events, done numerous courses and have made wine my greatest passion. I don’t know everything about wine and I don’t pretend to; I simply enjoy wine and the industry. I hope you all enjoy my posts, feel free to leave comments, as long as they are complimentary (just kidding!)