After my recent positive experiences at the Grand Portuguese Wine Tasting, I have bought several Portuguese wines. I have been willing to give them a try, to see what I might find.
This evening, with my dinner of veal chops, I opened a bottle of 2004 Casal Branco Terra de Lobos. The Quinta do Casal Branco Estate extends back to 1775. It is located on the left bank of the Tagus River in the Almeirim-Portugal, and has been owned by the same family for more than two centuries. Not only do they make wine, but they also raises horses.
Their vineyards were planted in what was until the 17th century one of the largest royal falcon hunting grounds in Portugal. Thus, some of their wines are called "Falcoaria" which is the Portuguese word for "falconry."
Their vineyards are predominantly planeted with indigenous varietals such as Fernão Pires, Trincadeira, Castelão, and Touriga Nacional. They do have some nonindigenous varietals as well including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Alicante and Syrah.
The 2004 Casal Branco Terra de Lobos ($10), from the Ribatejano region, is a blend of Castelão and Cabernet Sauvignon. It has an alcohol content of 13.5%. This wine is a light red color with a nose of violets. It has some cherry flavors as well a bit of spice. It is an easy drinking wine with a bit of tannins.
I enjoyed this wine but it did not impress me. After tasting so many other excellent Portuguese wines lately, including a number under $10, this wine just did not compete. As a $10 wine, it is good and is worth the price. But there are better Portuguese wines at this price.