The 2009 Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita (translates to parakeet) is 79% Castelao, 10.5% Trincadeira and 10.5% Aragonez sourced from Estate vineyards on the Peninsula de Setubal in the Terras do Sado grape growing region in Southwest Portugal. Jose Maria da Fonseca is the oldest winery in Portugal, it has been owned by the same family for almost 200 years and Periquita was first bottled in 1850. The vineyard soil conditions are little different from usual, 95% of the soil is sand with 5% clay to hold things together. The Castelao grape is indigenous to Southern Portugal and is so tied to the Periquita brand that the names are almost synonymous. Trincadeira is one of the oldest and most planted grapes in Portugal and is usually used in the production of Port. Aragonez is known as Tempranillo in Spain. The Periquita brand is the #1 exported wine from Portugal, Lancers Rose’ is #2. This wine is aged in new and used oak barrels for 5 months and the alcohol content is 13%. The wine lists for $9.99.
The color is a crimson red with black highlights. The nose is dark and rich, raspberry, blackberry, a touch of cinnamon spice, fudge and salty sea air. This is a fruit forward wine, but balanced with some decent length. It starts with ripe juicy plums, black Twizzlers, blackberry, a little curry spice and lemon zest. The mid palate adds strawberry with whipped cream and a touch of oak vanilla. The tannins are well controlled and the acidity is on the mild side. The finish is subtle, but lingers for awhile.
The Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita is a very easy to like wine, soft, flavorful and well-made. I know you may not be familiar with the grapes used, but the Periquita has a similar, but not the same feel as a California Zinfandel or a Washington Syrah. This is a wine that is in the comfort zone, but is not the same old thing. If you are a person who enjoys sampling the wines of South America because of the value and the quality they possess, you should consider adding Portugal to your list. Portugal isn’t a new winemaking destination that is just now coming into their own, it is a place with a long and unique winemaking history, that just happens to have the quality and the value to rival Chile and Argentina.
this bottle was received as a sample