The Confidencial Reserva Tinto 2014 is a blend of more than 10 grape varietals farmed in Casa Santos Lima estate vineyards in the Lisboa growing region north and west of Lisbon in Portugal. What is confidencial about this wine is the grapes used. Many of the grapes grown in Portugal are indigenous to the region and have local names and even the grapes that are familiar varieties grown in other countries have Portuguese names, so unless you are familiar with the wines of Portugal you may not recognize the names. It’s Tinto this and Touriga that. Wine blends do not typically have 10 or more grapes in the blend, the famous Bordeaux blend uses 6 grapes and only actually incorporates 4 grapes on a regular basis. Getting 10+ grapes to play well together is a pretty solid show of skill by the winemaker, though I suspect the most of the grapes are used in small quantities, just a 1% or 2% of the total. There are over 250 local, indigenous grapes grown in Portugal. Casa Santos Lima is a family owned wine estate that has holdings in several growing areas of Portugal and they export 90% of their production. The wine was aged in Bordeaux style French and Portuguese oak barrels for 6 months. (Note) there is a Confidencial Tinto–4 months in oak and a Confidencial Reserva Tinto–6 months in oak, both should be found for ten bucks or under. Since the barrel aging only lasted 6 months and the 2014 seems to be the current vintage, it took several years of bottle aging for this blend to come together. This is an $8 to $10 wine and the 2013 vintage received 92 points from Wine Enthusiast magazine, the alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color a deep, dark black cherry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is bright ripe fruit, toasty vanilla, hints of baking spice, and a whiff of BBQ smoke. This is smooth, full-bodied wine, with complex flavors popping up around the edges. It starts with plums and black cherry, tea, and a little Dr. Pepper. The mid-palate shows chocolate powder, vanilla, tart cranberry, and spice. This is a smooth, very sippable wine with a good deal of well-balanced flavor. The tannins are sleek and smooth and the acidity is in the pocket. The finish hangs around for a very long time.
The Confidencial Reserva Tinto 2014 is a highly drinkable Red blend, some Portuguese Red wines can be a little heavy on the tannins, but the Confidencial sips great. I found this wine on sale for $8.99 and anywhere near that price is a steal. There is a smoothness to this blend that allows it to be easy to drink and a complexity that makes it fun to drink. The Confidencial Reserva Tinto 2014 is an excellent entry point to Portuguese wine, even if you don’t know exactly what it is that you are drinking.