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muralThe land best known for its Port makes red wine as rugged as the slopes on which their vineyards sit. They typically deliver big flavors and firm structure at a modest price but they aren’t for the “soft and smooth” crowd. Most are blends dominated by the robustly tannic Touriga Nacional. But this wine is a bit different being a blend of 40% Touriga Franca, 40% Tinta Roriz (known as Tempranillo in Spain) and only 20% Touriga Nacional. It’s still well structured but the tannins have softened, especially now that it’s 6 years from its vintage date and it doesn’t quite have the midpalate heft and concentration of many Portuguese reds.

It is nevertheless a good value  as it delivers a seriously strange evolution.

The nose of roasted meat, earth, and saddle leather surrounding a core of dark berry is stunning. But in the mouth the full, structured fruit flattens out midpalate acquiring a metallic tone and a bit of severity, with powdery tannins lingering as the textured, prickly finish slowly fades in a cloud of dust. This is an odd trajectory starting round and full but hollowing out and then becoming exceedingly long and granular.

It’s good, cheap and weird. Points for originality.

25% of the wine saw used French oak for 9 months.

Works well with some dirty synth layered over a repetitive pulsing beat.

Score: 88

Price: $10

Alc: 14%

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