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quinto de fafideIn wine and dating, first impressions can be misleading.

My first impression of this Portuguese blend was that it showed good aromatic intensity and depth. Black Cherry, raspberry, clove and cinnamon surrounded with a penumbra of dark toast were almost intoxicating—but the more I sniff the more I get blasts of tire rubber that come and go.

On the palate it’s full bodied and round up front and when the tannins emerge they are unexpectedly soft and fine-grained, almost cashmere like, which is unusual for Douro reds. But acidity becomes really prominent on the finish pushing the prominence of stony mineral notes just as the fruit power is dying. The final gasp is a disappointing mélange of powder and sour berry. The wine shows good tension from the persistent seam of acidity but its quite linear until the bottom drops out. Firmer tannins on the back end would have given the wine more balance.

The personality of this wine doesn’t come together. Its spicy and flavorful, soft and tender, but then turns irascible as the finish unfolds, like a person eager to charm but just too cynical to pull it off, an attitude captured well by Jenny Lewis on Red Bull and Hennessey.

The price is all over the map on this wine. At the average of $15 there are better options available. For the $23 I paid it’s not good value.

Technical Notes: A blend of Touriga Nacional (60%), Tinta Roriz/Tempranillo (25%) and Touriga Franca (15%), 12 months in new and used American oak barrels.

Score: 87

Price: $15 (ave.)

Alc: 14%