Unexpected wine scents: Petrol


If there’s anything that makes people wonder about wine geeks, it’s our mysterious ability to detect things like tar, smoke, butter, caramel, bananas, geraniums, and even a whiff of the barnyard wafting from our glass.

But gasoline, diesel, or even petrol when we’re trying to tastefully emulate our British cousins? In wine? This is a step too far for many people.

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Ramos Pinto 2014 “Duas Quintas” Douro

Duas Quintas

This wine’s name, Duas Quintas (“Two Vineyards”), refers to the sources of its grapes, the Quinta de Ervamoira vineyard on the Douro Valley’s hot, dry lower slopes, and the cooler, breezy Quinta dos Bons Ares vineyard high up the mountainside. A blend of the Port varieties Tinta Barroca (40%), Touriga Franca (30%), Touriga Nacional (20%), and Tinta Roriz (10%), this is a clear but dark reddish-purple wine, showing ruby glints against the light. Its pleasant aroma of fresh but not overbearing fruit is focused on blackberries and black plums with a faint background whiff of spice. Clean, fresh and rather full-bodied black-fruit flavors carry over on the palate, shaped by brisk acidity, with tannic astringency present but palatable. The label claims 13.5% alcohol, standard strength for a red table wine.

Check prices and find vendors for Ramos Pinto “Duas Quintas” Douro on Wine-Searcher.com.

Click this link to find lots more Douro reds and vendors under $10 on Wine-Searcher.com. Read article.

Dow 2014 “Vale do Bomfim” Douro

Vale do Bomfim

Made from traditional Port grapes, Tinta Barroca (30%), Touriga Nacional (25%), Touriga Franca (25%), Tinta Roriz (15%), and Tinto Cão (5%), this wine from the Symington family’s historic Dow Port house is dark garnet in color almost all the way to the edge. It seems closed at first, showing simple black fruit, but opens up a bit with time in the glass to reveal notes of something like cranberries and a whiff of licorice. Black fruit and licorice show on the palate in a ripe flavor built on a sturdy structure of tart acidity and firm, astringent tannins. Although 14.5% alcohol is claimed, I don’t detect the bite of heat that sometimes comes with higher-alcohol wines.

Check prices and locate vendors for Dow’s “Vale Do Bomfim” Douro on Wine-Searcher.com.

Want to find more Douro reds under $10? Check this link on Wine-Searcher.com. Read article.

Leacock’s “Rainwater” Medium Dry Madeira

Leacock's "Rainwater" Madeira

Pretty, bright and clear reddish-gold color, somewhere on the spectrum between copper and bronze. Delicious characteristic Madeira aroma, walnuts and a whiff of lemon that carry over on the palate with a back note of something intriguingly akin to dark chocolate. Good acidity to give structure, balancing a distinct note of fresh-fruit sweetness, and there’s a bit of warmth on the back of the palate from 18% alcohol. Walnuts and mouth-watering citrus lingering in a very long finish.

Check prices and find vendors for Leacock’s “Rainwater” Medium Dry Madeira on Wine-Searcher.com.

Check this Wine-Searcher.com list for a broad selection of Madeira in many price ranges, with links to find online vendors around the world. Read article.