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WINE & SPIRITS REVIEWS 

Portughese Colares:

 

Pronounced “Cool-arsh”, it’s been called one of the great wines of the old world. The Ramisco Grape is grown on dunes of sandy soil all located within a few miles of the vast Atlantic Ocean. This unique and challenging terroir , along with the salty winds, lend themselves to the creation of these little-known gems from Portugal. 

Made the same way, by many of the families since the mid-1800s, this classically dry red with smart, grippy tannins and a refreshing brightness are a perfect match to grilled meats and tangy, herb-laden salads.  It’s nose is deep and mystical. Is that tar and over-ripe purple plums on my palette?  The fine saline finish stays with you, on and on.  These are a rarity even in better wine stores. But, are worth grabbing if you see one. 

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Traditional 500ml Bottles 

The Colares region also produces a white or "branco" varietal.  A delicate skinned mid-to-late ripening grape, Malvasia de Colares boasts full-bodied, big floral and tropical fruit flavors meshed with herbal and mineral notes.  Further, since the wine is aged in large open oak vats, it has an oxidative quality to it.  For or a white wine, it's big, funky and delicious!  

The westernmost European wine region, Colares is located in the Sintra-Cascais natural park, just about 40km north of Lisbon.  The growing climate is heavily influenced by the Atlantic: cooler temperatures, strong winds and an evening fog that blankets the vineyards.  Left untrained, the typical Ramisco and Malvasis vines twist through the sand and lay close to the ground.  The heat from the sand ensures optimal ripeness.  To protect the vines from sun damage, they are covered in straw later in the season.  This extra effort, on top of the already intensive labor of farming wine grapes, means Colares is hard to produce.  As  result, the amount of traditional Colares wines produced has been declining in recent decades.  However, the prize is worth the hunt!

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Colares Vineyard