Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Washington Port takes on Portugal

There were four different pro cycling races going on this week.  Southern France?  Been there.  Northern Italy?  Done that.  Oman?  Are you serious?!  I don' t think there is much wine making going on there.  The process of elimination, and curiousity, leads me to Portugal.

The Volta Ao Algarve took place last week in the most Southern region of Portugal.  The 5 stage race was won by Richie Porte.  If you can't have a local win the race, you might as well have somebody with an appropriate name take the honors! 

The Lucha Vino challenge features a Washington Port Style Wine taking on a Port from the homeland - Portugal.

2010 Wilridge Estate Red Dessert Wine v. Quinta De La Rosa Finest Reserve NV Port

Tale of the Tape

Wilridge 2010 Estate Red Dessert Wine

Made from Touriga Nacional (53%), Tinta Roriz (18%), Tinta Cao (18%) and Souzao (11%) grapes all sourced from the Wilridge Estate Vineyard.

Aged for six months in barrel and then bottled to complete the aging process like a traditional vintage Porto.

Purchased at Bottle House (375 ml) for $19.99.

Quinta de La Rosa Finest Reserve NV Port

Made from traditional port varieties, mainly Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz.  Percentages are not published, perhaps this is a closely guarded family secret as this Quinta has been making Port since the 1800s!

Purchased at Esquin (750 ml) for $19.99

Round 1.  First Opening

These Luchadors are both burly showing plenty of power and stamina.  The rounds for this bout are going to be adjusted to account for their strength.  Round two will be one day after opening and round three will be two days after opening.

The Wilridge is ready for action showing a nose of creamy dark cherries and a palate of dark cherry, chocolate and menthol that lingers on to the finish.

Quinta de la Rosa struts into the ring with a take no prisoners attitude.  The nose is full of dark cherries, currant, cocoa and coffee.  The palate is rich with currants, menthol, cocoa and light spices.

The first round is action packed with the Quinta de la Rosa taking the points with a bold attack.

Round 2.  One day after Opening

Wilridge is pumping up, building character, with a nose of cherries, chocolate and spices.  The palate has dark cherry, menthol, eucalyptus and chocolate with a nice dry spicy finish.

Quinta is going toe to toe with Wilridge.  The nose continue to build with dark currant, cocoa, honey, butter scotch and caramel notes.  The palate has similar character with a spicy honey tinged finish.

Score another round for the Portuguese Punisher.  The Quinta de la Rosa built complexity on top of power to blast out to a 2-0 lead.

Round 3. Two days after Opening

The Wilridge is smooth and powerful while the Quinta de la Rosa has shown more pure strength.  How is this final round going to play out.

Wilridge is changing like a chameleon trying to find a strategy that will defeat the muscular opponent from Portugal.  The Wilridge is showing a nose of currant, black cherry and cedar spices.  The palate is equally bold with dark cherry, vanilla, cocoa and eucalyptus with a smooth chocolatey finish.

The Quinta de la Rosa isn't backing down.  The nose is dark fruits, cedar bark and hazel nut.  The palate is black cherry, tart honey and hazel nut with and nutty finish.

This round was another close one with both Ports growing and building character over all three rounds.  In the end the Real Deal from Portugal was too much for our Washington Luchador.

Wrap up and over all observations

These Luchadors both showed big character.  The Wilridge showed lots of dark cherry and asian spiced character that built over the rounds to include some notes of vanilla and cocoa.  The Quinta de la Rosa was bigger and badder dealing out some serious punishment featuring black cherry, dark currants and some hazel nut with many layers of complexity.

This was a great introduction to Port for me.  I'm not sure how to score these Ports since I don't have any other experience to compare against.  I'll just say they both should score in the high 80s with the Quinta de la Rosa out pointing the Wilridge by one or two.

Want to learn more about Port?  Check out 1 Wine Dude's video dropping serious Port knowledge.


  1. Thanks Luchavino! 2 years of Wilridge v. 200 plus years of Quinta de la Rosa? We are happy to get out of the ring alive!

    Did you mention that our Port-style wine is organic and biodynamic?

    We challenge the owners of any winery anywhere to a bicycle race anywhere, anytime (one male and one female winery owner). Bring it on!

    1. An interesting tasting well done Wilridge....but I am pleased that La Rosa seemingly out tasted you quite easily and also we are quite a bit cheaper! Happy to take on a bicycle challenge but it would have to be in Europe! Sophia Bergqvist, owner La Rosa - only making port since 1988!