I recall purchasing a Trinco Bolotas red from the Alentejo region in Portugal a couple of years ago in a Porto supermarket on sale for about $6.00 Canadian. I took it home and kept it in the cellar for a few months to calm down its travel shock. And I purchased it here in Toronto recently at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario when I was returning a badly corked bottle of Greek Xinomavro. The Vintages rep was excited about its 97-point rating for the 2018 version in Decanter World Wine Awards. So I relented and picked up a bottle of the 2019 vintage.
I say relented as I was not impressed with whatever vintage I picked up in Porto and that is a hard pill to swallow considering Alicante Bouschet was part of the blend and that grape can work miracles in a blend! Well I suppose we should see if the rubber of the rating hits the reality of the tastebuds.
On the nose some black cherry, blueberry, pomegranate charcoal and cacao. On the palate junior tannins and well-matched acidity. It is rather a stern wine surprising considering the charm and seductiveness Alicante Bouschet often offers to a Alentejo wine. But in this firmness there is some black cherry, blackberry, coal, and juicy sweet cranberry.
I’ll have to take a break for a few minutes and say if you are a foodie the black pig of Alentejo should be on your bucket list. It is a dark skinned Iberian pig that is fattened on cork seeds and acorns giving it a unique taste or rather an unforgettably delicious taste and paired with a Alentejo wine with Alicante Bouschet mix you may feel what and why wine writers make food and wine pairings. I was introduced to this combo at a fabulous Relais & Châteaux in Guincho Beach called Fortaleza do Guincho which is an old Moorish fort overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with perhaps the most spectacular dining room in Europe with some of the best chefs in Europe. It is a short taxi or bus ride from Cascais It was here that I was introduced to the black pig of Alentejo with a sommelier picked wine from Alentejo with a grape which at that time was unknown to me….Alicante Bouschet. A quick lunch turned into a three hour stay including a tour of a very impressive wine cellar. Quite frankly as food memories go it fell into the “Portugal outdoes itself” and a memory I still hold dear. Thank you, Petra!
“Trinca Bolotas” means acorn eaters.
Now as I rate the wine I try and separate my memories with what is in the glass as cruel as that may be. It is a good wine and totally suited to food and particularly the black pig of Alentejo of which you will have to go to Portugal for. But as a substitute may I suggest a pork tenderloin roast which has been in a Dutch Oven generously bathed in some Late Bottled Vintage Port, scallions, dried Thai chili peppers, capers, Kalamata olives, celery, carrots and onions with finely chopped walnuts. You can thicken the sauce with corn-starch and water if you wish. Serve over basmati rice and blame me for this untried recipe. Better yet head to Fortaleza do Guincho and speak with Petra who can hopefully set you up with some black pig!
In addition to the Alicante Bouschet there is Touriga Nacional and Aragonez (Tempranillo).
(Herdade Peso Trinca Bolotas Tinto 2019, DOC Alentejo, Sogrape, Portugal, $16.95, LCBO # 431064. 750 mL, 14%, Robert K. Stephen A little birdie told me so rating 89/100).
A decent wine but I am no Luca Maroni as far as ratings go.