Just south of the Dão wine region in Portugal you’ll find the Beira Interior Region. At best at the LCBO Vintages releases might feature a handful of wines from this region each year. Pity.
The Quinta dos Termos is from the Beira Interior and is a blend of the usual Portuguese grape suspects namely Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Tinta Roriz and Jaen. While you often see Jaen in Dão red blends you will not see it in Douro blends. It has good colour but is low in acidity and tannins. It is believed it is the same gape as Mencía in Spain.
Its nose is brimming with red cherry, red currants and milk chocolate. It reminds one of a Merlot from Washington State. On the palate it has moderate tannins and the cheerful cherry transcends into the palate with some home-made strawberry jam bouncing about on the finish. And it digs deeply and forcefully with a hint of pepper.
The wine is a great sipping wine and would pair well with pesto coated lamb or shrimp and okra Gumbo. An outstanding example how acids and tannins can merge and create a top rate wine at a head scratching low price. At this price Merlot lovers ditch American Merlot and give this beauty from Beira Interior a whirl. It will only improve with a couple of years of ageing and can happily rest until 2025.
(Quinta dos Termos 2017, Beira Interior DOC, Quinta dos Termos, Belmonte, Portugal, $13.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario #14550, 750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 94/100).