Symington has been making killer authentic Port in Portugal for over a century, and this one of their entries in the new category of dry red table wines from that region. Since about 1995, Port makers have been adapting to changing tastes in the market – not by planting Cabernet like everybody and their uncle – but by creating their own style of table wine. They use the same grape varieties and vineyards that are used for Port, invested in brand-new equipment, and have created full-bodied wines that are friendly to the modern palate, yet distinctively Portuguese.
Tuella (2011) Douro, Portugal – $7
Aroma: spicy, oaky, and earthy – you can smell the Port heritage right away. There’s some dark plummy fruit underneath as well.
Taste: reminds me of an old-vine Zinfandel or a Grenache, with lots of spice, some chewiness in the mid-palate, and then a finish that’s long, but softer than you’d expect. The fruit is most noticeable on the back of your tongue, and it shares a lot of similarities with Ruby port in the flavor profile.
Highly recommended: this is a great way to experience a new wine region for under $10, and it will pair quite well with dry-rubbed barbeque, big grilled steaks, rich cheeses, shish kebab, or leg of lamb. I’ll be laying some of this down for grilling season, and I expect it to age well over the next 3-5 years.