I was recently attending a dinner with Winemaker Jose Luis Moreira da Silva of Quinta dos Murças Wines. The DOC of Douro in Portugal is absolutely gorgeous and it’s a dream of mine to actually visit. Until then, it’s always wonderful when winemakers come to town and allow me to taste their amazing wines with them.
Jose Luis, a Porto native joined Quinta dos Murças in 2015 and began working with a French group to map the soils of the estate. This project led to the discovery that there are 8 unique terroirs within the Quinta’s 50. As a result, Jose Luis has created three new wines to highlight the unique attributes of each vineyard: Minas, from vines planted on exposed, south-facing slopes with nearby cool springs; Margem, from vines located on the edge, or “margin,” of the reflective Douro River; and VV47, created to showcase the first vertical vines planted at the estate, as well as the entire Douro region, in 1947.
Jose is charming and passionate, and having the opportunity to taste his wines and meet him at the delicious dining spot that is Lupulo. We started off with some very special barrel samples of Assobio White 2016 as well as the Assobio Rosé 2016, which paired beautifully with the Bacalhau Croquettes: an appetizer of Salt cod bolinhos served with piri piri mayo. The white is pale lemon in color and full of passionfruit and honeydew flavors. It’s quite mineral driven and crisp, with a lovely long finish that pairs beautifully with seafood. The rosé is a perfect picnic wine and is light salmon pink boasting with aromas of raspberry, strawberry, and herbal notes. This vibrant wine is perfect for a picnic on a gorgeous spring day, paired with some smoked cheeses, charcuterie, and fruit.
The main course of Creekstone Farms Skirt Steak Assado: 10oz, stewed white button mushrooms, sofrito, parsnips and red wine called for some wonderful Portuguese reds. The Murças Minas is comprised of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinto Cão grape varietals. This wine is made from Hand-picked grapes and vinified in traditional granite lagares. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts and aged in concrete vats and French oak casks for 9 months. The concentrated red fruit aromas and ripe tannins with well integrated acidity in this wine pair beautifully with red meats and spices; hence my choice of Steak Assado. Alongside the Minas was also another wonderful red blend. The Murças Margem, which is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. This wine is deep with violet hues and expresses dark berry fruits, mature tannins, and a lot of personality. I especially loved this pairing with the steak and mushrooms, which complimented the rich berry aromas and flavors in the wine. Overall both wines were a wonderful pairing with my medium rare steak.
For dessert, we enjoyed Port with delicious Pastéis De Nata, which are Portuguese egg custard tarts. The sweet and creamy tarts are the perfect ending to a delectable meal with wine pairings. If you’re in the mood for some outstanding Douro wines at very approachable prices, I highly recommend buying some Quinta dos Murças wines; you will not be disappointed.
Always remember, eat what you like and drink what you love… please pair responsibly!