d’Arenberg The Sticks and Stones Tempranillo Grenache Souzao Tinta Cao 2011

This wine from d’Arenberg is a blend of tempranillo (60%), grenache (25%), souzao (13%) and tinta cao (2%).  So, principally, a Rioja blend in style.  But what are these last two varieties?  Though I vaguely recalled the latter from studies as a Port grape, the label had me scurrying to the Oxford Companion.  It turns out both are Port grape varieties.  Souzao is a red grape variety widely planted in northern Portugal, and high in acid and colour.  Tinta Cao is one of the “big 5” Port grape varieties and although not deeply coloured, is highly regarded for its quality.

The result of these slightly unlikely blending partners is really rather effective.  The 2011 vintage tasted here has aromatics of leather, game, bacon fat and tar.  The palate is moreish with mid range length and tarry flavours.  I can see the considerable potential here even in the weaker vintage of 2011.  The wine shows its best with a good decant.  Good

Abv: 14.4%, Price: $29, Source: sample, Vendors and website: http://www.darenberg.com.au, Tasted: 2015

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