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2012 Mar de Lisboa 

Lisboa, Portugal

Retail $10-$13

Portugal has more than 130 native grape varietals, but the country is known primarily for fortified port wine and light and slightly fizzy vinho verde. But there is much to explore and enjoy, including this red blend from the Lisboa region (formerly the Estremadura appellation). Fruit was sourced from the Quinta de Chocapalha estate, owned since the 1980s by Alice and Paulo Tavares da Silva, who improved farming techniques and built a modern winery. Its more than 111 acres of vineyards are influenced by morning fog from the ocean, sunny afternoons and cool evening breezes, allowing grapes to retain acidity to balance high tannins. In the cellar, destemmed fruit was macerated at low temperatures and then fermented in stainless steel tanks for 12 days. The blend is 47 percent tinta roriz (tempranillo), 26 percent touriga nacional (Portugal's response to cabernet sauvignon), 22 percent touriga Franca (primarily a blending grape) and 5 percent syrah, and it aged in 50 percent used French oak barriques for six months. It offers aromas of black cherry and blackberry with notes of leather, cedar and clove. On the palate, taste ripe plum, cassis, currants, mocha and spice notes. Drink it with beef stew, moussaka, red beans with sausage, pasta with basil pesto and firm cheeses. Buy it at: Pearl Wine Company and The Wine Seller. Drink it at: Dante's Kitchen and The Delachaise.

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