Tonight, I was grilling lamb. Lamb rubbed with cumin and paprika, alongside a broad bean salad with coriander, garlic and, yes, more cumin.
So that called for a red wine, and one that would stand up to the Moorish spices and charred intensity. I picked a Portugese red from the region of Alentejo, in which (according to Hugh Johnson) ‘A reliably dry climate makes rich, ripe reds’.
This is a good wine.
There’s a nice balance between savoury and sweet. On its own (I taste wines first without food, then with), its complexity is obvious. It’s not a glug-before-dinner wine. There’s a fair bit of tannin there, which makes it a chewable mouthful.
Very first impression (microseconds) is ever so slightly empty. But then there’s an explosion of flavour. Which almost makes that initial first-sip emptiness a virtue. From there on, no emptiness whatsoever.
Flavours are cherry (cherry stones particularly), but of the deep, ripe variety; not firm and ruby, but crushed, dark and bleeding. The savoury tannins entirely keep the fruit in check (which could otherwise be sickly) — balance is excellent.
Add food (and mine was very nice, thank you) and the benefits of those tannins become even clearer. Ever drunk a fruity wine with food and been confronted with a sudden almost cloying sweetness? That was probably thanks to the lack of tannins.
Loios won’t do that to you. No indeed. Without ever becoming exactly soft, the wine mellows and broadens. Juicy. If I do say so, this turned out to be a perfect match for my lamb, and stood up brilliantly to the paprika and cumin.
This is a very good wine. It’s serious, and you’d want to pay it attention, not gulp it mindlessly. Most people will want to drink it with food. To be sure of getting a French red of this quality, you’d have to spend a good whack more.
£7.25 is an excellent price, and I’d buy this again. Dinner party calibre, certainly.
Price £7.25 from the Wine Society