Portuguese Sparrow Wines

By / Magazine / February 9th, 2011 / 2

Perched on the edge of a bird sanctuary like a robin on a bare branch (yes, they are back in Toronto), Herdade da Comporta has 12KM of unspoiled coastline, 2500 acres of rice fields, a turf farm, pine trees, marsh, and beehives, as well as 73 acres of vineyards (66 red, 7 white). Situated just south of Lisbon straddling the Alentejo and Setubal regions, the winery produces 200,000 bottles of very tasty vinhos. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I didn’t have to visit the estate to taste the wine. It came to Toronto via importer Daniel Santos of Tinto Wines.

The mid level offerings under the Herdade da Comporta label are delicious. The 2009 white, a combination of Arinto and Antão Vaz is a good expression of the grapes with its pineapple-floral nose, pale straw colour and tropical fruit and lemon flavours. Very clean and fresh. Grab some sushi or seafood… and why reach for Pinot Grigio when you can have something as tasty as this?

The 2007 Herdade da Comporta red, a blend of four indigenous grapes, has a strong ripe fruit nose, a deep cherry colour, a spiciness thanks to Trincadeira, and a soft acidity. Put it next to the cheese plate or pair it with anything you would use a shiraz for.

Parus, their premium wines, have a sparrow on the label (parus is Latin for sparrow). Pale gold 2009 Parus white is 100% Antão Vaz. Coastal weather ensures a balanced acidity in keeping with soft fruity flavours and aromas. Touch of sea salt on the long finish. Very elegant. Pass the seafood rice around.

Parus red, 80% Alicante Bouschet and 20% Touriga Nacional, is tall and elegant stork, I’d say. Deep burgundy with cherry edges, a soft fruit nose, ripe tannins and a full mouth feel make this one fly. Lovely long finish… please bring me a rare steak. 6800 bottles only.

Contact Tinto Wines for availability.



Brenda McMillan is thrilled by new sights, sounds, aromas and flavours, and old buildings, barrels and friends. She travels at the drop of a corkscrew and is always "just back" from somewhere.

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