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Paulo Da Silva, “Casal da Azenha” TintoVinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal 2015 (750mL)

From the Wine Shop

Paulo Da Silva, “Casal da Azenha” Tinto Vinho Regional Lisboa, Portugal 2015 (750mL)

“The coastal vineyards southwest of Lisbon have almost all been displaced by beachfront development, but the small number that remain deliver some of the most fascinating wines you’ll ever taste. Given this wine’s extreme rarity and stunning quality, I would have expected it to cost far more!”

The wine appellations along Portugal’s Atlantic Coast near Lisbon are some of the country’s (and the world’s) most historic, but beachfront development has mostly displaced viticulture in places such as Carcavelos, Bucelas and, most famously, Colares, where vineyards grow wild on the beach, willing their way down through layers of sand to burrow into the clay underneath. This wine offers us a chance to experience this extreme terroir, and its trove of native grapes, thanks to 93-year-old António Bernardino Paulo da Silva, who continues a family winemaking tradition that dates back to 1898. While other Portuguese wine firms look for large tracts of land to plant more-mainstream varieties like Touriga Nacional (along with “internationals” like Syrah), Paulo da Silva continues to contract with a wide array of tiny local farmers growing grapes most people have never heard of. Known locally as the “baby Colares,” this cork-labeled 2015 contains a prominent percentage of Ramisco, the chief red grape of Colares (and the only one with some international notoriety), along with other local cultivars such as Castelão Nacional, Trincadeira, and Tinta Miuda, grown in other Lisbon-area coastal sites. That’s a lot of information to take in, but the most important piece is this: The wine is fantastic, calling to mind some of the great reds of Barolo and Burgundy. 

There is a saline quality—not surprising, given the ocean-adjacent vineyards—that sets this 2015 apart. It is robust without being heavy or sappy, with quite-modest alcohol and bright, refreshing acidity. It shines a deep garnet-red in the glass, sending up a complex bouquet of flowers, fruits, herbs, and spices: black cherry, pomegranate, black plum, graphite, leather, dusty gravel, bay and sage leaves, and violets. It is medium-bodied, with some firm tannins and a hint of sea salt and smoke on the finish, immensely satisfying and gutsy and perfect for beachside grilling (or any other kind of grilling). Burgers, sausages, or a traditional Lisbon-style prego (steak sandwich) would all be fantastic—keep it nice and cool, 60 degrees, and make sure you have enough on hand for repeat performances. This isn’t just delicious red wine, it’s a conversation piece!

  • CountryPortugal
  • RegionLisbon
  • Sub-RegionColares
  • SoilSand Over Clay
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendRamisco w/ Castelão Nacional, Trincadeira, Tinta Miuda
  • Alcohol13.5%
  • OakNeutral Barrels
  • Temp.Serve at 55-60° F
  • GlasswareBurgundy Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2025
  • Decanting15 Minutes
  • PairingPrego Roll

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