The other day, I met up with a wine importer from Bliss Wine Imports at the famous Hotel Del Coronado. She introduced me to the winemakers of Quinta da Zaralhoa who had traveled all the way from Portugal with their 3-year-old daughter. They were visiting San Diego, promoting their latest bottled creations. I had one sip of their wine and was completely blown away. I had to bring them back to my house for dinner. Some kids bring home puppies; I bring home winemakers.
The Quinta da Zaralhoa Colheita 2010 is a strong red wine. Bold and beautiful. Spicy at the end with a hint of chocolate. I immediately thought of my mother’s tamales. She had just visited me, and being the awesome, amazing Mexican mom she is, she left me some beef tamales. A delicious red wine and my mom’s tamales… someone hand me a sombrero! It was a big fiesta in my mouth.
I also made Mexican carnitas – pulled pork that was simmering for hours and hours. Imagine the smell at my house. I’m surprised my neighbors didn’t come knocking down my door. The meat was so tender that it was begging to be eaten and slowly. And I mean S L O W L Y…. In Europe, you take your time to eat. A meal may last 2 hours, sometimes longer. The food and wine are as delicious as the conversation.
Quinta da Zaralhoa Reserva was the perfect match for my carnitas. It is what red wine dreams are made of. Full bodied, plum, and, as time passed, more aromas came out. The flavors develop as you let it breathe, said Luis Cruz, the winemaker of Quinta da Zaralhoa. Give it an hour, and you will smell chocolate and some wonderful spice that you would not have smelled even 15 minutes before.
In typical Mama Maggie fashion, there was even more food. I also made a grilled flank steak and homemade salsa. The flank steak seasoning was simple – cumin, oregano, chili powder, etc. etc. – but with the Quinta da Zaralhoa Reserva, it was “out of this Mexican-Portuguese world”. Think something low and slowly cooked like short ribs or a roast when pairing this wine.
Luis and his wife, Ana, were nice enough to leave me this wine, Quinta da Zaralhoa Rose 2012. Aromatic and light with good acidity. A brilliant, pretty-in-pink hue. A dry rose like this pairs perfectly with shrimp or sushi.
The Quinta da Zaralhoa vineyard is located in the famous Douro region of Portugal. You might think sweet port wine when you think of Portugal, but the region also produces other varietals. Tinta Roriz, for example, is the Portuguese equivalent to Spanish tempranillo. This grape as well as others are grown on the 1930-1940s estate where the winemaker’s parents live. It’s a family affair of wine, family, and passion.
If you want to try these wines contact the importers at info@blisswineimports