Portuguese reds are still a bit of an anomaly, at least in this market (the Midwest). Yet while the majority of them are robust, delicious blends of grapes like Tinto Roriz, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, as is the Prazo de Roriz 2004, many of them are expensive, and therefore, not easily viable to sell. However, unlike many Portuguese reds, the Prazo de Roriz 2004 is very affordable.
What strikes me funny, in relation to the 89 project is that this wine, with a novella for tasting notes present, is the score Parker gave it: 89 points. The first sentence of the review sets the tone for the critique: “The 2004 Prazo de Roriz provides tons of value for the money, and is one of the fine deals in this report.” So what holds it back from a 90?
Because as my favorite reviewer, Dr. Jay Miller, who handles the Portugal beat for Parker, declares at almost the very end of the review: “The only criticism here is that this is a wine to drink young, and it has little upside in the cellar, which usually constrains my scoring.”
Amazing. How many consumers buy a wine based upon cellar potential? When most wine is meant to drink within the first year it was made? And this is a 2004, when many Spanish counterparts are on 2006. I am confused.
Personally, I find this wine to be an incredible drink for under $15. It has resounding fresh red fruit flavors, with delicious spice undertones, and a vibrancy throughout that I find missing in a lot of red wines. I would argue that many would confuse this with a California Zinfandel, but that there is a really much more going on than brambly jamminess equated with many Zins. This wine is very balanced, and extremely well-made.
The round-up of scores for this beauty are Wine Spectator, 90 points (they obviously felt it worthy of that 1 extra point), Stephen Tanzer, 88 points, Wine Enthusiast, 89 points, and Wine & Spirits, 86 points. And within all those reviews, not one thing derogatory mentioned about the wine. Take away the points, and all are fairly glowing criticisms.
So the only thing bad about this wine is it’s a “drink now” wine. Hmm. As a wine consumer, I would find that hard to perceive as a bad thing when I am probably taking it home to drink tonight. But that's just me.
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