2008 Tamas Estates Barbera Port

Harmony in Port

Sometimes we arrive at the best stuff in the world when we mix'n'match, so to speak.

I’m a combination of ancestors from Portugal, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, England, and maybe even a couple other countries. I’m also completely Californian and American, having been born here, and, frankly, by choosing to embrace these places.

This port-style wine from Livermore Valley’s Tamas Estates is a similar thing. Mixed and matched, with influences both from the heredity of its grapes, and from the location of its birth.

First, some vitals: The wine is mostly barbera (92%, to be exact), but also, and significantly, what isn’t made up of this Italian stalwart is touriga nacional, perhaps Portugal’s finest vitis vinifera. It is 19% ABV, so while not quite as alcoholic as Steven Kent’s Cab Sauv Port, it doesn’t skimp in this regard.

The wine also feels entirely Californian. Some may say this is to the juice’s detriment; however I doubt those people read this blog.

On the nose is an enticing mix of chocolate, cinnamon, and mint. The alcohol scent is sweet and not off-putting. The cinnamon and mint are mellow, while the chocolate note is brash and bold. The port is clean and biting in the mouth, smooth and sweet, and the overriding flavors are mint and spices. The alcohol comes through (how could it not) but is not overwhelming to the other notes and doesn’t kill the whole experience.

A wine to be enjoyed in very small doses. But a wine to be enjoyed, for certain.

Verdict: 88/100

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