Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2007 Casa Santos Lima "Aibyria" Tinto Vinho Regional Estramadura Portugal

Casa Santos Lima "Aibyria" Tinto Vinho Regional Estramadura Portugal

Surely an interesting derivative of the word “Iberia” from a marketing genius or, who knows, may be (or surely?) it was how Iberian spelled “Iberia” in an ancient dialect? However, “Aibyria” definitely means “Iberia” judging by the label which indicates it with an ancient Iberian map; and it is a great name for this little, friendly Portuguese wine.

On the west end of Iberia, in Portugal, the Estremadura region, stretching along the Atlantic coast and the Tagus River (or Tejo in Portuguese), northwest above Lisbon (Lisboa), consists of south Leira, North Setúbal and most Lisboa districts; with obviously Lisbon has the province’s capital.

Many centuries ago, even before the Romans, the wines of the southwestern Iberian Peninsula (Iberia) had already good reputation. However, things slowly changed and over the last 50 years, Estramadura was better known to produce inexpensive, bulk wines from the few cooperatives exploiting most of the vineyards of the area.

The 90’s brought a renaissance to this beautiful region full of grain fields, orchards, and vineyards, along wide plains bordering the fertile and heavily wooded Tagus River valley.

On the west end of Iberia, on north of Lisboa, the vineyards of Casa Santos Lima spread throughout gentle slopes of clay-limestone soils. With good sun exposition and needed protection from maritime winds from nearby hills, this region offers excellent conditions for the production of quality wines.

Near the town of Torres Vedra, located roughly 40 kilometers north of Lisbon, Casa Santos Lima is a big winery covering about 280 ha, including 160 ha of vineyards with more than half of the vines planted since 1990. Their first bottling happened in 1996 and they are now producing more than 1 million bottles a year under a wide range of labels, including "Aibyria".

Made in a more modern, extracted style, with long maceration and some ageing in new barrels made mostly of Portuguese oak, the wines have still kept a touch of their Portuguese roots and sense of Terroir.

2007 Aibyria Tinto Vinho Regional Estramadura Portugal
Suggested retail price $9-$12
Imported by Vintage Trading LLC

2007 Aibyria Tinto is produced from the local grapes varieties: Tinta Roriz, Alicante Bouschet (or Bouchet), Castelao and Touriga Franca, through traditional fermentation methods, long maceration and 3-4 month of oak aging.

The resulting wine is clean, earthy, and somewhat rustic in a good way. Beside its deep ruby-garnet color, the nose offers notes of ripe dark and red brambly fruit with earthy, spicy notes and slight hints of oak. The palate is quite fleshy with good richness and structure. The medium-long, persistent and earthy finish is very enjoyable. Pair it with Mediterranean food and grilled Lamb chops.


LeDom du Vin

For more info about the winery go to

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