It wasn’t a perfect wine (if such a thing exists), but it was pretty perfect for that Saturday night, which happened to be Open that Bottle Night. I was pretty confident that the 1994 Casa Ferreirinha Reserva, a pretty traditional blend of portuguese red varieties (see previous post for details), would have good things to offer, but I was impressed that it was still bold and intense enough to match a tasty, homemade pizza.
The color hinted that, at over 16 years of age, the wine still had a lot to say: rich garnet, barely hinting at orange on the edges. Aromatically speaking, it did show up as a mature bottle: mushrooms, tobacco, plums and raisins, with fine, fine tannins rounding off the finish quite nicely. Yet there was still a nice bit of freshness in there, showing that this wine still had a lot to offer, demonstrating how table wines for the Douro – and not just ports – can age gracefully for a very long time.
The moderate alcohol, at around 12%, certainly helped make it elegant and easy to drink. However, it did not make it any less solid or intense, making it a very nice match for pizza with some cured sausage slices, mushrooms, peppers and herbs on a tasty homemade levain pizza dough. Another pizza, made with fresh tomatoes, parsley, goat cheese and arugula lettuce also went very well with the douro red.
You need a wine with a certain concentration and gumption to respond well to a dish where tomato sauce, cheese, spicy cured meats and herbs compete for attention. And in that respect, the Ferreirinha provided just what the dish needed. It was, as OTBN’s objectives state, the perfect kind of bottle to open on any given night, without any other reason than wanting to drink it. A reason that can be quite enough, in fact.