Guest Blogger: Yumilka Pamela Ortiz
Portugal day is sailing back from the shadows of the past to the Ironbound district with the mission and focus to resuscitate a weekend filled with mouth-watering food, music, ambiance, and Euro Cup matches. The beloved feast of the Luso-Americans commemorating Portugal’s National day, poet Luís de Camões, and Portuguese communities is Ironbound’s staple tradition worth to experience (at least for the food alone). Once arriving to Ferry Street one becomes hypnotized by the smoky haze of grilled sardines, piled up and served in platters with a cornbread slice named Broa…then you’re induced with the nuance of the grilled pork legs called Febras cuddled in the fluffy-warm-dough of Portuguese roll…indeed, these dishes are a voyage of flavors made by the simplicity of its taste – highlighting Portugal’s regional foods and feeling a bit more royal than the meal selection at Medieval times. It is my honor, duty, and pride to show reverence for the Portuguese community on their day, as a resident of the area for over 19 years.
Allow me to command your expedition into the Portugal’s wine regions and varietals. So, just like the iconic literary figure Camões who wrote Os Lusíadas – Portugal’s epic poem depicting the country’s achievements and patriotism, I proclaim Portugal’s alluring wine country as a testimony of such hindered treasure by hand picking 4 wines for the value under $10. Let’s not be fooled by the price. Although inexpensive, the quality of the grape varietals are savory and noble – extracted from regions in where winemakers sign a contract with God’s given nature by investing their hard effort, blood, sweat, and tears in order to present a humble product to the rest of the world…in my honest opinion, that’s a high five and an “Obrigado”!
Paulo Laureano’s Clássico 2010 (RED)
Grape: Aragonês, Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro
Notes: Ode to Mr. Laureano – a man with a charisma larger than his iconic mustache, who’s love and admiration for the terroir is purely transcended within each and one of his wines. An oenologist (in which I follow like a disciple) he delivers the synergy in a red that represents the Alentejo region at its best…this red has a mouth-feel deep intensity of dark fruits contrasted by a soft touch of spice, carrying a long finish…marries phenomenally well with pork-based dishes, sauteed vegetables in olive oil, and grilled meats – becoming a BBQ home runner!
Vinha da Defesa Rosé 2010 (ROSÉ)
Grape: Syrah, Aragonês
Notes: A rosé that shows body with an expressive nuance of red berry flavors and a mixture of blending an international varietal like the syrah with a Portuguese grape like Aragonês – displaying a modern winemaking style in Alentejo region, is a fantastic rosé good enough to be enjoyed “sozinho” (alone) or paired with Asian dishes- from sushi to even curry-based recipes, poultry, or appetizers like hummus with pita! I call it “the United Nations of Rosé”!
Gazela NV (WHITE)
Grape: Loureiro, Pedernã, Trajadura, Azal
Region: Vinho Verde
Notes: If there was a wine fountain placed in the epicenter of Ironbound, the wine of choice for its price and quality would be Gazela. With fans (out numbering those of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo) who shamelessly admit to drink a vinho verde at that price because it just simply “bom” good– this thirst-quencher-fizzed white is light-bodied with a crisp and refreshing acidity, hugged by citrus notes and green apple – pairs perfect with green salads, seafood, and gazpacho – here’s your Portuguese lemonade for the summer!
Offley White Port NV
Grape: Malvasia Fina, Códega, Viosinho, and Gouveio
Notes: Red port – fantastic, But we are too familiarized with it! White port wine means Geek’s galore! a discovery worth to be recognized as if proving that mother Earth was round during the times in which it was believed to be flat; and if Willie Wonka was a winemaker this would be his first invention…YES! Port wine is also produced with a white varietal! This wine in particular, stands out for its intense floral fragrance draped in a delicate yellow-straw shade color with a creamy and elegant finish. A perky dessert wine that goes well with custard-based dessert, trail mix, and pineapple gelato!
* Wine & Photo Location provided by the courtesy of Lisbon Wines and Liquors.