2005 Barão do Sul Tinto

Península de Setúbal, Portugal
unknown varietal(s), 13% alc.
$5 at both the Oakland and Berkeley, CA stores

Other than Port, I am embarrassed to admit that I had never tasted a Portuguese red before; for $4 on sale, I was able to remedy that situation pretty painlessly. I was familiar with this region for their sweet fortified wines, the Moscatel de Setúbal, which are similar to the Boncaillou Muscat I reviewed earlier this month and can be very fine; in fact, perhaps embarrassingy for the French, a Portuguese Moscatel de Setúbal won the 2011 Muscats du Monde contest in France.

But I digress…on to the Tinto. Popped and poured, this wine was a very dark brick red with a big initial attack of farmyard funk in the nose followed by gamey, meaty and savory notes, with some fruit finally peeking out. The flavors on the palate were also savory, with some umami and cherry fruit, but this wine is very austere and a bit acidic. The body is surprisingly light given the color, and the tannins are very soft; I’m guessing it spent some time in an older barrel, as there is the vinuous quality I associate with wood aging but no overt oakiness. On the second day, the funk had blown off, and the nose was more restrained, but more fruit (raspberry/cherry) came through. The palate seemed to have deepened and smoothed out, with more fruit evident. I really enjoyed this wine with a cheese plate, which of course I also got at Gross Out: Huntsman (Double Gloucester layered with Stilton) and Rougette (a Bavarian red brie), both excellent. The Barão is a definite repeat buy for me and should be tried by fans of European wines with flavors and textures different from your typical California fruit bomb.

Update 3/16: Today it was all gone at the Oakland store, but there’s still a couple of cases at the Berkeley store.


15 thoughts on “2005 Barão do Sul Tinto

  1. ranger andy

    Just got a bottle in Merced today. Didn’t love it over dinner, but I’ll seal it up and refrigerate it overnight to finish tomorrow. Interestingly, I got a teeny hint of petrol on the nose. Something I’ve heard of in South African wines, but had never experienced before. Hopefully that will also dissipate by tomorrow. Thanks!

  2. Joel A

    Moscato du Setubal is a fabulous dessert wine; tends to be long aged before bottled; not surprised that it won first prize.

  3. ffchick

    I picked up a bottle of this at the south sacramento grand opening today based on this review. I look forward to opening it tomorrow night.

    1. ffchick

      I have to agree with the majority consensus… I really liked this wine. Definitely had an earthy aroma and flavor profile to match, with a slight bit of heat on the finish. I enjoyed it both by itself and with food.

  4. Expat

    Tried this last night and thought it was very solid. I got a dusty aroma in the glass (almost like the first rain in awhile) and a very distinct cherry/raspberry in the mouth with a clean, light finish. It was nice and dry without being tart or astringent. To me it’s very approachable old world. Not super complex but a nice little wine and very good with food.

    1. Rondo

      I guess you all like this a bit more than I did. Took an hour of air time before opening up and was better the second and third day. I also got that dusty aroma in the nose, but the major taste component was a pungent tobacco,earthy flavor, and dried cherry taste in the background. Was better with food than by itself as it had ample acid and some tannins on the finish; Was medium body and in the austere old world style. I would have preferred that the fruit component to be more in the forefront with the tobacco, earthy component as a side note. A okay wine, but not my favorite .

  5. Sebastopol GO fanclub

    I enjoyed this wine a lot. In my experience, it is just as dluber says minus “the farmyard funk” which I did not detect, and will appeal to those who like acidic food-friendly wines.

  6. philinoakland

    Don’t know how I missed the Rougette. Never heard of it before, but sounds right up my alley – Bavarian red brie, whoo hooo. Gotta try it if they have any left.

    I was there today, taking advantage of the 20% off sale (Deep Sea Chardonnay mostly). On the subject of food though, I would highly recommend the Daily’s bacon end pieces ($5.99). If you cut off most of the fat, this bacon is wonderful, and a great value – the best bacon I’ve had in the States, having come here from the north of England, where awesome bacon is the norm.

    I typically don’t do wine with breakfast (although stranger things have happened), so I won’t suggest a wine pairing.

    1. philinoakland

      PS Almost forgot – they have the Big House Lineup for $4.99 at the Oakland store. That’s not gonna last. I haven’t tasted the current offering yet, but picked up a couple of bottles. Big House always seems to get it right.

          1. Robert Seeds

            No. They were but he sold that winery and Cardinal Zin so he could focus on a smaller number of wines.

            1. lim13

              Thanks, Robert. I thought he sold that line a while ago, but just couldn’t recall. Do you know who’s making them now…and where the fruit’s from? I’ve never seen any of them in the local GO’s here in WA…although I see them in other retail stores.

      1. dluber Post author

        Thanks for the tips Phil, for both the Big House, which I missed, and the bacon – which is not just for breakfast anymore!
        Another cheese pairing that would have been good with this wine was the little tray-packs they had of presliced Spanish dry cheeses – Manchego, Cabra al Vino, and Iberico, 5 oz for $2 I think…but we should leave the food tips to the ChowHound Gross Out thread (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/836775), which hasn’t been as active lately as it used to be (although I note with some pride that someone linked The Magical World over there 😉


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