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This is a literal beast and a cult wine in the making.
It’s from the little known Tinta Miúda grape, native to central and coastal Portugal, near capital Lisbon where the Garrocha family vineyards and winery are located.
Firstly, the wine is massively concentrated, opaque cherry red in colour with glass-coating viscosity and big, bloody tears. The nose is rich and thick with damson, black cherry, raspberry ruffle and crème de cassis, which leads you in to a taste that just fills the mouth with dried fruit, cassis, dark chocolate, fruitcake and caramel. It sounds sweet—and there’s no doubt your sugar-receptors will ring like a church bell when the toller’s slept in ahead of morning mass—but it’s actually fermented dry.
Winemaker Francisco explains: “The wine is bone dry. It’s the elevage in cement tanks that makes a big difference, along with the grape, tinta miúda. I leave it on the vine very late, so it brings to the wine that sweet character that everyone loves. The challenge is always in the vineyard, it’s a difficult variety to grow.”
Asked about the name ‘Criatura’ and the scary looking two-headed beast on the label, Francisco says: “It means creature. It’s after my daughter, she’s a year and a half old and nobody can sleep at night!”.
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