Last week I was licking my lips after drinking Madeira, the nectar of the Gods, all week. Well, this week, I got to sip another Portuguese fortified wine, Moscatel de Setúbal and yet again, I am licking my lips. And that is why this lip-licking fortified wine made from at least 85 percent Muscat of Alexandria grapes is the Please The Palate pick of the week.
Portugal is famous for a variety of fortified wines. Madeira comes from the island of Madeira, Port comes from the Douro Valley and Setúbal comes from the Setúbal Peninsula located in the southwest of Portugal.
There are challenges to planting vines on the mountains but there are many advantages as well. My recent story in the Napa Valley Register, which you can read below, is about Cardinale Winery, who focuses on a single Cabernet Sauvignon that is a blend from four mountain vineyards. Each vineyard contributes different characteristics to make the elegant wine year after year.
When mountains were created millions of years ago, volcanic eruptions resulted in extrusive and intrusive lava soils. These mountains were less fertile, and it was realized long ago that food crops and orchards thrived off the fertile land of the flats.
But up on the angled slopes of the mountains, some winemakers found a perfect location for vineyards. The Napa Valley produces four percent of California’s wine, yet only five percent of Napa’s wine production comes from mountain fruit. One of these wineries is Cardinale.