Astronauta Vinhas Velhas (Douro DOC)
This Astronauta (Astronaut) will take you beyond what your eyes can see.
It’s all too possible that you may make it to the moon and, on your way back, ask yourself what was it you have just tasted.
We’re in the presence of a wine made from vineyards that are over 50 years old.
This maturity is felt in its aroma, taste, in the way it slides down your mouth and lets you know you’re in the presence of a wine that’s different and of incredible quality.
Aníbal Coutinho, the producer, was born in the Algarve but fell in love with the Douro region – who could blame him? – and is now producing unique and distinctive wines.
This Astronauta doesn’t come with a rocket, but it will take you on a journey that will be hard to forget.
We’re writing this on a fully-informed basis, meaning that after we tasted this small marvel, all we can say is: brace yourself for the experience you’re about to have.
Its colour is beautiful.
The taste has hints of wood.
The vineyard’s age can be felt in its aroma as it jumps straight for your nose, just like a child jumps happily into your lap.
It will conjure up the smell of cold Winter nights, which is excellent for embracing your senses at any time of the year.
You’re probably thinking, “they’ve lost their minds and are perhaps exaggerating a little…”.
No. We’re not.
We’re writing this in the day’s early hours and from memory, meaning only one thing: the damn wine is outstanding.
Seeing as we don’t want to be responsible for influencing your opinion, you only have one alternative: open the bottle, buckle up and let yourself go.
You can tell us after if the journey was worth it. Agreed?
Appellation: Porto and Douro
Varieties: Vinhas Velhas (old vines)
Oenologists: Aníbal José Coutinho and José Piteira
Winemaking process: Field blend wine with prolonged staging in stainless steel with toasted American and French oak wood.
Tasting notes: Medium colour. Complex aromas of excellent plum and berry maturation. Hints of chocolate and other spices. Elegant, long body.
Pairings: Pasture meats and all poultry.
LAMB SHANK WITH BULGUR
(for this recipe, use the inferior part of the lamb leg)
Bulgur – a cereal food made from the cracked parboiled groats of several different wheat species, used typically in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Here we’ll use it in a Turkish dish)
3 lamb shanks
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon red bell pepper paste
3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon of sweet paprika
Salt (a small pinch)
150 ml red wine – the shanks should be half covered
1 medium-sized onion
2 celery stalks
100 gr leeks
40 gr bard/fatty bacon
50 gr of Portuguese chorizo
50 cl olive oil
1 tablespoon pork lard
1 tablespoon flour
200 ml chicken stock
1 cup of Bulgur
1 cups of water
1 clove of garlic
¼ red pepper
¼ green pepper
1 teaspoon of dried mint leaves
½ teaspoon of paprika
2 teaspoons of red bell pepper paste
1 bay leaf
4 tablespoons of peeled tomato
Salt and pepper
In an iron pot (or clay/ceramic pot – this dish is baked in the oven), heat the olive oil, lard and sauté the chorizo and bard/bacon.
Seal off the lamb shanks and reserve.
In the fat that remains from sealing off the shanks, fry the garlic (we used the garlic from the marinade), then the onion cut in wedges. Next, add the thinly sliced leek and, finally, the sliced carrots and the celery cut in 2 cm pieces.
Add the flour and mix.
Add the lamb shanks, the wine from the marinade and the chicken stock until the meat is almost covered. Let boil, cover and place in an oven at 140°C for 2 hours.
For the bulgur (preparation the same as rice), sauté the shallots and the garlic in olive oil. Add the tomato.
Add the chopped bell peppers and remaining ingredients (dried mint, paprika, bell pepper paste and bay leaf).
When everything is well sautéed, add the bulgur and sauté for 2 minutes.
Add hot water (double the volume of the bulgur) and cook covered on medium heat for 12 minutes.