Tinta Amarela (also known as Trincadeira) is a purple-skinned grape used in the production of Port and various other Portuguese red wines. Although Tinta Amarela is the variety's official name, it is more popularly known as Trincadeira, the name under which it is marketed in numerous varietal dry red wines. It is grown principally in the Douro, Dao and Alentejo wine regions.
In the vineyard, Tinta Amarela is notoriously tricky to grow. Its berries are highly susceptible to rot; this is of particular significance on Portugal's Atlantic coast, which gets broadsided by cold, wet ocean winds as soon as autumn arrives.
Assuming clement weather and a smooth growing season, Tinta Amarela vines are no less challenging when it comes to harvesting them; the berries are at optimal ripeness for just a very short time, making for a picking window of just a few days. Pick too early and the crop is lean and under-flavored. Pick too late and the result is an overripe harvest of cooked, over-jammy berries lacking in acidity. Consequently, Tinta Amarela is on the decline in Portugal’s vineyards, as viticulturists look to less labor-intensive varieties.
Despite the obvious challenges it presents in the vineyard, Tinta Amarela can be a highly rewarding vine to grow. In the right conditions it provides good yields of deeply colored, richly flavored fruit.
In their youth, Tinta Amarela wines offer herbaceous aromas often complemented by darker notes akin to black tea. With a little age, tangy blackberry flavors emerge. The variety has ample tannins that improve with some years in bottle.
Synonyms include: Trincadeira, Espadeiro, Rabo de Ovelha Tinto, Crato Preto, Murteira, Mortagua, Portugal Malbec.
Food matches include:
Europe: Rosemary and lemon pork stew
Australasia/Oceani: Citrus rubbed veal chops and mango salsa