Dona Ermelinda Palmela DOC Castelão (2004)

Dona Ermelinda Palmela DOC 2004This Dona Ermelinda Palmela DOC 2004 is made from the Castelão grape in Portugal. The winery is just south of Lisbon in Palmela, which was founded in 310 B.C.

I chose this wine to go with pizza tonight (another very hectic day at work). This medium-bodied Portuguese wine is rich and fruity. It is a deep purple color. The nose is spicy and fresh. On the palate is soft tannins, oak, and dried cherries. It is a bold and assertive wine that will hold its own with pizza. It is delightful; there’s not a thing I would change about this wine.


45 Responses to “Dona Ermelinda Palmela DOC Castelão (2004)”

  1. Bruce Says:

    I want to 2nd your opinion of Dona Ermelinda ’04. Received three as part of my 4Season’s wine allocatoin and found it a most satisfying wine. I’m ordering a case.

  2. Tom & Melody Says:

    It is always affirming to hear from a reader who agrees with our assessment. Thank you so much for writing and enjoy that case of Dona Ermelinda. Cheers!

  3. Dona Ermelinda DOC Castelão (2004) « Tom and Melody’s wine blog Says:

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  4. Lena Says:

    I agree- we tried the Dona Ermelinda tonight for the first time and we are very pleasantly surprised, as we didn’t know that wine before. 90% of our wines we drink are portuguese red wines. They are exceptional, different and to a lesser extend- unfortunately- well-known.
    I can highly recommend this wine and besides this one many others….. Enjoy!!

  5. Tom & Melody Says:

    Thank you for your comments, Lena. How interesting that you enjoy Portuguese reds. I’m glad you were able to find the Dona Ermelinda!

  6. Lena Says:

    Absolutely! I can recommend you others, if you want. Well, I should also say that I am Portuguese, and that’s why I’m so focused on them. But it is really a pity to see that Portuguese wines are not well promoted in the States or even Europe, because the demand isn’t high enough. This is why and because people don’t know enough about Portuguese wines.
    We live in New York and there’s this great -and only- real Portuguese restaurant in the West Village called “Alfama”, named after the oldest neighborhood in Lisbon. They have the most extensive wine list in the entire country and their menu doesn’t have any other wines besides Portuguese. They also have a very nice collection of ports, spirits and liquors of Portugal, for many simply unknown (except the ports).
    Should you live/visit here, go there and try for yourself. 🙂

  7. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi Lena, I went to the web site that you gave us and it is fascinating. The food sounds scrumptious, to say the least! We will make a concerted effort to taste and evaluate Portuguese wines. I would be very interested in hearing your recommendations. Please do stay in touch and tell us which Purtuguese wines we should try. Our only limitation is that we are “red” wine lovers and not particulary interested in tasting white wine. Thank you, Lena!

  8. Lena Says:

    Hi there again.
    So, in the meantime we’ve been to Alfama and they changed the menu. I had the Hake, which was out of this world! Since we were in a group of 7, we ordered red wine which went quite well with the fish. Alfama has currently a special until January 31st: get $25 off bottles over $100, so I ordered the Quinta do Carmo- Incognito. It is actually a 100%Syrah grape, so not a necessarily indigenous Portuguese grape, but as we all know it depends on what soil the wine grows ad being”nurtured”, so it was very, very delicious. The second bottle was as well from Quinta do Carmo, but the regular one, which is a blend from a different variety of Portuguese grapes, like the Castelao, Touriga Nacional, Aragones, Trincadeira, Periquita, Baga, Alfrocheiro, to name a few.
    Another very nice one is the Quinta da Bacalhoa, Dao Cardeal, (which Alfama doesn’t carry, that’s just what comes into my mind right now); Quinta dos Aciprestes (2001);try also the wines of Luis Pato; and like I just checked, Alfama has the Dona Ermelinda as well!! For only $31! Wow!; Cortes de Cima is nice as well, very fruity and silky, the little version to the Quinta do Carmo; Herdade de Sta. Marta (1999) is also a great simple wine. There are soooo many…
    I hope I could give you a little beginning.
    By the way- even though you guys aren’t into white (so aren’t we!) you should at least try the vinho verde, which is only to be found in Portugal, namely in the northwestern region called Minho. It is like a white wine, but more “bitter”, spicier. The grapes are very young, that’s why the name verde=green=young.
    Let me know if you want any further recommendations. It’s nice to share this with people who appreciate the same things.

  9. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena, You have graciously provided a wealth of information and recommendations for us to try. I will print off your comments to take on my next wine-purchasing venture. The white wine you mention is intriguing and we will give it a try. I must admit, I’m not very open-minded about white wines so getting a recommendation from another red-wine lover is convincing. I will be sure to let you know when we purchase and sample one of your recommendations! By the way, what is Hake?

  10. Lena Says:

    Ha! Until then I didn’t know it either…… it’s swordfish. The Atlantic Hake seems to be a special kind, frankly, I don’t know more about it.
    Actually, this is what I just found about them and it says that they are from the family of codfish, (also known in Portuguese as “bacalhau”, which is the Portuguese national dish.) One says that there are as many recipes of bacalhau as there are days in a year.
    Interestingly enough- I must confess that I don’t like bacalhau, but I loved the Hake……

  11. Tom & Melody Says:

    Interesting! I thought it must have been fish. So, Lena, you must live in New York?

  12. Lena Says:

    Yes, that is correct and if I read right you guys live in Michigan.
    Should you ever visit the city, let me know. In any case you should try Alfama, preferably on a Wednesday evening when they have live Fado music.

  13. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena, Okay, you can count on that! And if you ever visit Michigan, please let us know!

  14. Tom & Melody Says:

    P.S. Lena, We are having Quinta Da Alorna tonight. Are you familiar with it?

  15. Lena Says:

    Hi Tom,

    Actually no, I’m sorry. But please let me know what you think of it.
    This is what I found about it online:
    The history of grape growing and wine making at Quinta Da Alorna goes back to 1723 when it was acquired by the first Marquis of Alorna, deputy to the King of India. There were a succession of owners but in 1918, a business-oriented doctor, Dr. Manuel Caroca, bought the property. He introduced great improvements and creating the Agricultural Society of the Alorna with his son, Fernanda Lopo de Carvalho, and his three grandsons. Today, this property located in the center of Portugal, has a total of 6,900 acres of forest and agricultural land with 540 acres planted to grapevines. It is managed by the fourth and fifth generation Lopo de Carvalho family members. The 540 acres of vine are planted with a combination of traditional port varietals and the varietals we are used to like cabernet and merlot.
    This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Castelao, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. The wine has bright berries on the nose touched by a hint of spice. On the palate, the fruit is ripe and boasts flavors of black raspberry and a touch of black cherry as the finish lingers on and on. This wine would pair well with game meats or soft cheeses.

    And yes, should we visit Michigan, we’ll let you know!

  16. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi Lena, I blogged about this wine last night and tonight I am having it again. I had a very long, long day (worked all day and then taught a class tonight) so I am unwinding now with this Portuguese wine while my husband picks up a pizza! This wine is delicious and I’ll be you would love it. (Make sure you read our description of it.)
    So, Lena, what do you do in New York?

  17. Lena Says:

    I’m an organist, or more church musician. The church where I’m playing is St. Paul’s German Ev. Luth. church in Chelsea, The services are entirely in German (I was born and raised there, by the way). I’ve been in the States (New York) for more than 3 years now. My husband is from here, so that’s why I’m here 🙂
    What classes do you teach, Melody?
    Thank you for the description on the wine, I will make sure to try it. We bought a couple of other Portuguese wines tonight, so I will let you know if there’s something remarkable under it.
    In the meantime enjoy your Quinta Da Alorna 🙂

  18. Nuno Santos Says:


    Apart from living in Palmela, i agree with your opinion it’s such a great wine (btw, here is 3 euros a bottle).
    You should come to Palmela in september where it’s held a 5 day party to celebrate the wine story we have in this region. 🙂


  19. Tom & Melody Says:

    Wow, that would be exciting and lovely! A 5-day party? What’s it like? Can you tell us more?

  20. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi Lena, I enjoyed reading about what you do in New York Lena. How inspiring that you are an organist and musician! How is it that you are in the music profession? Did you study music at a young age?
    You asked about what I teach. I teach several different classes: Organizational Theory is the class I am teaching right now (at the graduate level); I also teach Sport Management classes and a university studies course.

    Please stay in touch, Lena. We really enjoy your contributions.

  21. Lena Says:

    Dear Melody,

    Well, either you are a musician or you aren’t. You are born with it. I was only 6 when I started playing recorder, then piano at at the age of 14 organ. It is a very special passion.
    My father is a teacher as well, for roman languages.
    But now you have to explain me a little more about Organizational Theory.
    I do enjoy our little conversations as well. It is always inspiring to exchange thoughts with interesting people.
    Please do stay in touch.

  22. Lena Says:

    And now, Nuno, let me tell you in the name of all of us that we are very envious of the prices of wine in Portugal. Well, in Europe in general – we have the same prices in Germany. (I was born and raised there).
    And yes, tell us something about the 5 day festa de vinho in Palmela, I’d love to know more about it.


  23. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena, Is a recorder that little “flute-like” instrument where you simply cover up a different combination of holes to change the tune?
    Organizational theory is actually a very interesting topic (to me). In a nutshell, it is a class in which the students learn about the research and theories that have been developed about how organizations function. Students learn to view situations differently — to look through different “lenses” in order to analyze situations and resolve problems. To give you just one more example, one might see a problem through the lens of “technical rationality” or “natural systems theory” or “politics” or “resource dependency” — these are all different perspectives or mindsets on how to look at an organization and these tools are very helpful to leaders of an organization as they analyze problems.
    We are in the middle of a snowstorm in Michigan today – are you?

  24. Lena Says:

    Yes, Melody, exactly, that’s that instrument. (And a cute description from you, too 🙂
    Your topic seems very complex, but interesting and also very important. How come that you chose that path in studying it?

    We had great weather on Sunday, heavy snow (which didn’t last, though) yesterday, a little rain today and tomorrow 62 degrees. I tell you, global warming………

  25. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena, We are getting freezing rain today. It’ll be a tough drive into work today. i hope we get that 62 degrees that you expect, but I don’t think we are going to.

    I became interested in the topic of organizational theory because of my job working at a university. My doctorate is in educational leadership so I’m very interested in higher education and how it functions.

    I’d like to hear more about how you happened to be born and raised in Germany!

  26. Lena Says:

    Hi Melody,
    After this beautiful, gorgeous warm day yesterday we’re back to colder weather this weekend 😦 How about Michigan?

    Well, my father was living in Germany, went to Portugal, met my mother, married and brought her to Germany and the rest is history. They’ve been living for over about 31 years now in Germany (I’m 30.) In the meantime he retired and now Mama is the one still working. They visited us two weeks ago- we had the most wonderful time together and I really miss them, as I don’t get to see them so often any more.
    If I’m correct, you two have children as well, is that right?

  27. Tom & Melody Says:

    Yes, two wonderful, sweet, loving, smart, independent, handsome sons! And I am not the least bit biased!! 🙂

  28. Lena Says:

    Ha! No, I would never assume that :p
    How old are they and do they live in Michigan as well?

  29. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi Lena! I was wondering when you would write! Our sons are 22 and 23 years old. Tony is a senior in college and has traveled extensively (he is an international business major). He plans to go back to South America next year, in fact. Tommy is in graduate school here in Michigan and is also in a band! Both of our sons are sweet, loving, independent and intelligent!

  30. Lena Says:

    I’m sorry, I had been busy, the typical NY thing (ok, snob, snob….)
    Where has Tony been? That sounds really interesting!
    And I’m sure that they are loving, sweet, intelligent and independent. In fact you pointed that out twice (independent), which is interesting. Any particular reason?
    (By the way I’m 30).
    What is Tommy’s majoring in?

  31. Lena Says:


    I hope you are alright?!? I haven’t heard from you in a month and was wondering if everything was ok?
    Give a lifesign, ok?
    Happy Holy Week,

  32. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi Lena! I’m so glad you wrote to me because now I see that my last post to you didn’t show up. Everything is absolutely fine here. In fact, coincidentally, this is my birthday today! So, it is kind of a special Wednesday. . .It is starting to get warmer in Michigan and I’m sure that must be true in NY, too? We can smell spring here. By the way, what I had written in my last post was the answers to your questions. Tony had been in London for a one-week class during his spring break. It was an international ecomonics course. Tommy is getting his Master’s in Education. Well, I can here the coffee gurgling so time to fill my cup. It’s great to hear from you, Lena. Thank you for checking on me!

  33. Lena Says:

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY! What a coincidence! I wish you all the best for the year to come and may it bring you health, peace and lots of good bottles of red wine! 🙂
    In fact, a nice wine to celebrate is the Quinta de Ventozelo (2001), made from the single grape Tinta Roriz, which is to be found in the Douro region. It’s slightly oaky, the color is velvetish and it’s as smooth as your favourite cream on your skin.
    Another very nice wine which became our house wine recently is the Dao Cardeal (2001 or 2005), made from the grapes Rufete 30 %, Touriga Nacional 40 % and Bastardo 30%, the latter one catching my particular attention. For better or worse, we get it for $6.99 (NYC Union Square price!) and if you would want to buy a comparable French or Italian bottle you’d have to pay double or even more the price. But as you are experienced with Portuguese wines by now, this might not surprise you. The wine is fruity, but not sweet, with hints of chocolate. Try it!
    And again, Happy Birthday!

  34. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena – Okay! These recommendations sound ooh-la-la. I guarantee you we will try each of them. I am quite familiar (and enarmored) with the Bastardo grape. It is hard to type this morning because Trigger is sprawled completely on top of me so I will keep this short. Thank you for the recommendations and the birthday greetings! Now, today is Tom’s birthday! We’re one day apart!

  35. Lena Says:

    You guys are funny! That’s awesome! 48 hours of partying!
    Now, who’s Trigger, a kittie or a doggie? We have two crazy and lovely parakeets, Charly and Becky.
    Happy Birthday, Tom, and happy celebrating!

  36. Tom & Melody Says:

    Hi to Lena, Charly & Becky! Trigger is our dog. You can see her picture if you scroll to the top of the page and click on her name. . .
    Happy Good Friday, Lena!

  37. Baco Says:

    The 2005 Dona Ermelinda Palmela won this year’s vinalies internationales paris (blind tasting) from among 3000 wines.

  38. Tom & Melody Says:

    That is very interesting news. A very deserving wine. Thank you for sharing this!

  39. Lena Says:

    That’s indeed interesting!
    And by the way- Trigger looks very cute!
    And to all of you a blessed and happy Easter! May we celebrate it with lot’s of yummy wine ….. 😉

  40. Tom & Melody Says:

    Indeed! Cheers, Lena!

  41. Lena Says:

    Hello there, this time from Pittsburgh! My husband is playing a concert tonight and I’m glad I’m able to accompany him, as I’m not currently working a full-time job. Tomorrow we’ll fly back to New York and celebrate his birthday.
    I hope you guys have been well, we have. I especially, as finally after 5 years of not visiting we’ll be flying to Portugal in May! I can’t wait! I’m going to ring back lots of good wine suggestions for you 🙂

  42. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena — I am so happy for you! Your email just fills me with eager questions! First, what kind of concert is your husband participating in? Obviously, he is a musician like you! And, how joyous for you to return to Portugal! I am very, very happy for you. I want to hear all your plans! Safe travels back to New York, Lena!

  43. Lena Says:

    Thank you, Melody. In fact, the concert went great, he played fabulously. Stephen is a concert organist; his website is still under construction, but if you google his name, Stephen Tharp, you will come up with a lot of options. The best link is this one for now
    which was a featured program dedicated to his career. I set up a myspace account for him as well for the time being.
    But the best thing is to come: My husband is going to be the Papal Organist for all three masses with Pope Benedict XVI!! He is going to play tomorrow evening at St. Joseph, a church founded by German Catholics and on Saturday he will play the mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral and I am going to sing in the choir! And on Sunday he will be being heard and I hope also seen during the Papal Mass at the Yankee Stadium!
    These are joyful days for us, as this means the world to me as a Catholic and is very important for Stephen as well, although Episcopalian, but on the way of becoming Catholic, as a feeling tells me.
    We are very, very happy and honoured! 😀

  44. Tom & Melody Says:

    Lena, I am so very happy for you and your husband, Stephen. I did look at that website and, I must say, it is very, very impressive! What an amazing talent he possesses.

    I will pay great attention to the news of Pope Benedict’s visit to the U.S. and think about you and your husband. I really am so happy for you both!

    Thanks for sharing, Lena.

  45. Lena Says:

    Hello Melody,

    Sorry for having been so lame. In my head I’m already in Italy and Portugal- only 5 more days- YAY! I can’t wait to try all the different Portuguese red wines when we are there, soooo many, which aren’t even imported here. I will let you know if there are any outstanding ones. I’m sure I will find some nice suggestions for you. 🙂

    The Papal weekend war one of the most beautiful and important one in both our lives. It was indescribable! I want to share my pictures with you which I posted online. There are two links: from the mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral (those are a little dark and not clear, as my poor little digicam could only zoom to a certain extend and as we were on the organ loft a few hundred meter away from where the Pope was sitting) and the other ones are from the mass at Yankee Stadium, the day after. Those are wonderful! What an experience! Enjoy!

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