When someone asks you about your favourite wines from Europe, probably most people would say France or Italy, but there are other countries you should consider like Portugal. There are more than 250 grape varieties in Portugal, giving the wine maker quite a selection when they make their red or white wines. Some of these grapes, like Touriga Nacional can be made into single varietal wines, while others are meant for blending. Portugal has been making wines since 2000 BC and have had this long tradition in part because of their soil and climate.
Portugal is also more than just port wine. That is where most people’s experience with Portuguese wines may have started and stopped, but Portuguese wines are so much more. I quite enjoy the red and white blends from Portugal. They are very food friendly, and tend to be ready to drink once purchased. If you want a summer sipper, try Portugal’s Vinho Verde, white wines. I invite you to check out the 21 wines I selected recently from a Portuguese wine trade tasting, and buy one from your local BCLDB or wine shop. I also put in web links to the different grapes as you read through my tasting notes, in case you would like to find out more information about them. Enjoy.
- Casa Santos Lima Pluma Vinho Verde 2016 – Pluma shows as a feather on the label. When asked about it, the fellow I spoke with said that they meant this wine to be light as a feather, which it was. It has a ripe stone fruit nose. Off-dry with medium acidity and a mineral streak. Lime, lychee and green fruit flavours. Tasty.
- Esporão Verdelho 2016 – This single varietal white is made from the Verdelho grape. This wine has lots of herbal and guava aromas. Medium plus body, dry and round mouth feel. Guava and green fruit flavours. Very good. Probably my favourite white wine of the tasting. –
- Mingorra Reserva Branco 2015 – Made with the Antão Vaz grape. Very bright lemon colour. Light stone fruit and flowers on the nose. Medium plus body, round and dry. Light nutmeg, oak and tropical fruit flavours. An elegant white wine.
- Jose Maria da Fonseca Albis 2015 – A blend of Arinto and Moscatel. Light floral and lychee aromas. Lighter bodied, round and dry. You get more lychee and flowers on the palate, along with lime. Very nice.
- Julia Kemper White 2015 – A blend of Encruzado and Malvasia Fina. The Encruzado spent 6 months in oak barrel, and you do pick up light oak, as well as stone fruit on the nose. It’s dry, medium bodied, round and soft in the mouth. Ripe apples and some oak on the palate. Long length. –
- Monte da Ravasqueira White 2016 – Blend of Alvarinho, Viognier, Arinto, and Semillon. Light honeyed stone fruit nose. Off-dry, lighter bodied. Light acidic prickle on your tongue. Soft stone fruit and orange flavours.
- Santos & Seixo Rotas de Portugal Alentejo White 2015 – A blend of Arinto, Antão Vaz, and Verdelho. Ripe stone fruit nose. Fuller bodied, dry with medium acidity. Fruity, with stone fruits followed by apple and oak flavours.
- Boas Quintas Opta Dao White 2016 – Encruzado, Cercial (aka Arinto), and Malvasia Fina make this blend. A light mix of Mandarin orange and lychee aromas. Dry and round with bigger mouth feel. Orange and light sweet spices on the palate.
- Boas Quintas Quinta da Giesta White 2016 – Arinto, Encruzado, and Malvasia Fina. Light ripe,stone fruit and lychee nose. Dry, bigger and round in the mouth, with some acidic prickle that fades. Light stone fruit and sweet spice flavours.
- Herdade São Miguel Colheita Seleccionada 2015 – Alicante Bouschet (a grape that has red flesh), Touriga Nacional, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are in this blend. Light, sweet, ripe, dark fruit nose. Medium body, soft mouth feel and soft tannins. Red cherries and nutmeg flavours. An easy sipper.
- CARM Douro Red 2014 – A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. Nice red fruit and freshly baked cinnamon buns aromas. Bright, red fruits and raspberry flavours. Dry with nice acidity. A nice light red.
- Quinta da Foz Grande Reserva 2013 – Deep, dark black fruit nose. Full bodied and round with ripe dark fruit, cassis, nutmeg and allspice flavours. Fine tannins.
- Quinta da Foz Reserva 2014 – A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. Intense dark fruit, cassis and chocolate aromas. Full bodied, round, with ripe cassis flavour, along with nutmeg. Medium plus acidity and soft tannins. Long length. Delicious.
- Quinta Da Foz 2014 – Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Roriz. Bright, ripe cassis nose. Medium body, dry with juicy cassis and raspberry flavours. Peppery on the tongue. Soft tannins.
- Casa Ferreirinha Quinta da Leda 2014 – Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão and Tinta Roriz in this blend. Light cassis and plum nose. Medium body, soft and supple. Ripe dark fruits along with some sweet spice and apples on the palate. Tasty.
- Ciconia The Reserva Blend 2015 – Made with Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, and Syrah. Light smoky dark fruit nose. Fuller body, dry and round, with firmer tannins. Ripe black fruit flavours. Ciconia btw means “stork” in Portuguese, and you guessed it, there is a stork on the label.
- Ciconia Touriga Nacional 2015 – Flowers and ref fruits on the nose. Dry and round with firmer tannins. Red fruits, black plums, and sweet spices on the palate. A shorter length, wishing it would last longer.
- Herdade da Pimenta 2014 – A blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, and Touriga Franca. Pimenta is Portuguese for chile pepper. I inquired about the name, and I was told that for this wine, the vineyard is called Pimenta, so nothing to do with spiciness in the wine. This wine has aromas of dark fruit and a touch of oak. Light mouth feel but it comes bigger as you swirl the wine in your mouth. The wine is big and round with a sweet edge. Dark fruit and nutmeg flavours.
- Martha’s Wines 20 Years Old Tawny Port – A blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Amarela, and Tinta Roriz. This tawny is indeed a beautiful colour. It has a light apple and “cognac” nose. Full body, heavy mouthfeel, semi-sweet with flavours of toffee and oranges. Peppery too. While it starts with a heavy mouthfeel, it finishes light. –
- Kopke 20 Years Old Tawny Port – Ripe apples, toffee and spice aromas. Fuller bodied, semi-sweet, with medium acidity. Toffee, spice and chocolate on the palate. The acidity keeps this tawny fresh.
- Sandeman 20 Years Old Tawny Port – Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, and Tinto Cão. Nice red fruit and “cognac” nose. Red fruit, sweet spice, pepper, and toffee flavours, with apples later on. Full body, medium sweetness. Delicious. –
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