“Won't someone please put Portugal out of its misery and realize what fantastic value it can offer?” ~ Jancis Robinson
Portugal produces a remarkable diversity of wines. Only a handful of varieties have crossed international frontiers, leaving Portugal like a viticultural island with a treasure trove of indigenous grape varieties. As confidence and pride in these native varieties has grown, they are more sought out and celebrated. Below is a small sample of value and breadth of Portuguese wines.
Quintas de Melgaço, Castrus Alvarinho 2018
Limpid and citrine colour. A clean and intense nose with predominant notes of ripe tropical fruit and light sweet floral. In the mouth is fruity with a balanced acidity, full body, long and persistent finish.
Region: Vinho Verde Variety: Alvarinho
Quinta do Crasto, Tinto Douro 2017
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2017 Tinto, in bottle about four months when first seen, is a blend of Tinta Roriz (30%), Touriga Franca (25%), Touriga Nacional (35%) and Tinta Barroca (10%). About 15% (a deliberate increase from what used to be a nominal 5%) of the blend was aged in second use French oak for six months, the rest in tank. Crasto's idea with the increase in oak going forward is to change the wine's texture a bit and add a bit of gravitas. This has come together really well since last seen, fleshing out, showing a bit more power and (most importantly) vivid flavor. I'm not sure if this will hold serve throughout its useful life, but at the moment, it is worth leaning up on this succulent but fresh Tinto. It comes in at 14% alcohol."
Region: Douro Variety: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Barroca
Vadio, Bairrada Branco 2014
90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"The 2014 Branco was recently seen in Bairrada, but it is revisited this issue since this is the first stateside appearance, and it has had some time to calm down. A blend of 20% Bical and 80% Cercial, the Bical component only was aged for six months in used French oak (the Cercial in stainless steel). Tight, fresh and aromatic, this is better than ever now, crisp on the mouthwatering finish, focused and penetrating. Very aromatic as well, it is fresh and enticing at the moment. It should have the stuffing and acidity to age well."
Region: Bairrada Variety: Bical and Cercial
Niepoort, Rotulo Tinto Dao 2016
"Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira, Alfrocheiro, vines aged 30–80 years, bush vines at 600 m. Mountainous and granitic vineyards. Hand-picked. Fermented and aged in concrete tanks. Unfiltered.
Smudgy mid cherry red. Deliciously aromatic and enticing red and black fruits, some sour cherry, with complex notes of herbs, pepper and a hint of something more floral. Scented rather than heavily perfumed. Finest of chalky tannins adding to the inherent freshness of the wine even though the numbers (TA and pH) suggest quite a soft wine. Moreish and succulent, silky beauty without make up. So drinkable and delicious – an approachable Dão and yet I don't think you need hurry to drink it. (JH)" 17/20 points.
Region: Dao Variety: Touriga Nacional, Jaen, Tinta Pinheira and Alfrocheiro
Herdade do Rocim, Olho de Mocho Branco 2010
"Antão Vaz harvested 7-8 September. 12-hour cold maceration. Part of the wine finished fermentation in 80% new French oak and 20% new American oak. Five months on fine lees with daily bâtonnage. TA 5 g/l, pH 3.18, RS 1.8 g/l. Total 10,400 bottles.
Creamy, mealy citrus with a strong note of cedar and spice. Smells golden and tangy, which is just how it tastes. Rich and bold on the palate, cedar flavours becoming a little resinous. Broad and generous and savoury, almost toasty on the palate, with a spicy, savoury aftertaste and just a touch of char, but still with lovely freshness.
Later: big and brawny on the palate, a very forthright style with big flavours and full body, the char more evident on the finish. Very moreish. (JH)" 17.5/20 points.
Region: Alentejo Variety: Antao Vaz
Vale de Mato, Tinto 2010
92 points Wine Enthusiast
"From a small parcel of land on the slopes of the Serra de Aire hills, this firm textured, cool-climate wine shows structure and depth. The fruit weight is concentrated with plum and juicy black currant flavors, rotating around a dry core of tannins. Age this complex wine and drink after 2015." *Editor's Choice*
Region: Lisboa Variety: Aragonez, Syrah, and Touriga Nacional