Portugal is one of the world’s great wine producing countries, and it often doesn’t get the recognition it deserves – although people are flocking in droves to the country now. The country’s broad range of products, in the wine market, spans from the dry Southern interior to the cooler and more humid North, outside of the beautiful city of Porto. We sampled several bottles recently represented by the greater collective, Wines of Portugal, who represents winemakers from the entirety of the country’s wine producing areas; and also Vinho Verde, a smaller collective representing the particular appellation from where that variety hails. Every wine was unique and sums up the idea that Portugal cannot be discounted for their sheer breadth of offerings and affordability in the global wine landscape.
We sampled the following from various wine-producing areas of Portugal – spanning the Douro Valley to the southern Alentejo region. Each one of them was stunning, especially the incredible drinkability of the Beyra Vinhos de Altituda Reserva Rui Robboredo Madeira (2013), one of the best we tasted with a retail cost of just $15.
1. Vinho Douro TN Vallado (2014) – This wine tastes elegant, very fruity and round, matured and features silky tannins. It’s very balanced, with a long fresh finish. The aroma is typical of a mature Touriga Nacional. You’ll detect bergamot, wild fruits with floral (violet) and spicy hints.
2. Beyra Vinhos de Altituda Reserva Rui Robboredo Madeira (2013) – This wine comes from grapes that grow on a plateau in the interior Beira wine region, with an average height of 2,100 feet above sea level. It’s made mostly of Tempranillo. There is a fruity aroma with notes of minerality. You taste berry, vanilla and notes of toast. This one was our favorite and pairs beautifully with a charcuterie board.
3. Quinta Dos Roques Reserva Red (2011) – This wine is stunning with a deep, dark violet color and an aroma of blackcurrant and pine leaves. When tasting the wine, the oak it ages in gives notes of vanilla and the imparted fruitiness balances well with the acidity.
4. Private Selection Garrafeira Alentejo Esporao (2012) – Syrah is a big part of this wine as well as Aragonês. The deep, rich red color marries well with the red berry aromas, and is balanced by spice and smoke. The taste is dense and heavy, perfect for lovers of rich, red wine. This variety was also a favorite.
Moving on to the small Vinho Verde region, known for its refreshing and drinkable whites. The area, which is found in Portugal’s Northwest corner, is small but churns out some of the most incredible wines on the market. The beautiful town of Braga sits at its heart, and we were able to sample a few of the best the area has to offer.
1. Casal de Ventozela Loureiro, 2018 – Aromas of grapefruit, melon and apple take over your nose when first smelling this wine. Grapefruit, melon and grass hit you in the mouth, with a slight fizz, which makes it very refreshing and a perfect complement to fish or poultry.
2. Provam Varanda do Conde, 2018 – This is a blend of Alvarinho and Trajadura. Notes of citrus and yellow fruit along with a light acidity makes it very drinkable, perfect for a summer day by the pool.
3. Quinta da Raza Dom Diogo Arinto, 2018 – A dry wine with crisp fruit, such as lemon and apple, make this very refreshing and drinkable. The acidity is balanced and creates a perfect combination with the fruit flavor in the mouth.
4. Quinta da Lixa Aromas das Castas, 2018 – We LOVE this variety. A blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho, the flavor is crisp and slightly tangy. You’ll detect notes of apple and will remind you of a stunning Sauvignon Blanc.
Whether your desire is to explore the entirety of Portugal’s wine offerings or to delve deeper into one particular region, like Vinho Verde, what you’ll find is that this country is incredible. For being so small, the Portuguese have organized a very intense and bountiful offering for the world to enjoy. If you’re visiting Portugal, might we suggest choosing a wine route and meandering along the beautiful roads that traverse the hills and mountains in search of your favorite blend. Or, if you’re not traveling, head to your nearest wine store and begin wading your way through this country’s wines. You might not want to drink anything else after you’ve experienced them.