Portuguese Values Abound

Traditional or modern, Portugal’s wines never fail to convince and with so many great wines under $15 it’s a real buyer’s market!


While there are some tastings I do not look forward to each year, there are others that I can’t wait for. For the most part that means things like Barolo and northern Rhone Syrah, but it also includes the greatest set of value wines I get to sample each year; inexpensive Portuguese red wines!

Now, admittedly that’s a pretty broad category of vino, or vinho as the case may be. There is no other single country where i would make a statement like that, though Portugal is fairly compact as far as wine producing countries go. But still, would it not be wiser to talk of the Douro and Dao, instead of generalizing and including Bairas, Tejo, and the rest of Portugal's wine producing regions?  Of course it would, but one doesn’t have to. While the style of wines produced around the country is diverse, the quality is quite uniformly high and the styles of wines being produced almost has more to do with who is producing it as opposed to where it is produced.
That’s not to say that terroir doesn’t play its part in portugal, just that modern and traditional wines are being produced throughout the country, and while certain regions have been big promoters of international varieties as of late there is a decided movement, in at least the wines that come to our shores, highlighting the indigenous treasures of portugal.
To a large extent that means Touriga Nacional, which is very likely the grandest variety grown in portugal, but it also means that wines made with less familiar grapes are being rediscovered and prized for the unique profiles of the wines they produce. 
Castelao -  popular, and successful in the south of the country where it produces vibrant, red fruited wines that retain the rustic edge of the region. 
Jaen - from the Dao, a real workhorse of a grpe though at it’s best it can produce juicy, black fruited wines that are delightful easy to drink due to their modest tannins.
Trincadeira - the problem child, so full of peppery spice and floral perfumes, but sometimes difficult to ripen, even under Portugal’s fine climate.  The Petit verdot of portugal!
Touriga Nacional - we all know it from port, but on it’s own or in a blend it produces violet laden wines with wonderful blue fruits laced with licorice and firmly structured, yet elegant and refined. 
And that’s just a glimpse of what lays in Portugal’s arsenal. 

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6 Top Portuguese Values Tasted 8/2014

Bridao Tejo Classico (2011)
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Vista Touriga Nacional Reserva (2010)
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Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional Cabernet Sauvignon (2011)
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Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro (2012)
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Periquita Reserva (2009)
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Grao Vasco Dao (2010)
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  • Snooth User: teddz
    880703 39

    Great category! Yes, there are super, everyday reds here for under $10. Another one: Ciconia (don't know the winery) at $9, a fruit forward (yet still dry) blend of Touriga and Syrah. It's even got "critter wine" appeal, as it features a stork (ciconia) on the bright orange label. The Reserva at $14 is even better.

    Sep 10, 2014 at 9:30 AM

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