Monday, December 5, 2016

Portuguese Red Wine

For the last 10 years, many Portuguese wineries have started to make serious table wines. With more than 300 varieties in current usage, a bewildering range of styles can be expected. The Douro Valley, one of the oldest, if not the oldest demarkated wine regions in the world (since 1756), and the variety Touriga Nacional lead the charge.

As an introduction, I tried three very different wines. The first was the 2013 Adega Regional de Colares Chao Rijo. This wine comes from the western most wine region in Europe, just west of Lisbon. The Atlantic brings cool winds to the vineyards. 80% of this blend are the Castelão and Tinta Roriz grapes. This wine was generally pleasant, but not very refined in its mouthfeel and quite broad (88 points).

From the Douro Valley comes the 2013 Quinta dos Murcas Assobio Tinto Douro. This is an entry level wine for this highly regarded winery. The grape varieties are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz. The wine is quite dark, but shows freshness rather than concentration (89 points).

The third wine is the 2012 Vadio Tinto. It comes from the Bairrada region, almost half way between Lisbon and Porto, a bit inland. The grape variety is Baga. The wine is a blend of older, up to 75 year old bush vines and ten year old vines. This grape variety is regarded as the perfect match for suckling pig, and I can see why. The wine is more elegant than the other two, but not very intense (90 points).

This tasting was my first exposure to Portuguese table wines. I will deepen my understanding with a visit to the Douro Valley next year, and then hopefully be able to report with much more knowledge.  

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