Portuguese wine is the result of traditions introduced to the region by ancient civilizations, such as the Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Greeks, and mostly the Romans. Portugal produces a wide variety of different wines with distinctive personality because they have a large array of native varietals.
- Item #: i_378609Bottle Size: 750mlWe've been fortunate lately to discover a fresh crop of striking and beautiful wines from Portugal. The appeal is immediate. When we tasted the Chocapalha line-up last month alongside the rest of winemaker Sandra Tavares's ventures we decided our "Wine of the Month 2" on the spot—and added white "Arinto" bottling as a companion, almost a "Wine of the Month 2.5." The wines are layered, aromatic, with balanced alcohols and enlivening acidity, but also show a depth of fruit that is immediately appealing. You probably won't recognize many of the grape varieties in these wines, but the discovery here is half the fun and the prices are amazing for the quality.
This ancient estate is nestled in the sun-drenched hills near Alenquer, just northwest of Lisbon. The Tavares da Silva family has nurtured the vineyards over the years, and today their youngest daughter, Sandra, is making some of the most exciting wines in Portugal. Sandra has built a name for herself as a modern and mindful winemaker in the Duoro Region.
It's easy to picture Lisbon as sunny and blessed with great beaches, but there is also quite a bit of wind and maritime coolness in the climate here that sharpens the aromatics and acidity. The Arinto grape is not known widely, but Sandra Tavares made something special and undeniable here. Look for scents of ripe yellow plum and summer stone fruits mixing with a citrusy core of ruby grape-fruit citrus, lemon, and kumquat in a mineral style. There is an electric zip to this wine that reminds us of Chablis or the best New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs. Mostly, the wine press is just starting to look seriously at Portuguese wines, but Robert Parker's Wine Advocate recently awarded this wine 91 points.
- Item #: i_380431Bottle Size: 750MLThe 2016 Post Scriptum de Chryseia is principally a Touriga Nacional / Touriga Franca blend. Not overly concentrated, it does have beautiful, lifted fruit and an enticing fresh feel to it. In its own subtle way, this is focused and very appealing and a complete charmer. Perfumed and almost Margaux-like! Bone dry and rather refined.
- Item #: i_383545Bottle Size: 750mlCasa Santos Lima is a family owned and operated company dedicated to the production, bottling and selling of Portuguese wines from around 400 hectares of vineyards. Most of Casa Santos Lima’s estates are located in Alenquer, 45km north of Lisbon, in a region where wine production is centuries old and the typical rural landscapes are gifted with enormous beauty. The vineyards are planted on gentle slopes with altitudes between 100 and 220 meters benefiting from an excellent sun exposition and a climate slightly tempered by the nearby Atlantic Ocean, only 25 km away from the property. Casa Santos Lima is the largest producer of “Vinho Regional Lisboa” and is one of the most awarded Portuguese wineries in both major national and international wine competitions. A maritime influence provides fresh summer nights along with gentle winters that are key to the production of quality grapes in this region. This climate helps produce wines with great acidity and a youthful freshness.
- Item #: i_383258Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 91WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2014 Meandro do Vale Meão is a 40/30 blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, with 20% Tinta Roriz and small dollops of other grapes. It was aged in well-used French oak (six years) for 13 months and comes in 14.5% alcohol. If you read my accompanying article this issue, you read the forecasts from many (including Meão's winemaker) that Douro Superior was generally one of the best regions in this tough vintage. Here's an example. This Meandro is pretty fine, particularly for a second label. Rather concentrated, tight and surprisingly powerful in its youth, this also shows some flavor underneath, once past the tannins, but it is mostly dry and serious. It looks like a terrific Meandro, focused, intense and elegant. I suspect the tannins will fall off fairly quickly here--how it evolves at that point is my only question mark--and this will drink well on the younger side. It seems able to acquire complexity with time, but I'd like to see it prove that it will hold its concentration level. It could use a year or so to settle down. In a vintage where there aren't many wines to chase after, this one, particularly considering its price point, is a good option."
- Item #: i_381354Bottle Size: 750mlEladio wanted to make red wine, and he knew Rias Baixas was not the place for it, so he bought an estate with vineyards near his holiday home in the Alentejo and made a red wine which is again about as far from an “industrial” wine as you can get. Four YEARS in new barrels, 3 years in stainless after that, at least six months in the bottle, no clarification, no fining etc. , designed to be drunk on release but will age effortlessly…The methods are somewhat evocative of López de Heredia in the sense that the wine is released when deemed ready to drink, while remaining capable of much longer aging. But the warmer Portuguese climate makes for a broader shouldered vein, not at all overripe but concentrated, minerally, and sublime.
- Item #: i_380591Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST 92 POINTS - "From the heart of this large estate, this wine is powerful, structured and firm, with dense black plum and damson fruit. With the perfume of Aragonez and the structure of Alicante Bouschet, this fine wine still needs time to develop. Drink from 2019." Editors' Choice.
WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Focused and graceful, with concentration to the blackberry, anise, plum and mocha flavors. Spice and herb accents mingle with minerally details on the long, moderately tannic finish. Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2022."
- Item #: i_377243Bottle Size: 750mlWINE ENTHUSIAST 95 POINTS - "This markes the 17th vintage of this wine, a joint venture between the Symington family and Bordeaux consultant Bruno Pratts (Cos Estournel former owner). Based entirely on fruit from Quintas de Roriz and Perdiz, this smooth structured wine has many of the characteristics of Bordeaux with its new wood and elegant texture."
WINE ADVOCATE - "The 2012 Post Scriptum de Chryseia is principally a Touriga Nacional / Touriga Franca blend, with tiny quantities of other grapes, aged for 13 months 400-liter French oak. It is a fresh and elegant PS this year. Not overly concentrated, it does have beautiful, lifted fruit and an enticing fresh feel to it. In its own subtle way, this focused and very appealing PS should be a complete charmer. If it evolves well, it may yet be entitled to an uptick, but it won't disappoint at its typically nice price."
- Item #: i_383648Bottle Size: 750ml- WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2016 ALLO is a 70/30 blend of Alvarinho and Loureiro, unoaked and coming in at 11% alcohol. (The name, of course, comes from the AL of Alvarinho and the LO of Loureiro.) This is a fine new brand from Soalheiro. Showing superb concentration, plenty of acidity and that hit of "Soalheiro green," as I like to call it, this is beautiful, lingering, tightly wound and very invigorating. Indeed, it is simply intense in its youth, yet it is also perfectly balanced. I'm willing to bet that it will age rather well, too, but let's be a bit conservative there, even considering Soalheiro's reputation in that regard. There is no rush, but this will be a perfect wine to wake you up this summer. Sourced from 20-year-old vines, there were 50,000 bottles produced."
- Item #: i_377947Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 90WINE ADVOCATE 90 POINTS - "The 2015 Tinto is a blend of 35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 25% Touriga Franca and 10% Tinta Barroca. A small part of the blend was aged for six months in French oak. This has been seen before, but it is worth another look as it is a very fine value. It is still gloriously fruity, intense in flavor, yet showing lift to the fruit all the time. It is always fresh and lively, never jammy and sweet, even while very fruity. That may seem like a contradiction, but it's not. With more time in the bottle, it also is showing a bit more muscle as the fruit comes into perfect balance with the structure. This is even better now and a terrific value. Frankly, I'm not always sure how wines like this will age, because its fresh fruit is its biggest advantage. However, acidity also preserves. Plus, this is now showing a little complexity and it is better in perceptible structure, without the fruit losing much of anything. So, don't hesitate to drink it young, but it can hold for a decade from vintage date or more. Winemaker Manuel Lobo, by the way, said the 2001 was still drinking well. I won't be that optimistic yet."
- Item #: i_378485Bottle Size: 750mlSituated on the right bank of the Douro River, between the towns of Régua and Pinhão, Quinta do Crasto has a privileged location in the Demarcated Region of the Douro. Quinta do Crasto has belonged to the family of Leonor and Jorge Roquette for over a century. Their passion for wine making has contributed to Quinta do Crasto´s growing national and international reputation.
Deep violet in color. Expressive aromas of vibrant berry fruits combined with subtle hints of fresh spices. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and displays nice concentration with ripe red fruit including raspberry and cherry, along with notions of cocoa. With time in the glass, the wine becomes more complex and darker fruits, including blueberries emerge. Velvety tannins make the wine accessible now, but also capable of aging for the next 5-7 years. The finish is very long, showing excellent concentration and perfect balance. Simply Delicious! A blend of 50% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz and 5% Sousao.
- Item #: i_380863Bottle Size: 750MLRegion: Vinho Verde sub-region of Monção and Melgaço 100% Alvarinho (The superstar white grape of the Vinho Verde region aka Albariño across the border in Spain. It can make rich, full-bodied and fragrant whites and in Portugal they tend to have a more mineral based structure)Nose of jasmine flower, citrus, and pear. The palate is intense with steely minerality, and lush tropical fruit notes. Dry, medium bodied, with lively acidity, and a long finish. This wine is lean and mineral driven with a focused intensity when young but transforms with gorgeous smoky citrus nuances with a bit of age which it can do for many years to come!
- Item #: i_382166Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Wine Spectator: 91Wine Enthusiast: 93 PointsWINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The 2014 Pintas is a field blend sourced from old vines (84 years) and aged for 20 months in French oak (30% new and 70% second-year wood). Like so many 2014s, this is a little stern and dry, a little lacking in expression. That said, it is beautifully built and often gorgeous. It shows fine concentration for the vintage, focus and precision. The texture is pure velvet. The finish lingers. Tightly wound, it is nonetheless approachable, although a year or two in the cellar wouldn't hurt. Not quite as sunny and as expressive as the Manoella, this dense Tinto is more closed, drier and a bit sterner. At first, weighing pros and cons, I couldn't decide whether this or the Manoella Old Vines was a better achievement this year. Neither may be completely representative of the properties in the very best years, but they both are very good off-vintage performances, a tribute to the winemaking skill. I'd tend to pick this. Its mouth-filling demeanor is impressive at the moment, as is its structure. It simply grips the palate. As with the Manoella, the remaining question will be whether this develops and improves with time, or begins to lose focus. I do have some doubts there. It certainly seems likely to be early-maturing. This still looks like one of the best bets for an upper-level 2014 red. After a couple of hours open, it was still impressive, if more elegant. We'll see what the future has to say when it gets here, but this has some upside potential.
WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS, WINE ENTHUSIAST 93 POINTS, WINE & SPIRITS 95 POINTS
- Item #: i_382145Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - The 2016 Guru is a roughly equal blend of Codega do Larinho, Rabigato, Viosinho and Gouveio aged for just six months in 30% new French oak, including the use of some bigger barrels. It comes in at 12.5% alcohol. Sourced from 50-year-old vines, it was bottled only a week before tasting, but it sure seemed to be doing well. It shows much more crisply than in some years and the impression of wood has pretty much disappeared, as this winery reduces the oak involved. It shows fine concentration and even better tension on the finish. The smoky aromatics of which I’ve complained in the past are only a hint this year, much more restrained to the point where they do not seem to be an issue. That should get better, not worse. Intense and deep, Guru is very fine this year. It should hold at least a decade, probably more."