Portugal strength in it’s namesake wine Port has made all of it’s other wines less than sought after—a second class citizen. That is very unfortunate because Portuguese non-fortified wines need to be discovered. There are so many Portuguese beauties out there. The appellations are apt for some wondrous reds. The Iberian Peninsula is a great place for growing hearty reds.
Do not fear an appellation like Alentejo, Dao, Douro, Bairrada; actually seek them. Do not fear what may sound like un-recognizable grapes like Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Aragonês, Trincadeira, Castelão, Touriga Nacional, Arinto, Alvarinho, Fernão Pires, Baga, Sousão, Alfrocheiro, Antão Vaz, Arinto, Moreto, Alicante Bouschet, Seara Nova, Rabigato, Viozinho, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cao, Jaen, Loureiro, Azal, Trajadura, Maria Gomes, Verdelho, Codega do Larinho, Viosinho, Roupeiro, Encruzado, Malvasia Fina, Camarata, Tinta Miúda, Preto Martinho, Cerceal, Tinta Amarela, Trajadura, Pedernã, Rabo-de-Ovelha, —instead embrace them. The Tinta Roriz and Aragonêz is what is known as Tempranillo in Spain.
If you seek food friendly white wines with generous acid—you have come to the right country. Think Alvarinho and Arinto these wines are hauntingly gorgeous; delicate, light, crisp and their acid will encapsulate memories of these wonderful wines with seafood and poultry.
Many Portuguese reds are bold; not only do the Portuguese use native grapes they have been growing wines everyone knows – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, etc. While these wines are delicious I am a fan of the Trincadeira Preta, Tinta Roriz / Aragonês, and Castelão. These wines are evocative of exotic spice and wood, bramble, herbs, mushrooms, Fall leaves, and red and black fruit confit.
These wines are hard to find—despite Portugal being a very large producer; it is hard to find in almost any U.S. wine retailer; but don’t let that discourage you. Keep searching…..start asking at your favorite restaurants and wine retailer. Many of these wines are tremendous values that need discovery and need attention. Portugal the soon-to-be-discovered wine country
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