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10.10.2007

Tasting Portuguese Table Wines

flag_of_portugal.gifToday is Wine Blogging Wednesday, the day where all over the world, bloggers of all kinds drink a wine according to a theme, and then review it on their blogs, making for a huge virtual wine tasting party which usually yields a very useful and informative group of wine reviews. My contribution is usually a single wine review based on the theme, but this time I've decided to do something a little different.

As regular readers know, I regularly attend large trade tastings put on by marketing associations and other such organizations to showcase a lot of wines. I'm usually quite good about writing up such tastings within a few weeks of their occurrence, even though they represent a huge amount of effort to transcribe my scribbling into a coherent list of wines and their rankings and prices. Given that effort, It will probably surprise no one that there are occasionally such events that I just never get around to writing up.

Well, about six months ago, Portugal came to town. Or rather, the Portuguese Trade and Tourism Office and wine marketing association ViniPortugal came to town with about 60 producers in tow, and they put on a tasting of wine for the trade and the media.

I went, took some notes, and then promptly was overwhelmed with work and never got around to writing them up. Well, when the 38th edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday rolled around, and the hosts Ryan and Gabriella who run the web site Catavino.Net decided that the theme was to be Portuguese table wines (i.e. not Port or Madeira), I had an excuse to dig up my notes and spend some time squinting at my own handwriting and a big excel spreadsheet.

So here you go. My scores for 100 Portuguese wines tasted in April of this year. I'm not a huge port fan, so I pretty much avoided it and stuck to the dry table wines of the red and white variety.

In general, I have to say that I was fairly disappointed with the quality of the wines. There were a few decent ones, as you can see below, but there were no wines that really lit me up and got me excited. Granted, a few of the top producers, most notably Quinta do Crasto were absent from the tasting, but I expected more from these wines. My guess is that after centuries of making sweet dessert wines the country is just starting to figure out the potential of making high quality dry table wines and that they've definitely got a ways to go. However, they've got some great grape varieties, and some amazing heritage (i.e. very old) vines, so it's only a matter of time before we see a larger number of stupendous wines coming out of Portugal.

Some notes on the info below -- there was a language barrier for a number of vintners, which leads me to believe that some of the prices they gave me were not reliable. I asked for the retail price, but in some cases the prices you see here may be the wholesale price, especially when the price listed is between $3 and $5. Anything above $10 I'm fairly sure is the retail price.

And because a lot of these names are unfamiliar, I'll remind you of my naming convention for wines, so you can parse out the wines below:

YEAR - Producer Name - "Wine Name or Designation" - Varietal, Region/Quality Designation.

Enjoy.


SCORES FOR WHITE WINES


WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2004 Monte Seis Reis Boa Memória Antão Vaz, Regional Alentejo. $7

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9
NV Aveleda Alvarinho, DOC Vinho Verde. $10
2005 Campolargo Arinto, DOC Bairrada. $12
NV SoGrape "Gazela", DOC Vinho Verde. $7

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
NV Aveleda Vinho Verde Red Blend,. $8
2007 Famega Arinto / Azal, DOC Vinhos Verdes. $7
2004 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Herdade Das Fontes" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $5
2005 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Fonte Mouro Colheita Seleccionada" Antão Vaz, Regional Alentejo. $8
2005 Quinta da Cortezia "Vinha Conchas" White Blend, Regional Estremadura. $??
2006 Quinta Da Lagoalva de Cima "Talhão" White Blend, Regional Ribatejo. $6

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 and 8.5
2006 Adega Cartuxa "Ea" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $8
2006 Casa Cadaval "Padre Pedro" White Blend, Regional Ribatejo. $8
2006 Herade do Esporão "Vinha Da Defesa" White Blend, DOC Alentejo. $9
2005 Manoel D. Poças Junior Vinhos "Coroa D'ouro" White Blend, DOC Porto. $5
2006 Monte do Trevo Herdade "Dos Grous" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $7
2005 Montez Champalimaud "Paço Teixeiró" White Blend, DOC Vinhos Verde. $9
2006 Sociedade Agricola D. Diniz "Fonte Da Serrana" Antão Vaz / Arinto, Regional Alentejo. $9

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2005 Adega Cartuxa "Cartuxa" White Blend, DOC Alentejo. $12
NV Aveleda Casal "Garcia" Red Blend, DOC Vinho Verde. $7
2005 Aveleda "Maria Gomes" Chardonnay, DOC Bairrada. $9
2005 Aveleda "Quinta Da Aveleda" White Blend, DOC Vinho Verde. $7
2006 Dao Sul "Cabriz Coheita" Seleccionada White Blend $9
2006 Herade do Esporão Verdelho, Regional Alentejo. $11

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7.5 and 8
2005 Adega Cartuxa "Floral De Évora" Assario / Roupeiro, DOC Alentejo. $9
2006 Casa Santos Limas C.S.L Arinto, Regional Estremadura. $5
2006 Enoforum "Alentex" White Blend, DOC Alentejo. $7
2006 Sociedade Agricola Encosta do Guadiana "Herdade Das Albernoas" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $5

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2006 Casa de Vila Verde "Minho" Alvarinho. $12
2005 Companhia Das Quintas "Prova Regia" Arinto, DOC Estremadura. $6
2006 Sociedade Agricola Encosta do Guadiana "Herdade Paços Do Conde" Antão Vaz / Arinto, Regional Alentejo. $7

WHITE WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7 and 7.5
2006 Companhia Das Quintas "Forgotten Field" Arinto / Chardonnay, Regional Estremadura. $3
2005 Enoforum "Porta Do Castelo" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $5
2005 Esquila Wines "Nomisma" Antão Vaz / Arinto, Regional Alentejo. $16

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7
2006 Casa de Vila Verde, White Blend, DOC Vinho Verde. $12
NV Dao Sul "Cabriz Bruto" Bical / Malvazia Fina,. $11

WHITE WINES WITH A SCORE BELOW 7
2005 Esquila Wines "Dignitas" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $6
2004 Companhia Das Quintas Calhandriz Moscatel / Arinto, Regional Estremadura. $2.5
2006 Terras Do Alter "Fado" White Blend, Regional Alentejo. $12
NV Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos "Lancers White Table Wine." $6


SCORES FOR PINK WINES

2005 Montez Champalimaud "Paço Teixeiró" Rosé, DOC Douro. Score: 8. $9
NV Jose Maria da Fonseca "Vinhos Lancers" Rosé. Score: 6.5. $6


SCORES FOR RED WINES


RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 9
2005 Campolargo "Termeão" Red Blend, DOC Bairrada. $20
2004 Herade do Esporão Touriga Nacional Touriga Nacional, Regional Alentejo. $13
2003 Herade do Esporão "Private Selection" Alicante Bouschet / Aragonês, DOC Alentejo. $25
2004 PV Vt'04 Touriga Nacional, DOC Douro. $60
2005 PV Vt'04 Touriga Nacional, DOC Douro. $60
2001 Quinta do Carmo Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $25
2003 Quinta do Carmo "Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $50
2003 Quinto do Portal "Grande Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $35
2003 Symington Family Estates "Chryseia" Red Blend, DOC Duoro . $70

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8.5 and 9
2004 Azamor Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $18
2004 Azamor Selected Vines Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $28
2003 Bacalhoa "Só" Touriga Nacional, Regional Terras Do Sado. $30
1999 Caves Vidigal "Reserva" Aragonês, Regional Estremadura. $31.25
2004 Herade do Esporão "Vinha Da Defesa" Red Blend, DOC Alentejo. $11
2004 Herade do Esporão Aragonês, Regional Alentejo. $16
2004 Porta do Fontelo "Dom Divino" Red Blend, DOC Dão. $5
2002 Quinta do Carmo Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $25
2003 Quinto do Portal "Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $25
2003 Symington Family Estates "Roriz Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $25
2000 UDACA Red Blend, DOC Dão. $8
2003 Vicente Leite de Faria Gloria "Colheita Seleccionada" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $17
2003 Vicente Leite de Faria Gloria "Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $32

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8.5
2004 Azamor Petite Verdot, Regional Alentejo. $25
2005 Bacalhoa "Tinto Da Anfora" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $15
2004 Caves Vidigal "Reserva" Syrah, Regional Estremadura. $19.625
2003 Cortes de Cima Cortes De Cima Touriga Nacional Touriga Nacional, Regional Alentejo. $??
2003 Cortes de Cima Cortes De Cima "Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $??
2001 Esquila Wines "Dignitas Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $??
2003 Esquila Wines "Dignitas Escolha" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $??
2004 Herade do Esporão "Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Alentejo. $??
NV Quinta de Ventozelo "Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $??
2004 Symington Family Estates "Post Scriptum" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $24
2005 Symington Family Estates "Prazo De Roriz" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $12
2004 Vicente Leite de Faria "Animus" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $12
2004 Vinhos do Douro Superior "Quinta Do Côa" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $15
2004 Vinhos do Douro Superior "Quinta Do Côa Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $22

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 8 and 8.5
2003 Bacalhoa "Quinta Da Bacalhoa" Cabernet Sauvignon / Merlot, Regional Terras Do Sado. $26
2004 Campolargo "Os Corvos Da Vinha Da Costa" Red Blend, DOC Bairrada . $??
2005 Casa Cadaval Trincadeira, DOC Ribatejo. $19
2005 Herade do Esporão "Monte Velho" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $7
2005 Monte do Trevo "Herdade Dos Grous" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $8
2003 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Fonte Mouro Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $8
2003 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Fonte Mouro Garrafeira" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $15
2001 Porta do Fontelo Red Blend, DOC Dão. $4
2005 Symington Family Estates "Bomfim Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $12

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 8
2005 Casa Cadaval Pinot Noir, Regional Ribatejo. $??
2003 Hardade do Meio "Garrafeira" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $??
2005 Monte do Trevo "Herdade Dos Grous Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $25
2003 Monte Seis Reis "Reserva" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $28
2001 UDACA Adro Da Sé "Reserva" Red Blend, DOC Dão. $??

RED WINES SCORING BETWEEN 7.5 and 8
2004 Campolargo Pinot Noir, DOC Bairrada. $15
2004 Casa Santos Limas Pinot Noir / Touriga Nacional, Regional Estremadura. $??
2004 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Herdade Da Figueirinha" Red Blend, Regional Alentejo. $?
2003 Montez Champalimaud "Quinta Do Côtto" Red Blend, DOC Douro. $15
2004 UDACA "Irreverente" Red Blend, Regional Beiras. $??

RED WINES WITH A SCORE AROUND 7.5
2004 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Herdade Das Fontes" Trincadeira / Cabernet Sauvignon, Regional Alentejo. $??
2004 Monte Novo e Figueirinha "Herdade Da Figueirinha" Syrah, Regional Alentejo. $??

RED WINES SCORING AROUND 7 or BELOW
2001 Montez Champalimaud "Côtto Grande Escolha" Touriga Nacional / Tinta Roriz, DOC Douro. $35
2000 Companhia Das Quintas Pegos "Claros" Castelão, DOC Setúbal. $3

Comments (10)

Gretchen wrote:
10.11.07 at 6:46 AM

Hmmm, interestingly enough I just purchased a 2006 Aveleda Vinho Verde... I can't wait to try it out now!

10.11.07 at 3:03 PM

Wow! Just in time to use that Portugese Language wine whatchamacallit! :^)

Dean Tudor wrote:
10.11.07 at 3:27 PM

October 9 was G7 day in Toronto, Canada -- the G7 are a group of upscale Portuguese producers who have banded together for marketing purposes. There were about 50 table wines on display...

**** Four Stars (90 - 93):

- Quinta da Garrida Reserva 2003 Alianca ($24.95, PMA Canada)

- Quinta das Baceladas Bairrada 2004 Alianca ($21.95, PMA Canada)

- Quinta dos Quatro Ventos Douro 2005 ($27.95, PMA Canada)

- Aveleda Follies Alvarinho 2006 ($15.95, Vintages)

- Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional/Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($22, Maxxium)

- Tinto da Anfora Grande Escolha 2005 Bacalhoa ($40, FWP Trading)

- Palacio da Bacalhoa 2004 ($45, FWP Trading)

- Esporao Reserve White 2006 Finagra ($17.95, Vintages)

- Esporao Reserve Red 2004 Finagra ($25.95, Vintages)

- Periquita White 2006 Jose Maria da Fonseca ($9.45, P. Dandurand)

- Quinta de Camarate 2005 Fonseca ($14.95, P. Dandurand)

- Dao Quinta de Penedo 2006 Messias ($21.95, Signature)


*** Three Stars (86 - 89)

- Quinta da Garrida Dao 2004 Alianca ($13.95, PMA Canada)

- Charambra 2005 Aveleda Douro ($8.65, General List)

- Aveleda Follies Chardonnay/Maria Gomes 2006 ($18.95, Vintages)

- Meia Pipa 2005 Bacalhoa ($15.15, FWP Trading)

- So Touriga 2003 Bacalhoa ($24.80, FWP Trading)

- Monte Velho Red 2006 Finagra ($12.95, Vintages)

- Vinha da Defesa Red 2005 ($22.71 licensee, FWP Trading)

- Periquita Reserva 2004 Fonseca ($14.95, P. Dandurand)

- Quinta do Cachao Touriga Franca 2004 Douro Messias ($21.45, Signature)

- Quinta do Cachao Grande Escolha 2004 Douro Messias ($23.45, Signature)

Luis B wrote:
10.14.07 at 12:11 PM

I was somewhat surprised with the low score of the 2001 Montez Champalimaud "Côtto Grande Escolha". The "Cotto Grande Escolha" were highly regarded in Portugal in the 1990's (and priced accordingly), as far as I remember and I have not tried for quite some time. I tried the 1994 "Grande Escolha", maybe 5 years ago and found it a bit overrated, but maybe it was already past its prime. If it is not too much to ask, does anyone have any specific comments on this one?

G Green wrote:
10.14.07 at 1:25 PM

Just finishing "Judgement of Paris" where George Taber gives stats on massive 1990-2003 decline in export and production of european wine. Portugal production is down 36% over the period, and is now exporting 57% less than in 1990! Even France is down 25%. More telling is that internal consumption is down 20% in each country, the kids drink less. Most consumption decline is in simple table wines, but the boutique wine biz is hardly flourishing. With low labor costs and good local knowledge of the grape, I cannot understand why more is not being done to invigorate the Portuguese wine industry. I imagine language is a huge obstacle, but opportunity is opportunity. In 2006 I spent a couple weeks in Portugal and in all fairness much local wine is bad, but much is also good. Act now or condos will cover the land forever.

Troy wrote:
10.15.07 at 2:38 AM

Thanks for the wealth of info! Just a head's up on the pricing: only a few Portuguese wines have managed to gather an international following. That's why Chryseia, Quinta do Crasto, and a few others have such high prices. The vast majority, however, are extremely inexpensive. When these representatives say that the price is 3 to 5 dollars a bottle, they are not kidding. That is the retail price in Portugal. Once you factor in shipping and middlemen, it gets a little higher for buyers overseas (and the bigger name producers were probably quoting retail in the U.S.). The Monte Velho, by the way, is Herdade de Esporao's entry-level wine. Usually sells for about 2 euros here in Lisbon, but I see it marked at $12.95 by one of the other posters. My point -- as slow as I am in making it -- is that there are some incredible bargains out there for great Portuguese wines. While you may have been underwhelmed overall (there are some weak entries in there; I refer to them as "sangria ingredients"), there are some great ones too.

G Green wrote:
10.15.07 at 8:31 AM

Question for Troy: The only reds I tasted worth remembering were Touriga Nacional, and these seem to feature in the Alder list above. As a resident are there other red grapes the Portuguese do well? Most I found were 12.5%, some Touriga were at 14%+. For the readers: Touriga is the grape Port is made from (as I understand it).

Paulie wrote:
10.25.07 at 1:03 AM

Hi,

This tasting information on Portuguese wines is truly exceptional. Kudos to you! I am a true wine buff and yet each day I learn something new about wine.

Regards,
Paulie

Luis wrote:
08.21.08 at 5:03 AM

I must say these wines - listed here - are far from beeing top-quality portuguese wines.

Some hints from a Portuguese:

- Murganheira Espumante ( http://www.murganheira.com/)

- Pera Manca (red and White)

- Barca Velha (if you can get your hands in one of these you grab it hard!)

- Quinta Nova -Grande Reserva 2005

- Tapada de Coelheiros Tinto

- Dão PAPE 2002

- Quinta dos Carvalhais Único 2005

- Herdade do Peso Vinha do Monte (Branco) 2007

- Herdade do Peso Vinha do Monte (Tinto) 2005

- Preta 2005 (tinto from fita preta)

....

jorge correia wrote:
03.15.10 at 5:26 PM

I am really sorry, but this table is too far from having a wine that we portuguese consider good. It's only avarege and low quality wine. Please try BARCA VELHA, PERA MANCA, MOUCHAO TONEL 3-4, BATUTA, QUINTA DO CRASTO, DUAS QUINTAS RESERVA ESPECIAL,CHRYSEIA,VALE MEAO. These wines will sure excite you a lot!! Top quality in every year!

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