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Portuguese wine is the gift that keeps on giving.
This small country packs a punch when it comes to wine. It’s not a secret that I adore Portuguese wine and jump at the opportunity to taste it whenever possible. The world needs what Portugal has to offer. Delicious wines made from unique grapes at more than fair price points.
This year, thanks to COVID, it looks like I will miss my annual trip to Portugal. Thankfully, many producers have softened the blow by sending samples to taste. One of those organizations that came to my rescue is the Family Wine Growers Portugal.
Family Wine Growers Portugal
The Family Wine Growers Portugal is an agency that helps smaller producers distribute and export their wine all over the world. They reached out to me and asked me to taste several of the producers they represent. Based on what I tasted, they’ve chosen a fine set of producers for their portfolio.
“We make an assessment based on quality, family heritage, and ability to respond to export processes,” says Dora Caseiro, a co-owner of Family Wine Growers Portugal. “If a producer scores 90% in all of our parameters, we accept to manage their exports.”
All of the wines I tasted for this article show export potential. All of the wines are available in Portugal for less than 17 Euros on the shelf, many of them hovering around or under the 10 Euros range. Around the world, these wines should be able to be found at wallet-friendly prices. When it comes to price-quality, all of these wines deliver. The more Portuguese wine available, the merrier.
Portuguese White Wine
- Valle do Nídeo, Códega do Larinho / Rabigato 2017
The Valle do Nídeo, Códega do Larinho / Rabigato has notes of quince, white apricot, white peach, and a touch of yogurt. Full body and chewy, this tastes like it was barrel fermented. There’s a nice streak of acidity that keeps the palate fresh. Longer finish. This is a rich, full-bodied white in the true Douro style. Score: 90/100
- Valle do Nídeo, Alvarinho / Viosinho 2017
The Valle do Nídeo, Alvarinho / Viosinho is a delicious, bigger style of Alvarinho with some Viosinho blended in for acidity. This has notes of lime, lemon, white flower, and cool yogurt notes. It’s a rich wine with depth and layers. The wine has length and a slight green streak to it along with a flinty, slatey finish. This will be fantastic with shellfish all the way up to creamy chicken dishes. Score: 90+/100
- S. Caetano, Alvarinho 2019
The S. Caetano, Alvarinho is a beautiful crispy white wine and a great value to boot (comes in at under 10 Euros in Porugal). Notes of lime, lemon, and seawater. This has the zesty acidity that is common with the grape on a bigger-bodied frame. This is the perfect shellfish wine. Tangy finish. Score: 90/100
- Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Encruzado Reserva 2017
The Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Encruzado Reserva is from the Dão and partially aged in oak. It’s a gorgeous wine. There are notes of quince, green pear, and white peach along with subtle yogurt and mineral notes. It’s an elegant, medium-bodied white that sits nicely on the palate. Bracing acidity for a barrel-aged wine and a long, salty, and mineral-driven finish. Score: 91/100
- Rama & Selas, Branco Bruto 2017
The Rama & Selas, Branco Bruto is a sparkling wine from Arinto, Chardonnay, and Baga. This has spent 9 months in the bottle. Notes of mineral, white flower, white pear, lemon, and a hint of biscuit. This has a fine bead of bubbles. Fruity and easy to drink with just a hint of complexity. This has a hint of volatile acidity, which adds to the complexity. Crisp and clean finish. Score: 89/100
- Quinta do Convento, Reserva Branco 2018
The Quinta do Convento, Reserva Branco is a barrel-aged blend of Semillon and Arinto. It is shy at first as the wood sticks out at the beginning. As the wine breathes and gains air there are flavors of white flower, white pear, white peach, and white apricot. Oily mouthfeel with well-integrated wood. There is a line of bright acidity that stretches the palate. This is good now but it really built to age. Score: 90+/100
Portuguese Red Wine
- Quinta do Daniel, Douro Reserva 2015
The Quinta do Daniel, Douro Reserva is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and other varieties aged in new oak for 12 months. It’s hard to believe that this is five years old, it smells like really fresh red wine. There are notes of black cherry pie, mulberry, and a little white pepper. It’s a fruit dominant red. Full-bodied and plush it has mouth-coating tannins. The fruit carries through all the way and the alcohol isn’t felt. Easy drinking, full-bodied red now but it has the potential to improve in the cellar. Score: 89/100
- S. Caetano, Vinhão 2018
The S. Caetano, Vinhão is a unique Vinho Verde Tinto made from Vinhão aka Sousão. Dark and inky with notes of blackberry, black raspberry, black cherry, and a hint of black licorice. On the first sniff, you might think that it’s a big, brooding red but there is plenty of acidity here. The acid isn’t searing like many examples of the grape can be but there’s enough of it. Soft tannins and a refreshing, fresh red to sip on without fuss. Score: 87/100
- Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Signature 2015
The Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Signature is a brilliant red wine. Made from Touriga Nacional aged in French oak. This isn’t a big bomb, there’s plenty of fruit here but it doesn’t overwhelm you with ripeness. Flavors of blackberry, black raspberry, black tea, menthol, and gravel. There’s enough fruit upfront with subtle complexities on the backend. The tannins build slowly but are never too dry. High acidity that should ensure this has a long life ahead. They call Dão the Burgundy of Portugal and one taste of this will tell you why. Score: 92/100
- Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Premium Touriga Nacional 2016
The Chão de São Francisco, ‘Chão da Quinta’ Premium Touriga Nacional is another delicious Touriga Nacional aged in French oak. The nose draws you in right away with the notes of blackberry, red raspberry, crushed flowers, and pine. It’s a dark, inky red wine that is generous on the palate right from the first sip. The tannins are chewy and sweet, which feel great in the mouth. This is a beauty to drink now. Score: 91/100
- Rama & Selas, Tinto Reserva 2015
The Rama & Selas, Tinto Reserva is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Baga, Syrah, and Merlot. It’s a wine that has resisted aging with notes of blackberry, black cherry, and a touch of tobacco & pencil lead. It’s a big, fruity wine that has the oak under control. There’s a mouthful of fruit up front with some grippy tannins on the back end. It’s a delicious red but doesn’t have the refinement to be great but it doesn’t have to be. At this price, this is a real winner. Score: 89/100
- Quinta do Convento, Tinto 2018
The Quinta do Convento, Tinto is a blend of Caledoc and Touriga Nacional. This is beautiful and very Portuguese in flavor. Notes of blackberry, black raspberry, bramble, stems, and pepper notes. This has plenty of ripe fruit but it isn’t a big wine, it’s more medium-bodied. Chewy tannins and vibrant acidity. Delicious and accessible. Score: 89/100
- Quinta do Convento, Tinto Reserva 2007
Quinta do Convento, Tinto Reserva is a blend of Syrah and Touriga Nacional aged in French oak. There is beautiful development here with notes of leather, tobacco, dried raspberry, dried cherry, and pepper. The palate still has substantial tannins and an earthy finish. There’s plenty of plush, developed fruit with high acidity. It acts almost Pinot Noir-esque. If you want the taste of aged wine that doesn’t break the bank, this is worth checking out. Score: 91/100
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Thanks to the Family Wine Growers Portugal and the wineries for arranging samples to be sent. The opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.