Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Boston Wine Expo: Wines of Portugal

Every year at the Grand Tasting of the Boston Wine Expo, I make time to stop by the LGL Imports tables, to check out their diverse portfolio of Portuguese wines. And every year, I find delicious wines, which are often excellent values too. I always recommend that my friends and readers stop by their tables, to discover the wonders of Portuguese wine. Last year, two wines from LGL Imports made my 2016 Top Ten Wines Under $15.

As I've said before: "I love the fact that Portugal possesses an abundance of intriguing indigenous grapes, which can provide a unique taste to their wines. You can find tasty Portuguese wines for under $10 which are better than similarly priced wines from most any other wine region. Portugal is rich in vinous history, and their wines pair very well with an abundance of foods. If you're not drinking Portuguese wines, you need to rush out and sample them."

Please also check out All About Portuguese Wines to find links to my myriad of previous articles about the wines of Portugal, including Port.

Caves Messias, located in the Bairrada region of Portugal, was founded in 1926 and produces a variety of wines from Dão, Bairrada, Douro, Vinho Verde, Beiras, Terras do Sado and Vinho do Porto. Their Dry White Port is made from a blend of Malvasia Fina, Rabigato, and Códega grapes, and presents fascinating flavors. Lightly sweet, with pleasant honey and dried fruit notes, there are some intriguing spice notes, all which create a nice complexity. With nice acidity and a lengthy finish, it is a well-balanced wine which you could enjoy on its own, or with a nice cheese plate. You might also want to create a favorite Portuguese drink, White Port & Tonic.

Founded in 1955, Adega de Borba, was the first cooperative in the Alentejo region and currently consists of about 300 associates whose vineyards cover a total area of 2,200 hectares, distributed in 65% in red grape varieties and 35% in white grape varieties.

I tasted their 2014 Montes Clares Reserva Tinto ($13.99), having previously enjoyed the 2010 vintage. This new vintage is a blend of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tinta Caiada, which was matured for about 12 months in new French and American oak and then 6 additional months in the bottle. With rich flavors of plum and blackberry, there was a strong spicy undertone with a subtle earthy element, especially on the finish. Tannins are manageable and it has a fairly lengthy finish, especially for such a value wine. Pair this wine with meat, from wild boar to steaks, though it would work with a juicy burger as well.

The 2013 Adega de Borba Reserve ($18-$19) is another wine of which I previously tasted an older vintage, the 2011. A blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet, the wine spends about 12 months in French oak, and then another 6 months in the bottle. Like the prior vintage, this is a delicious, complex wine and an excellent value. Though it is a powerful wine in some respects, that power is restrained within a velvet glove, presenting a silky smooth taste. There are lush black fruit flavors, plenty of intriguing spice notes, and some exotic herbal accents. This is another wine which would benefit from pairing with meat dishes. It is an impressive wine and one I highly recommend.

Vallegre, with five generation of family in the Douro region, produces Port wines and Douro DOC table wines. They own 3 estates in the Douro region, with approximately 100 hectares of vineyards, and some of the vines at Quinta da Vista Alegre are over 80 years old.

Their 2012 Costa Do Pombal Red ($8-$10) is made from a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Barroca. It is a fruity and easy drinking wine, with low tannins, a hint of spice, and a pleasing finish. An excellent value wine, and you'll be hard pressed to find better wines under $10.

The 2012 Quinta Valle Luongo Reserva Red ($14.99) is another excellent value wine. It is made from a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, and Touriga Franca. It has more black fruit flavors, especially plum, with a more prominent spicy component, and more overall complexity. This is a wine that would benefit from pairing with food, and is another price that over-delivers for the price.

Did you taste any compelling Portuguese wines at the Boston Wine Expo?  

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