Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Boston Wine Expo: Top 3 Portuguese Wines

With a limited amount of time at the Grand Tasting of the Boston Wine Expo, you can only sample a small percentage of the wines that are available. I always make time to taste some of the Portuguese wines, as they offer some excellent values, as well as great taste. 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.

This year, I asked them to choose me their top three wines, with the only caveat that they must be produced only from indigenous grapes. As you will see, the choices are all excellent values, and show a diversity of purpose. I enjoyed the taste of all three and believe the recommendations were well chosen  These wines would make a very good and affordable introduction for any wine lover to the wonders of Portuguese red wines,.

2011 DFJ Vinhos Vega Douro Red ($9.99)
We start off with an inexpensive, easy-drinking quaffer, a wine that is enjoyable on its own but which also would be a pleasant accompaniment for burgers or pizza. The Vega is a blend of three grapes, including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz. The wine is aged for about 3 months in new French barrels and then spends another 3 months in the bottle. I found the wine to be smooth with bright red fruit flavors and a touch of vanilla. It possesses more character than many similarly priced wines, and I could easily drink it on its own. I also would pair with many plenty of casual meals. We have been in the middle of a rough winter, but I look forward to sparking up the BBQ and this wine would be a nice choice on that day.

2011 Quinta da Padrela Red ($12.99)
The second wine costs a few dollars more but is still a very affordable option, and worth every penny. This wine is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca, and Touriga Nacional,and was aged for about 12 months in French oak barrels. This is another smooth, easy drinking wine but with the addition of some restrained tannins and spicy elements. There is still plenty of tasty red fruit flavors, but also a bit of ripe plum. Though you could drink this wine on its own, I think it might be better paired with food, though again it only needs something simple, from pizza to tacos. This would also be an excellent BBQ wine, so stock up now for the upcoming summer.

2011 Adega de Borba Cork Label Reserve ($18-$19)
For the final wine, the price increases several dollars more, but it's still under $20. A blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet, the wine spends about 12 months in 3rd & 4th year French oak, and then another 6 months in the bottle. This is the biggest wine of the three yet it is still silky smooth, with lush black fruit flavors and a long, spicy finish. There is a herbal undertone with an exotic element that will tantalize and intrigue your palate. It provides the most complexity of the three wines, and its balanced taste will please almost any wine lover. It is worth the higher price, though this wine definitely would benefit from a food pairing, such as a nice steak or lamp chop.

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