Portugal… the Grape
A while back, I posted a pretty lengthy read detailing the different wines from Spain, a little known powerhouse in the wine industry.
Similarly to Spanish wines, Portuguese wines have historically been overlooked as well. There are the few customers I know who swear by certain inexpensive varietals specific to Portugal.
From Madeira, to Douro, to another unpronounceable-yet-cool grape varietal, Portugal literally has hundreds of “types” of grapes… sometimes even within the same vineyard.
Also, lest we forget, the wine known as port; the fortified wine (read – concentrated, like orange juice before you add the water to the Creamsicle content within the can) was invented because of Portugal’s excellent grapes.
Cranberry Liquors invites you to “Forget what you know about Portuguese wine”
because you are likely missing out on some awesome bottles. Plus, this time of year can be budget -challenging on an island that is 3/4th’s of the way shut until May. (Insert clever Winter Wine Sale marketing here. 20%! All February! Get your wines, here. Drive in, call in… jk)
TLDR: If you want really, really good, “Old World” wine on a scamp budget, I would lead you by the hand to our Portuguese wines.
We’ve got wine that is friendly to both your wallet and your palette.
My reasoning? Similarly to the highly underrated wines from Spain, wines from Portugal are:
- 1. Dominion controlled ( hence the D.O.C. on certain labels.)
- 2. Highly undervalued
- 3. The best and freshest wine on the market, especially if your palette is privy to Old World Wine.
1. Dominion controlled. What does it mean?
Like tequila, or anything that is awesome, certain precautions must be taken to ensure a standard of excellence.
Similarly to tequila, Portuguese wine is classified by region as well as preservation (age) status. Without quality control there is no standard of quality!
2. Highly Undervalued
Most of Spain’s grapes get exported to chi-chi countries like France. In this same way, because Portugal wines are less “cool”, much more emphasis is placed upon the wine quality… as opposed to say, the label around the bottle.
3. Wines hailing from this part of South America are as fresh as Bel-Air’s Prince.
Vino Verde – if you haven’t heard of it, get familiar! I recommend them highly to our white wine drinkers. Vino Verde is the Portuguese equivalent to a French white table wine. Dry (but not too dry) and not sweet.
But onto the red wines! Cranberry Liquor has selected 4 of our best, least expensive wines from Portugal.
Starting at the top of the alphabetical list we’ve got
Colossal, by Casa Santos Lima
At 10.99 a bottle, it is hard to screw this decision up…
From Wine Spectator:
“Colossal Red Reserva 2014 is made from a blend of three different grapes: Syrah, Touriga Nacional, and Alicante Bouschet. Alicante is often found as a blending grape in wines from the Rhone Valley in France.
Touriga Nacional is a typical Portuguese grape, also used in Ports, and Syrah is a modern choice to use as part of a blend in Portugal. In fact you could look at this wine as a Portuguese homage to a Rhone Valley red!”
Rated at 1 point higher than the coveted 90 points, this Colossal Riserva is not to be missed.
Prefer a fruitier wine? I get it, I love my perfume because it smells like blackberries and raspberries. I definitely fall into this category.
As a result, I would steer you to the Paxis red blend. This wine is another 90+ points wine (actually, all four of these wines are.) This vintage (is an awesome flipping vintage) is older and may appreciate a ride in your decanter. Sediment aside, the un-corking of such a vintage is worth the wait.
Last two? A D.O.C. “Dao” by Grilos (a personal favorite), which is often compared to French Burgundy, except without the French Burgundy price tag.
Also, we have LAB, a highly recommended vintage and varietal with a blend of grapes native to Portugal.
IMPORTANT STORY-time: Once I had a customer who was determined to buy “French Pinot Noir” and I’d be damned if I let the challenge beat me. It turns out, French Burgundy is another way to say “FRENCH Pinot Noir”.
If you liken yourself to a good pinot noir, a lighter, fruiter red wine that can stand on its own, unaccompanied by an entrée you are probably going to have your mind blown by an Old World red “table wine.”
Why might I suggest this? Considering the facts that:
Old World Wines lack the “stringency” (or bitter/ makes-your-mouth-go-mlah taste) that certain domestic reds have.
This has a lot to do with the aging and barreling process of these wines… without calling any of our domestics out, or, to put it another way…
Maybe your 12 dollar red just got replaced by a more pleasing 12 dollar red “table” wine from our Portuguese underdogs, if only because the varietal of grapes is such a better buy for the money…
And if you’re wondering how I can make such an assumption about that ~ let’s assume you aren’t stuck in your ways (no shade!**) ~ perhaps consider what I said before regarding “dominion controlled” territories and the consequential regulations therein. As lame as it is for the winemakers, these regulations prevents marketing ploys from trumping good quality… at least, for now.
(**my mom may be French, but I see her drinking La Vielle Ferme!)