If one were to come and look at the Portuguese section of my store, the comment is that it’s a great selection and we have a lot! I beg to differ. Although we have some great wines from Portugal (about 35 skus), I’ll always look for, taste, and source more out. Why? Because Portuguese wine in a word, is AWESOME! And it’s so underrated! Those of you who LOVE Port, take a swing at still wine from the Douro, Vinho Verde, Alentejo or Setubal! You won’t regret it! Douro wines are dark, inky, super extracted with lots of dense fruit, but earthy spice notes and herbal notes also. Setubal wines (think Casa Ermalinda) use the Castelao grape in their blends which gives the wines some great structure. Superb!
All of the wines featured here are under $25! Great value coming out of Portugal, and folks just don’t know the quality here!
For your first course appetizer of sautéed shrimp, from Vinho Verde, the Aromas das Castas is one of the prettiest wines I’ve ever tasted. White peach, honeysuckle, orange blossom and apricots from Alvarinho, (Albarino in Spain) accompanied by the Trajadura, which provides the complexity and body to this wine. The perfect combination of two of the most revered grape varietals in the region. Yum, and absolutely perfect for these hot summer days! CAD $23.95.
Your second course, a selection of cheeses; from Alentejo, Adega de Borba is producing some little gems from Aragonez, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet(a cross of Petit Bouschet and Grenache). More powerful than you might think, it is smooth and full-bodied with a fruity fragrance (red plums), with a compote fruit finish and round tannins. And…for CAD $16.95 on my shelf!
The main course is next. A steak with sautéed mushrooms, and double stuffed baked potato; have of sip of this Douro table wine (typically known for Port production). Feuerheerd’s Anchor is made at Barao de Vilar, and winemaker Alvaro van Zeller is working hard to express the grapes in not just port, but in still table wines also. Made with four of the big five port varietals (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca) this an impressive, yet elegant wine. Inky black, this is “fruity elegance” at its finest! And let’s face it…the packaging is pretty cool too. Truly nautical! CAD $23.95
Last, but certainly not least, dessert. The ladies at Casa Ermalinda really have a range of products coming from the Peninsula de Setubal. Made by the Freitas family, these ladies are proud of what they do and what they represent. They have branded themselves with their wines being among the favourites of the Portuguese National Mens Soccer Team. After an important win, it’s wine from Casa Ermalinda that will grace their celebrations. That’s cool. And as far as dessert wines go, how many do you actually see in a 750 mL? They are typically 500 or 375 mL, this is a FULL size bottle of yumminess. Made with Moscatel, you’ll sense notes of orange, honey and sweet nuts. Balanced with great acidity, this wine may be sweet, but certainly not cloying. Not that you’d want to, but you could keep this wine for 20 years! Pour yourself an aperitif size of this stunner and finish off your evening pairing it with creme caramel infused with orange blossom and garnished with orange peel and toasted almonds. It will be a match made in heaven! You won’t believe the price: CAD $22.95
Well, that’s it folks. I hope I’ve been able to give you a just a small taste of what Portugal is producing. And really, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Take a trip to your local wine store and peruse the Portuguese wines. Hopefully, you can find one to your liking and decide for yourself what fabulous wine this country is producing! Cheers!