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#390413 - 09-20-2019 10:30:32 Portugal
fraser Offline

Registered: 02-25-2004 00:27:03
Posts: 941
Loc: Seattle

I just returned from two weeks in Northern Portugal. The consistency of the wine quality combined with the low prices and wonderful balance shown by the wines made for a fabulous vinous experience.

Everywhere we went, the wines were good and very appropriate. Never hit a bad wine once. The balance and smoothness on the wines was fabulous - no apparent oak, nothing freaky ripe, nothing sticking out awkwardly. Just plain old good wine. Even in basic places. The prices were mind boggling at times - $5 for a wonderful bottle in a restaurant. The wine service, no matter what the price or whether just a glass, was professional, to an extent I don't see here in the US normally.

We drank mostly Douro wine. Earlier experiences drinking Portuguese wine in the US revealed wines similar in profile to Cotes du Rhone but with unfamiliar flavors. Unfortunately in my experience, those wines never came together in their finish like Rhone ones easily do. This was not the case on this trip - the profile was different than Phone and the wines were integrated with smooth finishes. And they pair well with fish!

I would recommend Bacchus Vini (wine bar) in Porto, directly underneath the Luis I Bridge on the Porto side. I had a tasting of three Douro Reserva wines, which ended up being my favorites of the whole trip. The owner explained some basics to me - the Douro uses only native Portuguese grapes whereas the Alentejo can use foreign grapes. Dao is the most age worthy but he spoke of some of the Douro Reserva wines aging well as well. He predicted a big upsurge in the quality of the Dao region in 2 years without explanation.

We walked into Spain for a day where we had our only poor quality wines. In addition, the oakiness of the Riojas was a stark contract to what we had been drinking. I do like Rioja but at the time was preferring the Douro wines for their lack of oakiness. For our first lunch overlooking the harbor in a small Spanish town, I had partridge salad with dried figs and nuts. Had to try that!!

We drank a bit of Vinho Verde, which I really enjoyed. I know it doesn't enjoy the greatest reputation but after walking all day in the heat, the slight frizziness and its refreshing aspect was totally enjoyable. It reminded me a bit of some of the exotic flavors I smell in my wife's IPAs or even of an orange wine. My wife kept enthusiastically asking me if we could get Vinho Verde in the states (yes, at our local wine store).

I also had a rose that was made from the Touriga Nacional grape that was the best rose I've ever had. I don't drink alot of rose but this was much more intense than any rose I've had with unique flavors and rather smokey. Tasted twice with consistent results.


Edited by fraser (09-20-2019 12:30:30)

#390424 - 09-27-2019 15:14:41 Re: Portugal [Re: fraser]
fraser Offline

Registered: 02-25-2004 00:27:03
Posts: 941
Loc: Seattle
We enjoyed this old vines wine several times in Porto. I believe it's an oboe on the label.



Edited by fraser (09-27-2019 15:15:53)

#390452 - 10-12-2019 09:02:51 Re: Portugal [Re: fraser]
fraser Offline

Registered: 02-25-2004 00:27:03
Posts: 941
Loc: Seattle
Trying Douro wines locally was a mixed bag. Total Wine had a nice lineup of Douro wines but were too oaky and too New World-y for me. But the underlying material was solid and might age into nice wines.

From two local stores, the most expensive, La Rosa Reserva, also had very nice underlying fruit but was clearly for the American market,as most of these wines showed more obvious oak than in Portugal. The La Rosa in particular and it was not my favorite although I imagine it would age nicely. At less than half the price, the Vale da Raposa Reserva 2016 (Alves de Sousa)was quite nice and I re-ordered some. That was also true for the Pombal Do Vesuvio Douro 2015 from Symington. We also enjoyed Sino Da Romaneira Douro 2012


#390485 - 11-04-2019 09:56:11 Re: Portugal [Re: fraser]
Dave Cuneo Offline

Registered: 03-12-2004 15:59:19
Posts: 1533
Loc: Delaware

I LOVE a simple Vinho Verde, both white and rose, especially during the summer. :~)

"When laws become the enemy of men, then men become the enemies of laws".

#390505 - 11-13-2019 14:01:40 Re: Portugal [Re: Dave Cuneo]
fraser Offline

Registered: 02-25-2004 00:27:03
Posts: 941
Loc: Seattle
Agreed. We were walking 8-12 miles a day with medium weight packs in 75-85 degree weather and boy did the Vinho Verde taste good after that. Like a beer. It still tastes pretty good here in the cold weather as well.


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