Saturday, January 25, 2014

Wine Reviews: Portugal, Land of Diversity and Value

This complex and terroir-drived Vinho Verde was the
biggest surprise of the tasting. And it's only $23!
Whether it’s easy-sipping aperitifs, complex oak-aged whites or rich reds, you can find it in Portugal. And you don’t need to spend a fortune. (Vintage Port is the notable exception, but the 2011 Vintage Port in this report is still a steal at $80.) These wines — just a drop in the Portuguese bucket — were received as trade samples and tasted sighted for a report in the daily wine blog Terroirist.  

2012 Gazela Vinho Verde - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $7
Slight fizz. Aromas of grapefruit, lime and a slight herbal note. Tangy and fresh, with very fine bubbles. The grapefruit, lemon and margarita salt flavors are bright and easy. Seems like a perfect summer beach wine. (85 points)

2012 Quinta de Gomariz Loureiro Vinho Verde Colheita Seleccionada - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $14
A straw-slightly grassy color. Bursting with lemon, pineapple, honeysuckle and minerals on the nose. Starts off with a big dose of acid, but the creamy fruit comes in to back it up (green melon, pineapple, apricot). I like the kick of minerals and the dried honey and white tea aspects to this wine. Crisp, very clean and refreshing. (86 points)

2011 Aphros Vinho Verde Daphné - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $23
Nose smells of apricot, white peach, and an aroma that reminds me newly unpackaged rubber. There’s also an oily, hazelnut aroma as well. Crisp, medium+ acid with some richness to the body. Delicious green apple, white peach, lime and fresh apricot, accented with sea salt, oyster shells. Also some nutty, creamy, whipped honey aspects. Clean, floral, mineral-driven. A beautiful Vinho Verde, 100% Loureiro, fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in old oak and chestnut barrels. Has the mineral and oceanic elements of a granite soil Muscadet and the stone fruit purity of a Mosel Riesling. I’m seriously impressed. (91 points)

2012 Quinta da Raza Alvarinho Grande Escolha - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Regional MinhoSRP: $11
Pale straw color. Aromas of melon, guava, and some sea salt and lime aspects. Tangy on the palate, with creamy honey, green melon, lime. There’s some real pop and punch to this white. High acid but juicy and waxy in texture. A great wine to have with salads. (87 points)

2010 Casal do Paço Padreiro Vinho Verde Afros Silenus - Portugal, Minho, Vinho Verde
SRP: $?
A magenta-purple color. Wonderfully smoky and meaty on the nose, with pepper, dried flowers and pickling spices. Wow, the acid is so tart on the palate, but there’s enough dusty tannin to fight back. Mineral-driven, with black cherry and tart cranberry fruit, backed up by green and black pepper, pickling spices and charcoal. A tingling and tart wine. I love it, and I’d love it even more with some grilled sausage and peppers. From the Vinhão grape. (89 points)

2010 Quinta de Roriz Douro Prazo de Roriz - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $16
Nose shows bright cherries and cranberries on the nose, with some roses, anise and earth. Fully-bodied with tangy acid, chewy tannins tannins. Currant fruit leads the way, and I get a lot of earth smoke and iron. Some anise and sweet lavender on the finish. Tasty stuff for a great price. A blend of red Port grapes including Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela. (87 points)

2011 Prats and Symington Douro Post Scriptum de Chryseia - Portugal, Douro
SRP: $25
A light purple color. Roasted coffee and smoke accent the plum and black cherry aromas. Nice grit from the tannins but freshness comes from the acid. The black cherry and plum fruit is pure and crisp, backed up by coffee, rich loam and a pleasant dose of vanilla and cinnamon. The finish is long and delicious. Impressive structure, this wine has some staying power. A blend of 56% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 7% Tinta Barroca and 7% Tinta Roriz. (89 points)

2011 Sandeman Porto Vintage - Portugal, Douro, Porto
SRP: $80
Dark, lush purple color. Aromas of brandied plums, blackberry jam, charcoal and violets. So full and big on the palate, with prune and blackberry fruit mixed with sweet coconut shavings and chocolate. A deep sense of crushed rocks and granite. Sweet and saucy but still fresh. Long, full, intense finish. So good, but so young. If you got married in 2011, bury some of this for your 30th! The first declared vintage since 2007, and it’s awesome. (92 points)

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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