Saturday, January 6, 2018

Value and Deliciousness in New Releases from Portugal

I’ve been tasting a lot of Portuguese wines lately, which I’m always happy to do. Per usual, I found a bunch of exciting wines, many of which provide absurd levels of quality for the price.

I’ll have a report up soon on some epic Ports and reliable Madeira wines, but in the meantime, this report features solely dry wines, rosés, a white, and a bunch of dry reds. The latter category shines in this report, with many delicious, structured, age-worthy reds coming in with reasonable prices. And if you’re holed up during a crazy cold snap like the one we’ve had here on the East Coast, these Portuguese reds would be a great idea!

These wines were received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2014 Herdade Do Rocim Olho de Mocho Reserva - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $30
Light yellow color. Aroma of rich apples, pears, but also lime zest, honeysuckle, honeycomb, some salted almonds. Creamy texture but lip-smacking acidity, with lemon curd, apricot, yellow pear. Zesty, chalky, lemon verbena, crusty mineral notes mix with olive oil and waxy elements. Fascinating and delicious, it evolves so much with air and time in the glass. Made from Antao Vaz grapes. (91 points)

SRP: $16
Ruby red grapefruit color. So floral and spicy on the nose with white pepper, oregano and rhubarb along with strawberries and red apple peels. Racy but juicy on the palate with wild strawberries, red apple and raspberry. Notes of roses, white pepper, sliced cucumbers, chalky notes. Spicy but fruity, juicy but so refreshing. Made from all Touriga Nacional. (88 points)

2016 Azores Wine Company Vulcânico Rosé - Portugal, Açores, Vinho Regional Açores
SRP: $25
Pale salmon color. Nose of lovely white peaches, red apples, white pepper, rosemary, rhubarb. On the palate, this acidity is so refreshing and spicy, but generous creaminess and plenty of fruit (raspberry, red apple peel, white peach, strawberry). Plenty of white pepper, rhubarb, rose petals, white tea. Delicious, gluggable stuff but impressive depth and complexity. 25% Saborinho, 25% Argonomica, 25% Aragonez, 25% Touriga Nacional. (89 points)

SRP: $20
Rich purple color. Aromas of violets, clove, charcoal on top of black currants and roasted figs. Full-bodied, solid tannic grip but velvety, too, and moderating acidity. The black cherry and crunchy dark plum fruit is mixed with a host of savory spices and herbs (clove, bay leaf, black pepper, sage) and notes of fallen leaves and graphite. Complex, structured, but elegant, too, and so good for the money. A blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, and Tinta Barroca. (89 points)

2013 Adega Cooperativa de Borba Montes Claros Garrafeira - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo, Borba
SRP: $19
Light purple color. Aromas of tart black cherries, juicy blackberry am, along with spicy violets and clove potpourri, smoky earth, coffee, pepper and oak. Bold but suave on the palate (silky tannins, fresh acidity, lovely balance). Plenty of chewy plum and black cherry fruit, jammy but tart, too. Violets, eucalyptus, pepper, charcoal, vanilla, coffee. Plush but complex, fruit-tastic but earth and spicy as well. A blend of Trincadeira, Aragonez, Syrah and Touriga Nacional, aged 12 months in oak and chestnut barrels. (90 points)

2015 Herdade do Esporão Vinho Regional Alentejano Monte Velho - Portugal, Alentejano, Vinho Regional Alentejano
SRP: $9
Rich ruby color. Smells of spicy red and black berry compote, scorched earth, savory herbs and spices. Juicy but bright, fleshy tannins and fresh acidity make for a vibrant, balanced wine. Black cherries and blackberries mix well with smoky herbs, charcoal, vanilla, coffee, some underlying mineral and rocky elements. Nice depth but an accessible wine. A blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. For the money, wow! (88 points)

2014 Esporão Alentejo Reserva - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $28
Rich purple color. Aromas of cool black cherries, blackberries, violets, sweet coffee, dark chocolate shavings and cocoa. Nice grip to the tannins, medium acidity, with suave but chewy plums, black cherry and blackberry fruit, rich but nice tangy edge. Notes of cocoa, earth, spiced coffee, violets, coconut, black pepper. Shows depth and complexity to back up the delicious dark fruit, and I think this should improve nicely over the next 3-5 years. (89 points)

2015 Herdade da Malhadinha Nova Monte da Peceguina - Portugal, Alentejano, Vinho Regional Alentejano
SRP: $19
Deep ruby color. Smells of plush but tart blackberries and black currants, along with violet petals, coffee, eucalyptus and lavender. Push texture on the palate but well-built with tannins and fresh acidity. Black currants, roasted figs, surprisingly deep fruit, with complexities of olive, graphite, dark chocolate shavings, anise and vanilla. The second wine from the Soares’ family, this is surprisingly good for the price. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon. (90 points)

2012 Casa de Mouraz Dão - Portugal, Beiras, Dão
SRP: $19
Light purple color. Aromas of spicy red and black currants, laced with smoky, meaty, leather notes, some cellar dust, olives and lots of earth. Medium+ bodied, smooth but structured tannins, medium-low acidity. Waves of tart black currants and cherries are tossed with pine resin, tobacco pipe, grilled peppered steak, coffee grounds and anise. Deep, complex, impressive, still time ahead. (90 points)

2015 Amareleza Vinhos Piteira Tinto de Talha - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo
SRP: $23
Light purple color. On the nose, a huge burst of sweet plums, blueberry pancake syrup, cola and grape jelly. Medium-bodied, soft tannins, low acidity, this is packed with sweet, candied black and blue fruit and grape bubble gum and jam flavors. Some earth and sweet cola too. More than a bit out of whack and balance. Made from the Moreto grape. (78 points)

2014 Adega da Cartuxa Évora Cartuxa - Portugal, Alentejano, Alentejo, Évora
SRP: $25
Rich purple color. Rich currants and roasted figs, along with anise, espresso, mint, dark chocolate chips. Full-bodied on the palate, with solid grip but fresh acid and lovely balance. Crushed blackberries and suave black currants, the fruit is deep but tangy. Complex elements of freshly paved road, graphite, loamy earth, espresso, cedar and dark chocolate. Bold but stylish and pristine, and a long life ahead. (91 points) 

This post first appeared on the daily wine blog Terroirist.

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