MEET MY 4 TOP PICKS FOR PORTUGUESE REDS
ALL UNDER $10 FOUND AT THE ‘REGULAR’ LCBOS
THE AMBASSADOR: Sogrape is the largest wine producer in Portugal with headquarters in the Dao region. Which is often described as the Burgundy of Portugal – and for sure, you’ll find Pinot-like bright fruity flavours, charm and gulpability in this wine. Lightly chill. It also hits a perfect middle-ground between rustic and pleasant. Would certainly my pick for a ‘first hit’ of Portugal.
SOGRAPE 17 Dao ‘Grao Vasco’, Portugal 14977 $8.95
THE LIVEWIRE: My kind of red. Rustic, lightish, tart, tangy dry, and packing gusto. The anti-smooth, the back-street feeling. Guaranteed to get your appetite rolling, and to partner well with everyday foods such as burgers, pizza or a grilled cheese. A light chilling kicks up the refreshment. I’m a big fan of the Bairrada region – my Portuguese Barbera.
CAVES ALIANCA 17 Bairrada, Portugal 151741 $8.95
P.S. Former sparkling wine cellars at this winery (south of Porto) are now filled with the most amazing collection of primitive art and fossils. Worth-the-detour stuff.
THE BISTRO FAN: Probably the most rustic and challenging, but check-out its very real, traditional feeling. Invites bistro-style foods, and hearty drinking. Certainly not a party wine. Periquita was the first bottled wine in Portugal – back in 1850, and I applaud the winery for keeping the wine traditionally-styled. (Drinkers looking for a Shiraz-style can pay premium for a Reserve edition.)
JM da FONSECA 16 Setubal ‘Periquita’ Portugal 25262 $9.00
THE PARTYGOER: Fruity, fresh, tasty. And full of lovely bright, cheerful feelings. The Valpolicella of Portugal. Lightly chill. You cannot go wrong pouring this at parties. It would also be a good partner with spicy foods.
CASA SANTOS LIMA 16 Lisboa ‘Passion’, Portugal 146449 $8.85
FROM LCBO VINTAGES
I’m including two Vintages wines – one because it’s almost everyday-priced, and another as an example of what you can expect for $17.95.
THE CHIANTI-IMPOSTER: Traditional rustic-style red. Lots of pucker and bold, earthy flavours. A really good balance of flavour and vitality – and a timely Fall feeling. Shades of Chianti.
BARRO de VILAR 15 Douro ‘Cais da Ribeira’, Portugal 523639 Vintages $13.95
THE JOE BEEF: Check-out this guy from Crasto. Solid, medium-bodied – shades of Cabernet, but traditional – more Bordeaux than New World. Perfect partner for grilled/roasted red meat.
QUINTA do CRASTO 15 Douro, Portugal 81588 Vintages $17.95
AND A WHITE!
TAKE A BREAK FROM PINOT GRIGIO
Fonseca’s white is very modern as in delivering a clean fresh feeling. Light, and a bit shy on flavour but big on refreshment. Good everyday refresher, or party sipper – at a lovely price.
JOSE MARIA da FONSECA 17 Periquita White, Setubal, Portugal 377127 $8.50