Tasting Highlights' wine reviews are fresh out of the tasting room, offering a sneak peek of our editors' most recent scores and notes to WineSpectator.com members.
From crisp, light-bodied whites to robust reds, Portugal is a treasure trove for the adventurous wine lover. Its wealth of indigenous grape varieties, such as the fruity white Alvarinho and the hearty red Touriga Nacional, are what make Portugal stand out. The price points for these high-quality wines make them even more appealing. All of today's picks cost under $20 and hail from appellations located throughout the country. If you're searching for something unique to add to your wine lineup, these Portuguese offerings won't disappoint.
DUORUM Douro Red Tons 2016 Score: 89 | $11
WS Review: This medium- to full-bodied red has a juicy, plush core held together by fresh acidity that highlights the boysenberry and red plum flavors accented with spice and violet undertones. Moderate, chewy tannins support the mineral and licorice details on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 650 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: Douro reds are typically blends that can consist of five to 10 different grapes. This Tons red is made from native varieties Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz sourced from the Castelo Melhor and Costodio vineyards. Duorum was founded in 2007 by two renowned Portuguese enologists, João Portugal Ramos and José Soares Franco.
QUINTA DOS MURÇAS Douro Assobio 2016 Score: 88 | $14
WS Review: This medium-bodied red has nice purity to the boysenberry and cherry fruit flavors that are nicely matched with mineral, herb and spice details. Moderate tannins are integrated through the tangy finish. Drink now through 2021. 10,000 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: Also a Douro blend, the Assobio from Quinta dos Murças is made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cão. Quinta dos Murças is located in the center of the Douro Valley (also check out its sibling winery in Alentejo, Herdade do Esporão). The Assobio was aged in concrete vats and used French oak casks for nine months.
FONTES DA CUNHA Dão White Mondeco 2017 Score: 87 | $15
WS Review: Spicy and mouthwatering, this light-bodied white has a floral edge and mineral undertone to the lemon and crunchy peach flavors. Offers a crisp, herb-tinged finish. Encruzado and Gouveio. Drink now through 2020. 500 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: Located just south of the Douro, the Dão is a mountainous region with granite-packed vineyards located at altitudes up to 1,500 feet. While production here relies mostly on red wines, great-quality whites based on Encruzado, like this pick from Fontes da Cunha, are gaining recognition. The wine's good acidity and mineral details make it a good pairing for a variety of dishes, from salads to seafood.
NORTICO Alvarinho Minho 2017 Score: 87 | $16
WS Review: Creamy citrus oil, lime and yellow apple notes are nicely spiced and detailed with saline mineral and floral underpinnings through the long finish. Drink now through 2019. 4,000 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: One of Portugal's best-known white grapes is the light-bodied and citrusy Alvarinho. It excels in the northern Minho region, which boasts granite and schist soils. Nortico sources its grapes from small vineyard plots called "jardins" located in the towns of Monaco and Melgao. This mineral-driven white pairs well with seafood dishes: Think fish tacos or oysters.
QUINTA DA PELLADA Dão Dac 2016 Score: 87 | $17
WS Review: Aromas of violet mark the currant and boysenberry fruit of this fresh, medium-bodied red, with licorice, mineral and fresh earth details emerging on the lightly tannic finish. Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro and Jaen. Drink now through 2020. 1,600 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: Located in the Dão, Quinta da Pellada dates to the 16th century. Winemaker Alvaro de Castro inherited the property in 1980 and has been making wine there since 1989. The Dac 2016 is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro and Jaen grown in granite, clay and sandy soils; it was fermented in stainless steel and aged in used French oak barrels. Try it with smoked meats and hard cheeses.
DFJ VINHOS Lisboa Paxis 2016 Score: 86 | $10
WS Review: Juicy, ripe black cherry and red berry flavors are backed into this plump, medium-bodied red, showing licorice, graphite and spice notes edged with light tannins on the savory finish. Tinta Roriz and Caladoc. Drink now through 2022. 145,000 cases imported.—G.S.
Why It's of Note: This pick from the Lisboa region is a blend of Tinta Roriz and Caladoc, a cross between Grenache and Malbec. Winemaker José Neiva Correia sourced grapes from Quinta de Porto Franco, an estate that's more than 200 years old. Ripe with cherry and berry flavors, this wine can stand up to barbecued meats or cheesy pasta dishes.
Source : https://www.winespectator.com/webfeature/show/id/6-Wine-Gems-From-Portugal-17-Or-Less