For those familiar with Euro license plates if you see P on a license plate at the rear end of the car you’ll know it is from Portugal.
So we can try a couple of reds and a white and will have a P 3.
Let us try a Destino Fifth Empire from the Douro. Its from Quinta do Portal and is a blend of 45% Tinta Roriz, 30% Touriga Franca and 25% Touriga Nacional. Black cherry in colour. On the palate dusky and flinty blueberry, black cherry, pomegranate and Quebec raisin pie. On the palate not too many tannins. It is a well aged. It is smooth with well integrated black fruit, acids and tannins. It has a short finish. It has been aged 9 months in French oak.
I will admit I am getting very spoiled with Douro reds. Moderate prices, high quality and consistent excellence. Excuse my ignorance but more often than not as to quality and as to price Bordeaux reds and Douro reds seem to me to have many characteristics in common. Discrete fruit, satisfying fruit and well-made wines. Burn me on the stake for this heretical statement!
I certainly would hope a sommelier would recommend tis wine with steak. A great steakhouse wine and much cheaper than the traditional Californian Cabernet Sauvignons!
(Destino Fifth Empire 2015 Douro, DOC, Quinta do Portal, Porto, Portugal, $22.95, LCBO # 646901, 14%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 93/100). James Suckling gave this wine a 91.
We try a Terra Lenta Premium 2016 DOC Alentejo.
It has a dark ruby colour. It has that oft Portuguese triple B nose of black cherry, blackberry and blueberry. Some moderate and raspy tannins.
On the plate nifty blackberry interlaced with black licorice and cherry liqueur. Short and unremarkable finish but on the whole a tasty wine well made and with no faults. A bit rustic but reliable. And very reasonably priced as most Portuguese wines are.
Rather utilitarian as can match a wide range of dishes even Portuguese Balcalhau. Great with stuffed vegetables from the field, tomatoe salads and a whole range of pork, chicken, beef and lamb dishes provided no cream element or lemon marinade involved.
This is from winemaker Rui Veladas and is a blend of Tricanderia (45%), Aragonez (35%) and yes Alicante Bouschet (20%)!
The wine will improve with an hour of decanting. Will it age and improve? Yes but no longer than 2023 and you may end up with a sleek charmer.
(Terra Lenta Premium, DOC Alentejo 2016, Carmim Reguenegos de Monzaraz, Portugal, $ 13.95, LCBO # 646083, 14%, 750 mL, Set The Bar Rating 89/100). Decanter Magazine gave this a 90.
We conclude with a Vinho Regional Minho. This area is really the same as the Vinho Verde region in Northern Portugal with the exception that it allows international varieties of grapes unlike the DOCG’s of Vinho Verde. This Pouco Comum 2017 is from the Alvarinho grape known in neighbouring Spain as Albarino.
It has a light gold colour. On the nose melon and pear, clementine and honey. On the palate orange, peach with hints of marmalade. Good acidity but it is not overpowering like many Vinho Verdes. Good with white fleshed ocean fish and with poultry. For vegetarians I think it might work well with a leek pesto pasta. A simple and likeable plain Jane wine.
(Pouco Comum 2017 Vinho Regional Minho, Quintada Lixa, Lixa-Felgieras, Portugal, $14.95, 12.5%, 750 mL, LCBO # 316968, Set The Bar Rating 88/100).