Beyond Porto and Mateus rose
Portugal due to its geographical and climatic location is a country that meets great conditions for the cultivation of the vine and consequently the production of wine, being despite its small size, compared to France, Spain or Italy, a country with a wide variety of wines that go far beyond the flagship of Portuguese wines the Port and the commercial and well-known Mateus Rose.
Portugal is a country that meets great conditions for the cultivation of the vine and consequently the production of wine, being despite its small size, compared to France, Spain or Italy, a country with a wide variety of wines that go far beyond the flagship of Portuguese wines the Port and the commercial and well-known Mateus Rose.
In Portugal you can find true oenological jewels made from unique native varieties harvested in small extensions or DOC that in many cases do not exceed 8 hectares. All this, together with an artisanal vinification and care of the vineyards, results in a very peculiar and limited production that, depending on the case, does not exceed 3,000 to 5,000 bottles per year.
Sponsored by Terras de Portugal, a firm that distributes Portuguese wines in Spain, we were able to enjoy a sample of 5 fantastic Portuguese wines. As a common factor, all the wines tasted were WHITE, so their serving temperature in all cases should be between 10° and 14°.
As for the pairing of these wines, it goes without saying, as a general rule, that they will go well with any fish or seafood dish, being also suitable as an aperitif or after-dinner wine depending on the case; cases that we will discuss more specifically in the respective description of each wine.
CASAL FIGUEIRA ANTONIO
Region or DOC: Lisbon
Alcohol: 12. 5%
Bottle price: 13,85 €.
Wine produced following a completely artisanal methodology, a tradition that continues Marta Soares daughter of the founder of this small winery that does not exceed a production of more than 3,000 bottles per year, depending on the vintage.
This is a white wine, clear and clean with slightly greenish touches. The nose reveals freshness and a strong vegetal component, supported by some floral notes and some minerality. In the mouth it is a lively wine with a lingering acid finish.
Region or DOC: Bairrada
Variety: 50% Cercial and 50% Bical
Bottle price: 12,00 €.
Coupage made from over 30-year-old vines of the native Cercial variety, grown on a sandy soil that soaks up the humid climate from the Atlantic Ocean.
Visually, this is a straw yellow wine of great clarity. Olfactorily it suggests some tropical fruit notes such as papaya. In the palate it is intense and well balanced with a slight mineral taste and a finish with some acidity, much less and not as persistent as that of the previous wine tasted (Casal Figueira Antonio)
QUINTA DOS ROQUES ENCRUZADO BRANCO
Region or DOC: DAO
Alcohol: 13. 4%
Bottle price: 20,00 €.
The DAO is perhaps the wine region of Portugal that produces the most elegant wines in the entire country. This white wine from the Quinta dos Roques winery is made from the endemic variety of the area, Encruzado, so called because of the way in which the vines of this variety are crossed and entangled.
This is a crystalline white wine with a straw yellow color and great limpidity. It has a good aromatic intensity where citrus notes (lemon) stand out. Fine and pleasant in the mouth with a long and lingering finish.
It should be noted that, in line with the classic DAO whites, this is a wine with a very good oxidative (aging) capacity, so it will stand up well and without any problems for several years in the bottle; years in which it will gain other nuances.
In terms of food pairing, this wine is also excellent as an aperitif.
DA SILVA & BRANCO RESERVE COLLARES FILHOS
Region or DOC: Colares
Variety: Malvasía fina
Bottle price: 26,00 €.
We are dealing with a wine made from a more “well-known and international” grape variety such as Malvasia. Notwithstanding the above, the Malvasia vines planted many years ago in this small Controlled Designation of Origin, which is geographically within the Lisbon area, as it is located near Sintra, just 30 km from the Portuguese capital, have adapted in a very peculiar way to the special characteristics of the beach sandy soil where they have been planted, growing almost at ground level, sheltered from the strong Atlantic breezes.
The Colares AOC is only about 15 hectares in size, which makes its production very small and unique, a fact that becomes even more evident if we take into account the long and costly maintenance of the vineyards.
This is a wine of a topaz color that in a first impression we could say that it is a sherry wine. However, when we smell it, we quickly realize that we are dealing with a peculiar and completely different wine. The palate is fresh and natural, with a dry structure and light acidity. It has a long finish with a markedly salty mineral aftertaste, in other words it is a wine that tastes like MAR.
CARCAVELOS VILLA OEIRAS
Region or DOC: Oeiras
Variety: Galego Dourado, Arinto and Ratinho
Alcohol: 17. 5%
Bottle price: 31,00 €.
We are dealing with a fortified wine produced in perhaps the smallest DOC in the world (only 8 hectares) located in the municipality of Oeiras and more specifically in the gardens of the palace of the famous Marques de Pombal.
Like the previous DOC of Colares, that of Oeiras is geographically within that of Lisbon, since Oeiras is a town that is practically attached to the Portuguese capital on the way to Estoril in an urban continuum of highways, roads, houses and housing developments.
Thanks to the public action of the municipality of Oeiras, it has been possible to recover this heritage of Portuguese wines, such as the fortified wine of Carcavelos, which many connoisseurs already considered to have disappeared for good. It should be noted that the production of this wine is only about 5,000 bottles per year.
This Carcavelos wine is made from a blend of three indigenous grape varieties, to which spirits are then added and left to settle for a decade in oak barrels.
The final product is a wine with an amber color and intense peach and dried fruit aromas. In the mouth, its sweet honey flavor is very balanced and not at all cloying.
As for the pairing of this wine, it is suitable for savoring with a good foie or excellent as a dessert or after-dinner wine.
We have tasted some different white wines, with a touch of distinction and personality, which make them stand out from other wines made from well-worn varieties such as Chardonnay, Viognier, Verdejo. . .
This differential fact of the autochthonous varieties with which they are elaborated already gives them a certain point of interest for the good wine lover or consumer interested in discovering “new sensations”.
And where can we find these wines? Obviously this is the million-dollar question, since we will not find any of them on the shelves of the main distribution companies in Spain, nor, unfortunately, in the majority of wine shops or specialized wineries in our country.
If we want to have the possibility of acquiring any of the wines mentioned here, as well as many others from Portugal, we can do it through the TERRAS DE PORTUGAL website: www. terrasdeportugal. com or also by visiting the website: www. portugalvineyards. com
Arias & Ortiz