For a number of years the Portuguese Trade commission organized annual tastings of their wines featuring wineries willing to participate. This tradition was abandoned for the past four years, but authorities in Lisbon decided to re-establish this much appreciated tradition.
The wine market in Ontario evolved and any wine producing country cannot afford to ignore marketing, if it wants to expand exports to Ontario or Canada.
This year’s tasting was much smaller than those in the past, and attracted hundreds trade people and the wine media.
Overall, the food was meagre (quantity and quality).
The wines – overall white wines tasted fine, though not memorable, except those one winery in Dao ( Mondeo).
Reds sampled tasted much better, but those that stood out cost more than
$ 50.00 some approaching $ 100.00.
The 2007 and 2009 vintage ports and LBVs (Late Bottled Vintage Port) tasted fine.
A few roses listed below are well worth looking for. Not long ago two Portuguese brands of rose (Mateus and Lancers) were best sellers, but now have diminished to obscurity.
Portugal’s grape varieties surpass even those of Italy in numbers.
Recently, several wineries planted internationally recognized French varities ( i.e chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, syrah, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc) and blend with indigenous grape wines for variety,and often to improve flavour and mouth feel. Occasionally a winery may even make a varietal wine using a French grape.
The most popular Portuguese grape are: Alvarinho (albarino in Spain), arinto, encruzado, and fernao pires for whites, and touriga nacional, baga, castelao, trincadeira, aragonez (tempranillo in Spain), and touriga franca for reds.
Entry-level wines are well priced and offer good value. Many of those are general list brands and available all the time.
High end wines are either special imports ( eight weeks minimum), and consignment (available within three days). 34 wineries participated with more than 200 wines, and I managed to taste 63 in all.
Here are my recommendations
Private Selection White, 21014, Esporao
Branco Reserva, 2013, Herdade do Grous
Loureiro, 2014, Joao Portugal Ramos
Branco 2014, Mondeco
Munda, 2013, Mundeco
Catarina, 2014, Bacalhoa
Alhambre 20 year old Jose Maria da Fonseca Vinhos
Alhambra Moscatel de Setubal 2010
JP Azeitao, 21014, Bacalhoa
Cabriz Rose, 2014, Dao Sul
Foral, 2013, Alianca
Terra Boa, 2013, Alianca
Colheita Seleccionado, 2013, Herdade San Miguel
Grande Escolha, 2012, Quinta da Fronteira
Cortes de Cima Reserva, 2011
Nature Organic, 2012, Paco dos Cunhas de Santar
Grand Arte Touriga Nacional, 2012, DFJ Vinhos
Vegha, 2011, DFJ Vinhos
Reserva, 2010, Quinta dos Murcas
Tinto Reserva, 2011, Herdade dos Grous
Doda, 2011, Niepoort
Telhas Tinto, 2011, Terra d’Alter
Reserva Vinas Velhas, 2012, Quinta do Crasto
Red, 2012, Quinta Vale D.Maria
Red, 2010, 2010, Quinta de Mondego
Red, 2012, Quitna da Foz
Olho de Mocho, 2011, Herdade Rocim
10 Year Old , Niepoort,
LBV, 2009, Niepoort
LBV, 2009, Quinta de Pacheca
89+/100Vintage Port 2007, Quevedo