August 26, 2019

We followed Quinta de Sant’Ana on their journey to offer organic wines, and they celebrated the launch of their first vintage of organics across the board in June. We made a visit with friends in July, and James graciously showed us around. The first wine we sampled was the 2018 Branco, a white wine that sold out last year–and now debuts as part of their fully organic palette.

Crafted from Fernão Pires grapes, the Branco carries on the fresh style, full of stone fruits on the nose yet remaining crisp. Past vintages have shown more passion fruit, but this year runs more to apricots for my palate. A lovely choice for a crab salad with peppery greens to counterbalance the fruit.

Vintage & Producer: 2018 Quinta de Sant’Ana

From: VR Lisboa

Style: Fresh and fruity white

Variety: Fernão Pires

Price: €11 at the quinta’s loja

August 19, 2019

We had the chance to update with the latest vintage from Quinta do Gradil during the Adegga Festival in Carcavelos earlier this summer. And when we returned to one of our favorite wines from their portfolio, it stayed a solid favorite. We also enjoyed the reserva tinto and the rosé.

The blend of Arinto and Sauvignon Blanc grapes marries two of my favorites–one solidly from Portugal, and the region from which Quinta do Gradil hails–and the other an international variety that takes on different aspects based on the climate and soil in which it grows. The blend brings out the brightness and freshness that each show in the relatively cool climate of that part of the viticultural region of Lisbon. A lively aperitif, or stunning with fresh clams.

Vintage & Producer: 2018 Quinta do Gradil

From: VR Lisboa

Style: Fresh and crisp white

Varieties: Sauvignon Blanc and Arinto

Price: about €6 online

August 12, 2019

When Symington Estates purchased a 500-acre quinta near Portalegre, Alentejo, with the intention of expanding their range into the heart of the country, they didn’t yet have a marketing name for the project. Fast forward to June 2019, and at the Adegga Festival in Carcavelos, we tasted some of the first fruits of this project–and they’ve found a name: Quinta da Fonte Souto (“fountain in the chestnut grove”–after the trees that share the quinta with the grapes).

The vinho tinto we tasted, from the first vintage under Symington’s watch, combines a variety of grapes from the acreage: Alicante Bouschet, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Alfrocheiro–creating a rich wine clearly brought in during a dry, hot season. We look forward to more from their project, which includes 2 other reds and 2 whites released in 2019.

Vintage & Producer: 2017 Symington Family Estates

From: DOC Alentejo

Style: Rich, fruity red

Varieties: Alicante Bouschet, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Alfrocheiro

Price: €17 online

August 5, 2019

We had a chance to attend the Adegga Festival 2019 held at the new-to-us Nova SBE in the Carcavelos campus on June 29. We met up with old friends and made some new ones; among them João Miguel Maia, who introduced us to the wide range of vinho verdes they create at Casa de Vilacetinho. Their wines feature not only the very common Alvarinho and Loureiro grapes, but also single-varietals and blends featuring Avesso–which I had not tasted separately before–and which they use as a base for their palate.

We brought home a bottle of the Grande Escolha 2018, which is formed from the Avesso grape, with Arinto, Azal, and Loureiro added to the mix. From granite soils, the stone fruits on the nose and palate are underpinned by good acidity and a mineral streak. Casa de Vilacetinho is in Alpendurada, overlooking the Douro from its northern side, with a southern exposure conducive to solid ripening. We look forward to more from this interesting producer.

Vintage & Producer: 2018 Casa de Vilacetinho

From: Vinho Verde DOC

Style: Light-to-medium-bodied fruity white

Varieties: Avesso, Arinto, Azal, and Loureiro

Price: About €8

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