March 25, 2019

We return to Bairrada this week as I had reason to find a 100% Baga wine from a producer I’d not yet tried, in order to compare and learn more about this traditional grape of the region. Chance led me to Sidónia de Sousa’s Reserva 2015. The grapes–a red variety know to show rusticity and overproduction when not handled correctly–were picked when mature and fermented in small lagares. Following this, the wine saw aging in tonéis, or large casks, made from national oak. 9,000 bottles were produced, at a moderate 13% abv.

With a deep color the skin of a dark plum, the red showed aromas of cedar underbrush, dust, and black plums. Mature, dark fruits reigned on the palate, with a decent middle tone and a soft finish. I’d said to a friend earlier that a good Baga would make a solid pizza wine, like Zinfandel, and I stand by that for this example. And that’s not to reduce it in stature–we take our pizza very seriously! The interplay of the dark fruits and substance works well with the savory meats, herbed tomato sauce, and aged goat cheese on my favorite pie at GiGis.

Vintage & Producer: 2015 Vinhos Sidónio de Sousa

From: DOC Bairrada

Style: Hearty, fruit-filled red

Varieties: Baga

Price: About €10 at the local Covarin

March 18, 2019

Our review of the local Colares wines continues, as we welcome the new series from Casal Sta. Maria, the Bruma blends. The estate has upped its game significantly on both the enotourism front as well as the quality of its wines–and the new white we tried replaces well the Senhor d’Adraga wines of the past.

The 2016 is a blend of Arinto and Chardonnay, coming in at 12,7% abv, making for a light refresher. Its pale yellow color echoes the hay flower and fresh pineapple aromas, and that fresh pineapple juice continues through on the palate. It stays crisp, with a touch of tart lemonade on the finish. Great with a plate of steamed mussels or clams.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Casal Sta. Maria

From: VR Lisboa

Style: Fresh tropical and floral white

Varieties: Arinto and Chardonnay

Price: About €9,20 at the quinta’s loja

March 11, 2019

Returning to the Dão for an intense red, we picked up the 2016 Tricana from Magnum by Carlos Lucas Vinhos, in Carregal do Sal. Crafted by Carlos Lucas, enologist, the rich wine blends Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinta Roriz, all typical grape varieties for the DOC between the rivers Montego and the namesake Dão. The grapes were harvested manually, into 18kg boxes, then after maceration into inox for a 15-day fermentation.

This approach preserves the fruitiness of the grapes, without adding influence of oak. The result? Bright cherries and a bit of smoke on the nose, with macerated cherries and a bit of stemminess on the palate. The Trincana went fantastically well with our roasted, pulled pork.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Magnum/Carlos Lucas Vinhos

From: DOC Dão

Style: Fruity, fresh red blend

Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, and Tinta Roriz

Price: About €4 at the local supermercado

March 4, 2019

We took a look at the Tyto Alba red in October, from Companhia das Lezírias, and we feel they have another winner worth sharing in the 2016 branco. From the Tejo DOC, this white blends Fernão Pires and Arinto grapes, which we’ve enjoyed in several expressions around Portugal. The quinta aims for sustainable production in all of its ventures, so we’re happy to support it yet again.

In this execution, the two white Portuguese grapes marry the fresh cocktail fruit and pineapple aromas of the Fernão Pires with the floral and racy edges of the Arinto. On the palate, custard apple and a hint of vanillin come through. We had it to accompany our country vegetable soup.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Companhia das Lezírias

From: DOC Tejo

Style: Floral, fruity white blend

Varieties: Fernão Pires and Arinto

Price: About €6 at the local supermercado

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