Like so many aspects of our lives, the majority of 2020 felt like it fell into the hands of others, and the most we could do was carry on. Plans scrapped, including an autumn visit to Portugal, but our woes were so minor compared to those who lost everything, lost loved ones, lost faith in our society.

We kept hope through turning inward to each other, and enjoying the cooking and wine connoisseurship right here at home. We opened special bottles with a “live in the present” attitude, and we picked up what we could from local stores as both our travel and means remained limited,

So, for the second half of 2020, we have only a few Portuguese wines of note to share with you. Those we enjoyed thoroughly we’ll revisit, and we’re already planning a trip to Portugal in mid 2021!

Vintage & Producer: Mondeco 2012 

From: DOC Dão

Style/Notes: Partially obscure garnet, medium weight; Leather, dark plum, blackberry aromas; Smooth stewed plums, bramble on the palate, falls a bit in the middle, tannins dropping out at first then stabilizes as it opens up… now a few rose petals.

Varieties: 30% TR 25% TN 15% Alfrocheiro 20% Jaen 10% Baga 

13% abv

Vintage: Producer: Casal Branco Terra do Lobos 2017 

From: VR Tejo

Style/Notes: Deep purple hazy color; Dark cherry fruits on the nose; With the rugged leathers of castelão on the palate, more purple berries, soft tannins.

Varieties: 80% Castelão and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

13,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Seastone Rosé NV

From: DOC Vinho Verde

Style/Notes: Pale salmon pink color, no effervesence; Strawberry aromas; Dry, strawberry leaf flavors.

11% abv

Vintage & Producer: Rapariga da Quinta Tinto 2017 

From: VR Alentejano 

Style/Notes: Six months in French oak barrels; Garnet color; Medium body; Blackberry, leather, dark plum aromas; More black plums w skins—moderate tannins on the palate. Smoothed, vanishing finish.

Varieties: Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon

14% abv

Vintage & Producer: Rapariga da Quinta Branco 2018 

VR Alentejano

Style/Notes: Pale lemon color, light to medium body; Lemon peel, damp hay, elderflower aromas; Elderflower & lemons (juice & peel) on the palate.

Varieties: Antão Vaz, Roupeiro, Arinto 

Vintage & Producer: Bacalhôa JP Azeitão Rosé 2019

From: VR Sétubal

Style/Notes: Pale salmon color, light body; Watermelon, cherry, strawberry leaf aromas; Juicy overripe strawberry on the palate.

Variety: Syrah

Vintage & Producer: Ciconia Tinto 2015 

From: VR Alentejano

Style/Notes: Pretty garnet color, medium body; Garam masala, black cherries, tobacco on the nose; More black cherry juice on the palate with a spice mix, black pepper, moderate tannins, even middle, light finish.

Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Aragonez

13,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Cockburn’s Tawny Port NV

From DOC Douro

Style/Notes: Deep amber color, clear; Bright sultanas on the nose, plus caramel; More spun sugar on the palate plus bourbon soaked raisins & a flash of Ranier cherry.

Vintage & Producer: Portal da Calçada Rosé Riserva 2019

From: Vinho Verde DOC 

Style/Notes: Pale salmon pink; Light body; Aromas of strawberry, leaves; More like red currants on the palate.

12% abv

Vintage & Producer: Casa Santos Lima Lab Vinho Branco 2019

From: VR Lisboa

Style/Notes: Pale straw color; Moderate acidity, light to medium body; Spiced pineapple on the nose; Tropical flavors, leading with pineapple, mango, with an even finish.

12,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Quinta do Casal Monteiro 2012 Forme de Arte 

From: DOC Tejo

Style/Notes: Obscure purple garnet color, medium body; Pink peppercorns, blackberry skins, lilies on the nose; Blackberry juice, lemon peel, hint of cinnamon on the palate; An intriguing, mature wine; sediment to care for in the pont.

Varieties: 50% Touriga Nacional 50% Cab Sauvignon

13% abv

Vintage & Producer: Casa Santos Lima Confidencial Rosé Reserva 

From: VR Lisboa

Style/Notes: Pale salmon color; Light to medium body; Raspberry, roses, white cherry on the nose; Expands a bit on the palate with pink raspberry, cherry lollipop on the back end.

12,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Quinta da Garrida 2014 Bacalhôa 

From: Dão DOC

Style/Notes: Garnet color, medium body; Red cherry, coneflowers aroma, hint of grilled meat; More red cherries on the palate, moderate to light tannins, fading off in the finish.

Varieties: Touriga Nacional, Touriga Roriz, Jaen

13,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Colossal Vinho Branco Reserva 2018 

From: VR Lisboa

Style/Notes: Pale yellow color, light body; Bit of green banana, hay, soy, and pineapple aromas; Lemon tart, pickled ginger on the palate.

Varieties: Arinto and Chardonnay

12.5 % abv

Vintage & Producer: Casa Santos Lima Confidencial 2016

From: VR Lisboa Confidential

Style/Notes: Dark garnet color; Moderate weight and legs; Toasty plum and cinnamon spice aromas; More dark plum juice & hint of bark on the palate

Varieties: Blend of 10-plus varieties

13,5% abv

Vintage & Producer: Fonseca Bin 27 Reserve Port NV

From: DOC Douro

Style/Notes: Deep garnet color, obscure; Grape leaves and blackberry nose; More sweet blackberry juice on the palate; simple.