We got back into the swing of things in March–only to have the rug pulled out from under us, collectively, about mid month. Fortunately, we followed as friends in Portugal began self-isolating, and the stay-at-home orders there came a couple of weeks before our own. Glad we had the heads up, so we could stock up on wine and pantry necessities and limit our foraging forays!

March 3, 2020

On a trip to Florida, I had the chance to find a few different Portuguese wines–all big producers, nonetheless–and sample them in between work assignments. The first of these was a Broadbent Vinho Verde. Bright and refreshing, as expected, there was a little complexity beyond the citrusy snap to the aromas. Broad lemon peel covered the palate, with a hint of grass. 9% abv.

Vintage & Producer: NV Broadbent

From: DOC Vinho Verde

Style: Crisp, refreshing dry white with effervescence

Variety: Vinho Verde white blend

Price: $8 at Whole Foods in Orlando

March 7, 2020

The Quinta do Crasto 2016 tinto that I purchased at Whole Foods near the corporate office in Winter Park, Florida (where I go to check in from time to time) became a gift to a friend who was volunteering at the Women in Aviation conference I attended that week in Orlando–oh, does that harken back to happier times! We split the bottle in the press room as she finished up her duties, thumbing our noses at Disney and the overpriced wine we would find elsewhere by the glass in the Coronado Springs resort.

With its deep garnet color and moderate mouthfeel, this blend of Touriga Nacional (30%), Tinta Roriz (30%), Touriga Franca (20%), and Tinta Barroca (10%) showed spice aromas with dark fruit, and plum jam on the palate.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Quinta do Crasto

From: DOC Douro

Style: Moderate, fruity red with medium tannins

Variety: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca

Price: $16

March 8, 2020

We also picked up the Quinta das Carvalhas 2016 Touriga Nacional to tuck into our room at the Homewood Suites in a nondescript suburban corner of the Orlando metroplex called Maitland. It was our little enclave of quiet and served us well–and we enjoyed the cheap wine at happy hour, but we enjoyed what we had in our room quite a bit more.

The TN 100% showed a deep ruby color and held moderate tannins, at just the right age to drink, in our estimation. With leather and berry aromas, and more dark plums–plus earth–on the palate, it was a lovely single grape to take us back to Portugal in the midst of Florida.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Quinta das Carfavlhas

From: DOC Douro

Style: Moderate fruity, leathery red

Variety: Touriga Nacional

Price: $12

March 12, 2020

When we arrived back home, I had tucked one little gem into my baggage: the Casa Ferreirinha Esteva Douro DOC 2017. During our first season living at Praia das Maçãs, when we first met our friend Rafa at his Adega restaurant near Almoçageme, he served Papa Figos as a house bottle, and we loved it. Esteva is another one of the blends for Casa Ferreirinha, and we were so happy to find this stalwart friend on these shores for a reasonable price.

The blend of red Douro grapes makes for a pleasing, red-fruit-forward palate that’s rich for the price point. We enjoyed it with a roast chicken–but you could take it anywhere within the spectrum of beef or roast pork.

Vintage & Producer: 2017 Casa Ferreirinha

From: DOC Douro

Style: Moderate fruity, earthy red

Varieties: Tinto Douro blend

Price: $13 retail

March 15, 2020

We had a beautiful surprise when we returned from our trip to Orlando in mid-Marhc–though we had missed out good friend (and TAP captain) Bruno Torcato on what would be his last flight to the US for some time, he had left a lovely treat–the Esporão Reserva Tinto 2016 Alentejo DOC. This is one of the original blends made by the herdade that is still in production–and we shared it with friends over a meal of veggie enchiladas and a winter fruit salad.

The tinto brings togther Trincadeira and Aragonez with 20% Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon. Lots of black fruit in this wine at its prime–with healthy tannins and a good backbone from the AB. 14,5% abv.

Vintage & Producer: 2016 Herdade do Esporão

From: DOC Alentejo

Style: Moderate to rich fruity red

Varieties: Trincadeira, Arangonez, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon

Price: $24 retail

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