2019 Fine Wine Champions
This year’s blind-tasting triumphs for drinking now
France 2017 En Primeur
Including special triple-region cases
The wines our members order (and reorder) most!
Local stalwart grape varieties touriga nacional and tinta roriz meet international traveller syrah, which has settled so well in Portugal, in a full-bodied, dark and spicy blend with lovely smooth texture and sweet smack of oak.
Product Code: PW7341A
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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"Really good. Balanced fruit & gentle oakiness. Bit jammy but good value. Will order again."
Mr Colin Mitchell (29-Aug-2019)
Belfast Newsletter (18th May 2019)
"… rustic, robust and
satisfyingly savoury … A light-bodied, lubricious palate with plenty of berry
and cherry flavours which are nicely balanced by soft tannins before a
lingering finish with hints of black pepper, this Portuguese red will benefit
from being served, very slightly chilled, alongside pork or poultry. Each sip
seems to recall sunny times in the Algarve, why not order it in? - Raymond Gleug"
Belfast Newsletter (20th Apr 2019)
"... rustic, robust
and satisfyingly savoury ... A light-bodied, lubricious palate with plenty of
berry and cherry flavours which are nicely balanced by soft tannins before a
lingering finish with hints of black pepper; this Portuguese red will benefit
from being served very slightly chilled alongside pork or poultry ... as each
sip seems to recall sunny times in the Algarve, why not order it in? One for
all the lazy summer evenings out on the veranda which we shall surely enjoy
soon. - Raymond Gleug"
Lynn News (26th Mar 2019)
"This was a joy. Ripe,
succulent and packed with damsons, currants and touches of black spiced figs,
it had weight with balance and offers an awful lot of wine for the money. - Giles Luckett"
"For me The Wine Society's Portuguese portfolio provides the most consistent quality and value for money. This wine is another example. Its rich full bodied and well balanced. I would definitely buy more."
Mr George Fleri (05-May-2019)
"Enjoyed this very much with spaghetti bolgnese"
Mr Keith Mantell (03-Apr-2019)
"Lovely full bodied wine for mid-week winter-warming red meat dishes."
Mr Russell Watling (23-Feb-2019)
"I have to concur with the other reviews, a lovely rich, smooth fruity Portuguese wine, and very quaffable. Definitely one for my Wishlist and will be purchasing again for sure."
Mr Kevin Hewitt (09-Feb-2019)
"A strange one. The first sip was really nice. But gradually the oak and tannin became overbearing and a little unpleasant. I tried leaving it overnight, but by that point the acid had built up. Maybe it's getting a bit long in the tooth; but I definitely can't concur with the rave reviews."
Mr Richard Hadfield (08-Dec-2018)
"Rich, multi-layered, fragrant and seductive with generous spicy flavour - is what the wine society says. I agree. "
Mr Simon Bourke (02-Dec-2018)
"Lovely wine from South Portugal. Rich deep and spicy, enough tannins to match with hearty dishes"
Mr Neil Dyas (12-Oct-2018)
"I have only one criticism- this wine is far too easy to drink. Smooth, fruity, lightly oaked and spicy. A very good addition to any wine rack. I will most certainly buy again. Lovely. "
Mr Fraser Langton (18-Sep-2018)
"Delivered everything promised in the review, this is a wine from a vineyard that i have bought many wines from and agan delivered not their best, but worth anpunt if you are looking to try portuguese wine, goes well with cheese or meat and worth the money"
Mr Neville Clifford (15-Aug-2018)
Sunday Telegraph (24th Feb 2019)
strawberries are at the juicy core of this unusual blend of touriga nacional,
tinta roriz and syrah from the sunny Algarve, but there’s milk chocolate and
aniseed in there too. Roast pork with crackling would suit it nicely. - Susy Atkins"
"Really very good indeed. Excellent fruit concentration but as the other reviews have stated, very supple and soft. Recommended!"
Mr Aaron Frazer (23-Nov-2016)
"Inky. It is very nice, but I drank the whole lot with pretty inappropriate food (bread, oil, vinegar) and I shouldn't make that mistake again. It would go great with a tomatoey stew or whatever, but it's not ideal on its own."
Mr Lee Pilich (21-Nov-2016)
"Easy going, full and juicy. I wouldn't say too sweet though as it dries off on the finish. Very good value. Between the old and new world in style."
Mr Jason Mossman (11-Nov-2016)
"Very generous, full wine, bags of fruit but a bit sweet (possibly over extracted?) for my tastebuds. I would imagine a perfect match for a cheeseboard post meal."
Mr Guy Laister (10-Oct-2016)
"The WS description says it all. A great example of Portuguese dominant indigenous grape. Invoked many fond wine memories of Algarve. Tremendous value. I thought the Sobro was good but this is a classier offering.Though wine stocks are large in household right now I cannot resist a reorder.
By the way the label is a work of art- pity it is not yet available on the website. Well done TWS."
Mr Keith G Napier (31-Aug-2016)
The Times (26th Nov 2016)
"Top 50 Winter Reds:
Good with game. A brilliant, bold, beefy, herby Algarve red with some of the
punch and floral, sloe-scented drama of a Douro red, owing to the striking,
starry touriga nacional grape which pops up in both. It will slip down well
with a hearty casserole or game pie. - Jane MacQuitty"
The Wine Gang (1st Nov 2016)
"Super value here for
a soft and surprisingly full-flavoured red from southern Portugal, simple and
direct but with plenty of juicy sweet blackberry and black cherry fruit. A good
choice for midweek meaty pasta or shepherd's pie. 86/100 The Wine Gang"
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