First off, we would like to thank Dr. Vino for hosting the last Wine Blog Wednesday, #37, on indigenous grapes. As our post highlighted, we loved the topic both because of our convenient location in Iberia with over 500+ native grapes to choose from, but also because we had the unique and unexpected experience of drinking an absolutely fantastic Conca de Barbara wine!
The pressure, however, is on for Catavino, because we’ve just been handed the ever glowing WBW torch for this month’s WBW! And as many of you know, to follow in the footsteps of so many great hosts and themes is a bit daunting, but we’ve risen to the challenge by creating a topic that is both near and dear to our hearts, Portuguese Table Wine.
The theme of WBW #38 was inspired by our month long tribute to Portuguese wine. At the end of July, we realized that Portuguese wine just wasn’t getting the attention it deserved on Catavino. Consequently, we booked a flight to Lisbon and enjoyed four days of intense wine tastings, winery visits and restaurant hopping. By the end of our adventure, we discovered that Portuguese Table Wine deserves more conversation than the wine world has been giving it. With thousands of producers from all over Portugal making quality wine, and so many different styles to choose from, we concluded that our WBW theme must be PORTUGUESE TABLE WINE!
But like the title says, we have some caveats! Outside of Portugal, what people generally know about Portuguese wines fall into a few categories:
- Port Wine and Douro Reds
- Mateus and Lancers Rose
- Vinho Verde
- Madeira (though it appears a lot of people don’t know this if from Portugal!)
So with this in mind, your mission is to step away from Port and Madeira and focus only on Portuguese Table Wines by Wednesday, October 10th! You can visit the Alentejo, Dao, Barraida, Tras os Montes, Algrave, Setubal, Estremadura, in addition to several other regions, breaking down all those preconceived notions you’ve held about Portuguese wine.
The issue, however, comes down to availability. Because Portuguese table wine lacks the international prestige it deserves, you may find yourself having to be a bit more proactive and creative in finding the bottle you want. Therefore, to make your life easier conducting research, wine procurement, recipes searches, and general wine knowledge about this small but wine rich country, we’ve made a packet for you filled with information and tips on how to find that perfect Portuguese table wine.
At the bottom of this post is a link to download a PDF that includes: regional maps; importers in the USA, Canada, and UK (sorry we couldn’t cover other countries at this point, but if you let us know others we’ll add them); links that can help you with research on regions and styles; and a few other fun things. Our goal is to help you not only explore Portugal and its wines, but to actually walk away with a some solid tools you can use in the future when tasting these wines.
So head out and find a Portuguese table wine, write a little blurb on your blog about it in whatever language fits your fancy, and send it to ….@catavino.net. If you don’t have a blog, but want to share your tasty treat with us, than just email us your notes at the same address. Then, once we’ve collected all the tasting notes, we will still do the traditional round up and link backs, but you’ll also be in for an additional surprise. We don’t want to give away our secret yet, so you’ll have to stay tuned!
Now the bonus points! We will also offer up “bonus points” (no monetary value other than a possible happy dance) for people who:
- Choose a wine outside of Vinho Verde and the Douro.
- Taste more than one region and compare the two
- Seek out a varietal that you’ve never heard of (it shouldn’t be hard with 200+ to choose from)
- Cook up a Portuguese dish to pair with your wine (see the PDF for links to Portuguese recipe sites)
We would also love to have you contribute photos! If you have a picture of the bottle, or the event, make sure to add it to our Wines of Spain and Portugal Flickr Group. We’ll include a slide show in our wrap up of everyone’s wines, and hopefully, food!
Take a moment, open a bottle of Portuguese wine, and really tell us what you think of it. Did it surprise you, move you, and make you want to seek out others? We can’t wait to hear about it! We’ll be doing a special tasting ourselves alongside a delicious meal that we hope will not soon to be forgotten.
Ryan and Gabriella
Download the Portuguese Table Wine Cheat Sheet
Tip! For all you located in Minnesota there is going to be a Portuguese wine tasting held on the 20th of Oct – by Zipps and Solovino. Here’s the link to make a reservation. It’s after WBW but might be fun to attend anyways!