Their success; their ability to effectively communicate about spanish and portuguese wine; their energy to grow and create dynamic, authentic and extraordinary services have attracted hundreds of thousands of iberian wine lovers from around the world.
Joan Gómez Pallarès http://www.devinis.org/

Announcing Wine Blog Wednesday 38 – Portuguese Table Wines with Caveats!

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:

  1. Port Wine and Douro Reds
  2. Mateus and Lancers Rose
  3. Vinho Verde
  4. 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:

  1. Choose a wine outside of Vinho Verde and the Douro.
  2. Taste more than one region and compare the two
  3. Seek out a varietal that you’ve never heard of (it shouldn’t be hard with 200+ to choose from)
  4. 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.

Cheers,

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!

  • Troy

    OK, this sounds like fun. The two regions I will compare are Dao and Alentejo, looking at their reds. Since people seem to know the tannic and strong Douro reds — akin to a South African Pinotage, if that helps — the Dao and Alentejo take successive steps down the strength ladder from the Douros. Dao because it has less of the oppressive heat throughout the spring and summer and Alentejo because they tend to blend in grapes more common elsewhere. Both Douro and Dao vintners are said to disparage the Alentejos, saying that they are "not Portuguese wines; they are French wines made in Portugal." In point of fact, the Alentejo producers are starting to produce a lot more mono-varietals, including of native Portuguese grapes. Besides, there is nothing wrong with producing Tempranilla (called Aragonez in the Alentejo and Tinta Roriz elsewhere in Portugal) and Cabernet; they do it very well. I should mention that while they "are said" to disparage their Alentejo counterparts, I have never heard them do so myself. The Dao wines are less aggressive — read "tannic" — than their Douro counterparts, but just as earthy. Portugal's grand grape, the Touriga Nacional, is in abundance here and makes an extremely complex wine with a long finish. The Quinta do Perdigao family of wines are great examples of this. Quinta dos Roques makes a beautiful blend of Touriga Nacional and Tempranilla (Tinta Roriz), which rather undercuts the alleged criticism of the Alentejo. The Alentejo wines are much less earthy and, consequently, much more floral. Herdade das Servas made a beautiful Touriga Nacional in 2004. Compared to the complex Quinta do Perdigao mentioned above, the das Servas is much more layered, beginning with plum and ending almost with tobacco. Also, I would mention the family of Herdade de Esporao wines. A great and ancient estate, Esporao's eponymous wines are blends, in which Tempranilla (Aragonez), Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, and Trincadeira predominate. They also release a number of monovarietals, of which the Aragonez is my favorite although the Touriga Nacional is more popular. Herdade de Esporao's wines are distributed widely and not very expensive. Quinta do Mouro is another blend of Tempranilla (Aragonez), Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Cabernet Sauvignon that I tasted recently. The 2004 reserve was intense, mineral, and very long. By the way, since I kept mentioning Tempranilla and its other names in Portugal, here are a couple of others that might be confusing: Arinto = Pedernã Fernão Pires = Maria Gomes Aragonez = Tinta Roriz = Tempranilla Trincadeira = Tinta Amarela Looking forward to see what others say…

  • Troy

    aw hell…I bashed out all that verbage and then read the instructions. Sorry about that; I'll write up proper tasting notes and submit them in the requested manner. My apologies!

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  • Troy

    OK, this sounds like fun. The two regions I will compare are Dao and Alentejo, looking at their reds. Since people seem to know the tannic and strong Douro reds — akin to a South African Pinotage, if that helps — the Dao and Alentejo take successive steps down the strength ladder from the Douros. Dao because it has less of the oppressive heat throughout the spring and summer and Alentejo because they tend to blend in grapes more common elsewhere.

    Both Douro and Dao vintners are said to disparage the Alentejos, saying that they are “not Portuguese wines; they are French wines made in Portugal.” In point of fact, the Alentejo producers are starting to produce a lot more mono-varietals, including of native Portuguese grapes. Besides, there is nothing wrong with producing Tempranilla (called Aragonez in the Alentejo and Tinta Roriz elsewhere in Portugal) and Cabernet; they do it very well. I should mention that while they “are said” to disparage their Alentejo counterparts, I have never heard them do so myself.

    The Dao wines are less aggressive — read “tannic” — than their Douro counterparts, but just as earthy. Portugal’s grand grape, the Touriga Nacional, is in abundance here and makes an extremely complex wine with a long finish. The Quinta do Perdigao family of wines are great examples of this. Quinta dos Roques makes a beautiful blend of Touriga Nacional and Tempranilla (Tinta Roriz), which rather undercuts the alleged criticism of the Alentejo.

    The Alentejo wines are much less earthy and, consequently, much more floral. Herdade das Servas made a beautiful Touriga Nacional in 2004. Compared to the complex Quinta do Perdigao mentioned above, the das Servas is much more layered, beginning with plum and ending almost with tobacco. Also, I would mention the family of Herdade de Esporao wines. A great and ancient estate, Esporao’s eponymous wines are blends, in which Tempranilla (Aragonez), Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, and Trincadeira predominate. They also release a number of monovarietals, of which the Aragonez is my favorite although the Touriga Nacional is more popular. Herdade de Esporao’s wines are distributed widely and not very expensive. Quinta do Mouro is another blend of Tempranilla (Aragonez), Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Cabernet Sauvignon that I tasted recently. The 2004 reserve was intense, mineral, and very long.

    By the way, since I kept mentioning Tempranilla and its other names in Portugal, here are a couple of others that might be confusing:

    Arinto = Pedernã
    Fernão Pires = Maria Gomes
    Aragonez = Tinta Roriz = Tempranilla
    Trincadeira = Tinta Amarela

    Looking forward to see what others say…

  • Troy

    aw hell…I bashed out all that verbage and then read the instructions. Sorry about that; I’ll write up proper tasting notes and submit them in the requested manner.

    My apologies!

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  • Dr. Debs

    Great theme! Just clarifying something: can we drink red table wines from the Douro if that's all we can find? No port, I understand, and extra points if we can find something from outside the Douro (may have a lead on wine from Dao…), but if I fail will you still take a Douro table wine?? Tim E. of Winecast says no, but instructions say yes?

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  • http://goodwineunder20.blogspot.com Dr. Debs

    Great theme! Just clarifying something: can we drink red table wines from the Douro if that’s all we can find? No port, I understand, and extra points if we can find something from outside the Douro (may have a lead on wine from Dao…), but if I fail will you still take a Douro table wine?? Tim E. of Winecast says no, but instructions say yes?

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  • Gabriella

    Absolutely not! If you can only find a red Douro table wine, then by all means, drink away. Would we ideally encourage you to explore another region, sure, but that's why we made it a bonus point and not a requirement.

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    Absolutely not! If you can only find a red Douro table wine, then by all means, drink away. Would we ideally encourage you to explore another region, sure, but that’s why we made it a bonus point and not a requirement.

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  • Dr. Debs

    Thanks Gabriella! Thought I'd read you right. Off to find that Dao wine if I can get it…

  • http://goodwineunder20.blogspot.com Dr. Debs

    Thanks Gabriella! Thought I’d read you right. Off to find that Dao wine if I can get it…

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  • Tommy Ronquillo

    Can't wait for the next wine blog Wednesday with Portuguese table wines Woohoo! I'm a small importer of Portuguese and Spanish wine here in San Francisco and I believe Portugal definately deserves credit for the amazing wines being made there today. We currently have about 30 Portuguese wines in our portfolio and the majority are table wines not from the Douro. Keep up the great work! Tommy

  • Mariëlla

    Great theme! And I know just the wines for it. Our favorite winemerchant imports a few amazing Portuguese red table wines, and we have cooked delicious meals with it. See you in October!

  • Gabriella

    I was excited about this theme before all of these wonderful comments, but now I am ecstatic! There is nothing better than seeing and hearing of people's excitement on a WBW theme, and it appears that Portuguese Table Wine has hit a mark. Please remember that if we can help you in any way, don't hesitate to send in questions. That's why we're here.

  • http://www.vinosunico.com Tommy Ronquillo

    Can’t wait for the next wine blog Wednesday with Portuguese table wines Woohoo! I’m a small importer of Portuguese and Spanish wine here in San Francisco and I believe Portugal definately deserves credit for the amazing wines being made there today. We currently have about 30 Portuguese wines in our portfolio and the majority are table wines not from the Douro. Keep up the great work!

    Tommy

  • http://www.wijnkronieken.nl Mariëlla

    Great theme! And I know just the wines for it. Our favorite winemerchant imports a few amazing Portuguese red table wines, and we have cooked delicious meals with it.
    See you in October!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    I was excited about this theme before all of these wonderful comments, but now I am ecstatic! There is nothing better than seeing and hearing of people’s excitement on a WBW theme, and it appears that Portuguese Table Wine has hit a mark. Please remember that if we can help you in any way, don’t hesitate to send in questions. That’s why we’re here.

  • maarten

    Great Theme! Thanks for providing us with so much information! So we really have to look for table wines (vinho de mesa)?

  • Ryan

    Maarten! Table wines, in this sense mean "non-dessert" wines. Glad to have you join in the fun!

  • Gabriella

    No, when we say Portuguese table wines, we're referring to wines outside of Port and Madeira. So if you want to find a DOC wine, Regional wine or Table wine, be our guest, just as long as it isn't Port or Madeira :-)

  • http://www.catavino.net Ryan

    Maarten! Table wines, in this sense mean “non-dessert” wines. Glad to have you join in the fun!

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    No, when we say Portuguese table wines, we’re referring to wines outside of Port and Madeira. So if you want to find a DOC wine, Regional wine or Table wine, be our guest, just as long as it isn’t Port or Madeira :-)

  • maarten

    Great Theme! Thanks for providing us with so much information!

    So we really have to look for table wines (vinho de mesa)?

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  • Bill

    Too bad you didn't get this kind of response for the August Wine of the Month tasting!

  • Bill

    Too bad you didn’t get this kind of response for the August Wine of the Month tasting!

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  • Tim

    Ryan and Gabriella, you're doing a great job here and I'm excited to see you're hosting WBW. Nice write up too. I've been planning to check out some Portuguese wines and this gives me the push to stop delaying. Yay! I've experienced the same difficulty finding Portuguese wines that some others have mentioned. But I've managed to come up with a bottle from Dão and another from Alentejano. Hopefully this event will send a message to distributors that there is and interest in and demand for Portuguese wine.

  • http://www.cheapwineratings.com Tim

    Ryan and Gabriella, you’re doing a great job here and I’m excited to see you’re hosting WBW. Nice write up too.

    I’ve been planning to check out some Portuguese wines and this gives me the push to stop delaying. Yay! I’ve experienced the same difficulty finding Portuguese wines that some others have mentioned. But I’ve managed to come up with a bottle from Dão and another from Alentejano.

    Hopefully this event will send a message to distributors that there is and interest in and demand for Portuguese wine.

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  • Wine

    Nice wine resource ty <a href="http://www.winey.info “>www.winey.info

  • Wine

    Nice wine resource ty <a href="http://www.winey.info “>www.winey.info

  • Wine

    Nice wine resource ty <a href="http://www.winey.info “>www.winey.info

  • Wine

    Nice wine resource ty

    http://www.winey.info

  • Jessica Yadegaran

    Gabriella — I'd love to participate. Just hit a Portuguese event here in SF so I'm ripe with love for Iberian wines. How do I do it? Just blog about the wine on Oct. 10 (or is it the 17th?) and link to your site? Do I need to register anywhere? Thanks for the help, and for organizing. Cheers, Jessica Yadegaran, Corkheads

  • Jessica Yadegaran

    Gabriella — I’d love to participate. Just hit a Portuguese event here in SF so I’m ripe with love for Iberian wines. How do I do it? Just blog about the wine on Oct. 10 (or is it the 17th?) and link to your site? Do I need to register anywhere? Thanks for the help, and for organizing.
    Cheers,
    Jessica Yadegaran, Corkheads

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  • Julie (Tucker) Legra
  • Julie (Tucker) Legra
  • Julie (Tucker) Legra
  • http://www.smartsco.com Julie (Tucker) Legrand
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  • Carol

    Mine's up! Don't think the trackback worked, so here is a link: <a href="http://tinyurl.com/2hu457 “>http://tinyurl.com/2hu457

  • Carol

    Mine's up! Don't think the trackback worked, so here is a link: <a href="http://tinyurl.com/2hu457 “>http://tinyurl.com/2hu457

  • Carol

    Mine's up! Don't think the trackback worked, so here is a link: <a href="http://tinyurl.com/2hu457 “>http://tinyurl.com/2hu457

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  • Carol

    Mine’s up! Don’t think the trackback worked, so here is a link: http://tinyurl.com/2hu457

  • David J Rodriguez

    (–take two– just in case this is a more apporpiate 'space'?) Saludos– hope you raise the bar &amp; establish a new participant record! <a href="<a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-blogging-wednesday-38.htmlhttp://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi…/>”><a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wi…” target=”_blank”>http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi… 2348 h. I'm a rank, process-oriented late-modernist in this post-post modern (blog) world…I opened the more expensive (26.50 6.5?% tax) 1996 Quinta do Carmo– 'drink now through 2001' says the WS blurb on this North Carolina online merchant's page. Whoops. The '91 is very slowly opening &amp; seems to be holding up amazingly well– some light but lively sour cherry in there! I'll check in &amp; publish this now, but, like the proto-pop modernist old serials &amp; 'graphic novles' (glorified comics?) used to put it, (…continuará…!) …yeah, in another cultural context– Johnny Carson!– 'More to Come!'

  • David J Rodriguez

    (–take two– just in case this is a more apporpiate 'space'?) Saludos– hope you raise the bar &amp; establish a new participant record! <a href="<a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-blogging-wednesday-38.htmlhttp://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi…/>”><a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wi…” target=”_blank”>http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi… 2348 h. I'm a rank, process-oriented late-modernist in this post-post modern (blog) world…I opened the more expensive (26.50 6.5?% tax) 1996 Quinta do Carmo– 'drink now through 2001' says the WS blurb on this North Carolina online merchant's page. Whoops. The '91 is very slowly opening &amp; seems to be holding up amazingly well– some light but lively sour cherry in there! I'll check in &amp; publish this now, but, like the proto-pop modernist old serials &amp; 'graphic novles' (glorified comics?) used to put it, (…continuará…!) …yeah, in another cultural context– Johnny Carson!– 'More to Come!'

  • David J Rodriguez

    (–take two– just in case this is a more apporpiate 'space'?) Saludos– hope you raise the bar &amp; establish a new participant record! <a href="<a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-blogging-wednesday-38.htmlhttp://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi…/>”><a href="http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wi…” target=”_blank”>http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-bloggi… 2348 h. I'm a rank, process-oriented late-modernist in this post-post modern (blog) world…I opened the more expensive (26.50 6.5?% tax) 1996 Quinta do Carmo– 'drink now through 2001' says the WS blurb on this North Carolina online merchant's page. Whoops. The '91 is very slowly opening &amp; seems to be holding up amazingly well– some light but lively sour cherry in there! I'll check in &amp; publish this now, but, like the proto-pop modernist old serials &amp; 'graphic novles' (glorified comics?) used to put it, (…continuará…!) …yeah, in another cultural context– Johnny Carson!– 'More to Come!'

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  • http://vinomadic.blogspot.com David J Rodriguez

    (–take two– just in case this is a more apporpiate ‘space’?)

    Saludos– hope you raise the bar & establish a new participant record!

    http://vinomadic.blogspot.com/2007/10/wine-blogging-wednesday-38.html

    2348 h. I’m a rank, process-oriented late-modernist in this post-post modern (blog) world…I opened the more expensive (26.50 + 6.5?% tax) 1996 Quinta do Carmo– ‘drink now through 2001′ says the WS blurb on this North Carolina online merchant’s page. Whoops.
    The ’91 is very slowly opening & seems to be holding up amazingly well– some light but lively sour cherry in there! I’ll check in & publish this now, but, like the proto-pop modernist old serials & ‘graphic novles’ (glorified comics?) used to put it,
    (…continuará…!)

    …yeah, in another cultural context– Johnny Carson!– ‘More to Come!’

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  • Finner

    I went on line searching for some details on a Portuguese wine tasting event in Detroit, the first of its kind, and I've stumbled onto your site. I promise to get back when I've got more time but I have a few recommendations on Portuguese table wines after living there for 3 years. There are so many good wines it's difficult to select a few but I will throw a few names out there for anyone who's interested. In general the Alentejo region is making the best wines for the average drinker. The Dao and Douro wines tend to be earthy but the higher end wines from those regions are among the best. The climate is very different thoughout the country so you really need to try wines from several regions to find the flavor you like. Many of the Vintners are making blends, not a common practice from our North American Vintners but highly desirable in my book. Some personal favorites include Quinta Do Mouro, Tinta da Anfora (very reasonable), Redomo, and with the right food like pasta, Periquita can be outstanding. I would also recommend Joao Pires as an excellent white wine for fish, or just sitting on the deck on a warm sunny day eating Olives, bread, and some fresh Quejo Fresco. ]

  • Finner

    I went on line searching for some details on a Portuguese wine tasting event in Detroit, the first of its kind, and I’ve stumbled onto your site. I promise to get back when I’ve got more time but I have a few recommendations on Portuguese table wines after living there for 3 years.

    There are so many good wines it’s difficult to select a few but I will throw a few names out there for anyone who’s interested. In general the Alentejo region is making the best wines for the average drinker. The Dao and Douro wines tend to be earthy but the higher end wines from those regions are among the best. The climate is very different thoughout the country so you really need to try wines from several regions to find the flavor you like. Many of the Vintners are making blends, not a common practice from our North American Vintners but highly desirable in my book. Some personal favorites include Quinta Do Mouro, Tinta da Anfora (very reasonable), Redomo, and with the right food like pasta, Periquita can be outstanding. I would also recommend Joao Pires as an excellent white wine for fish, or just sitting on the deck on a warm sunny day eating Olives, bread, and some fresh Quejo Fresco. ]

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