If you’re keen to liven up your wine repertoire, Portugal is the ideal place to start. You’ll come across some varieties you’ve tried before, but Portuguese wine is famed for showcasing a fascinating array of indigenous grapes, all of which open up a new world of flavours and tastes.
Touriga Nacional is the most well-known Portuguese variety. Perhaps best known for its use in port, it also makes superb dry red wines – and has taken root outside Portugal in recent years, notably California and South Africa. Castelão is another red worth seeking out. It’s the second-most-planted vine in Portugal, and delivers generous doses of big, rich red fruit.
On the white side, you’ll find the likes of Alvarinho, a fresh, crisp variety (it’s known as Albariño in neighbouring Spain), Rabigato, and Viosinho, a more aromatic grape commonly found in the Douro, and also used in white port. Portugal has made great strides with its white wines in recent years.
The IWSC saw a fantastic selection of Portuguese wines – red and white – this year. On the red side, Real Cave Do Cedro’s Aleixo Grande Reserva 1997 scored an impressive 95/100 and was awarded a Gold Medal. The judges were impressed by its ‘abundant flavours of dried figs, plum and damsons, raspberry and cherries.’
Switching to white wine, Quinta da Raza, Alvarinho-Trajadura 2021, displayed ‘Invigorating freshness with an attractive peach laden finish,’ and earned a Silver Medal.
For rosé, another bottle from Quinta da Raza made from 100% Padeiro De Basto also won a Silver Medal, and was praised for its ‘fresh cherries, raspberries, strawberries and cream, orange blossom, sloes and damsons aromas.’
Each Portuguese wine in this year’s IWSC was tasted blind by an expert panel of judges. In charge was Dirceu Vianna Junior MW, assisted by Master Sommelier Matthieu Longuere, head sommelier at Mark’s Club Elvis Ziakos, and host of The Three Drinkers Aidy Smith.
The judges’ tasting notes should make it clear that Portuguese wines offer something different to your average Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio. For jaded palates, they’re the perfect pick-me-up. We’re proud to present our selection of the best Portuguese wines from the 2022 IWSC.
How do we judge these wines?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
How do we score these wines?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
More from Club Oenologique
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