If you’re keen to liven up your wine repertoire, Portugal is the ideal place to start. It’s likely you’ll come across some varieties you’ve never tried before but don’t be concerned; 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. The highest scorer was a white, Casa da Passarella’s Abanico Reserva 2021, which scored an impressive 96/100 to earn a Gold Medal. The judges were wowed by its aromatics that offered ‘ripe peach, lime and floral notes’ that lead to ‘layers of fruit, toasted bread and salted caramel on the palate’.
Switching to red wine, Vale D. Maria’s Vinhas Do Sabor 2020 was judged to be ‘a characterful wine with great typicity and poise’ and also took a Gold Medal thanks to a score of 95 points.
Each Portuguese wine in this year’s IWSC was tasted blind by an expert panel of judges. The judges’ tasting notes 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 2023 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.
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