Wines of Portugal: Where Tradition Meets Modernity

The Wines of Portugal Academy is on tour and made stop in Dallas recently. I was thrilled to be invited to attend the Master Class by Full Circle Wine Solutions. The four hour, deep dive Wines of Portugal Master Class was taught by Master Sommelier Keith Goldston. At last summer’s TexSom I took an abbreviated Wines of Portugal class taught by Keith so I was thrilled to be invited to attend this educational, entertaining, and delicious event held at The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Last fall I attended a Wines of Chile Master Class presented by Full Circle Wine Solutions and lead by Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein; their class are highly informative, well organized and very professional. This four hour class consisted of 16 wines; however, it was conveniently broken into two parts, the first part focused on Portugal’s single varietals and the second part focused largely on blends. Therefore, this class will be presented in two articles following the same format.

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Portugal: New World of the Old World:

  • 10.4 million people; 575 miles long; 138 miles wide
  • 8th largest vineyard acreage in the world
  • 7th largest per capita wine consumption
  • 11th largest in total wine production in the world
  • 7th largest exporter to USA & growing (US largest market for Vino Verde)
  • Main agriculture is forestry and vineyards
  • 250 native grape varieties; more than any other country in the world

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Portugal: Extreme Climate and Soil Diversity

  • Atlantic climate influence: Mod temps, fresh & wet winds, high rainfall
  • Mediterranean climate influence: Dry & hot summers, mild winters
  • Continental climate influence: High thermal amplitude, weak to moderate rainfall
  • Granite soil: Vinho Verde, Dão, Douro, Alentejo
  • Schist soil: Douro, Alentejo
  • Clay & Limestone soil: Bairranda, Tejo, Península de Setúbal, Lisboa
  • Sandy soil: Bairranda, Tejo, Lisboa, Pen de Setubal

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Single Varietals Wines of Portugal:

2014 Anselmo Mendes Contacto Alvarinho: Vinho Verde appellation; “modern” Vinho Verde; 100% Alvarinho, crisp tropical fruit, orchard fruit, well-structured, clean, round acidity; SRP $20

2013 Quinta da Chocopalha Arinto: Lisboa appellation; 100% Arinto, racy, crispy & dry with a touch of creamy texture on palate, very aromatic; citrus, tropical fruit, dry, lingering finish: SRP $12

2013 Casa de Mouraz Encruzado: Dão appellation; 100% Encruzado; big wine, needs decanting, changes with air; citrus, melon, touch of hazelnut finish; full body, full mouth-feel, almost oily texture, big finish with crushed stone and mineral notes; SRP $18

2013 Quinta do Casal Falcoaria Branco: Tejo appellation; 100% Fernão Pires; floral notes, tropical fruit, stone fruit, citrus, orange blossom; crisp, round acidity, with toasted brioche, mineral finish; long and dry; SRP $13

2010 Luis Pato Vinha Pan: Bairrada appellation; 100% Baga; rich ripe cherry, tobacco, leather, dried herbs; similar to Nebbiolo; very tannic after being opened for 3 hours, round acidity, long dry finish, full body; SRP $48

2011 Heradade de Pegos Claros Tinto Reserva: Península de Setúbal appellation; 100% Vinhas Velhas Castelao; soft red berries, blueberries, spice, cigar box, smoke, floral notes, soft tannins, well-structured; SRP $14

2008 Quinta da Popa TR: Douro Valley appellation; 100% Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo); lively nose; herbs, red fruit, earthiness, chocolate, touch of vanilla; acidic with medium tannins; lingering dry finish; SRP $12

2010 Casa Cadaval Trincadeira Preta “Old Vines” Vinhas Velhas: Tejo appellation; 100% Trincadeira Preta; meaty; black fruit, mushroom, pepper, grisely, dry dirt; balanced acidity with integrated tannins, persistent finish; SRP $23

2010 Herdade Sao Miguel Touriga Franca: Alentejo appellation; 100% Touriga Franca; ripe red and blue fruit, licorice, spice, floral notes; round and fleshy; well integrated and structured with a lingering finish; SRP $10

2011 Quinta do Crasto Touriga Nacional: Douro Valley appellation; 100% Touriga Nacional; intense nose; as Keith said, “Smells like Parker points;” floral notes, black and blue fruits; eucalyptus; fine texture with great volume, rich-medium finish with beautifully integrated tannins; SRP $80

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Wines of Portugal logoAs you can see Portuguese wines are a great value, with only two of the ten costing more than $25. These wines are all imported in the United States so please seek them out online or from your local wine retailer and add some pleasant diversity to your wine enjoyment; you will be pleased with the outcome! Visit the Wines of Portugal web site to learn more about amazing Portugal (one of the best values for a European vacation), amazing Portuguese wine regions and amazing Portuguese wine!

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My Song Selection: My first song selection for the Wines of Portugal master class and delicious selection of wines is Anel di Rubi by Rui Veloso. Rui is a Lisbon born, popular singer/songwriter. I don’t speak Portuguese so I do not know what Rui is singing but it is a beautiful song with lots of emotion and feeling. He puts his heart into the song and the audience loves it; a perfect expression of the beauty of Portugal and Portuguese wines!

Get your own bottles of Portuguese wines and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!

11 responses to “Wines of Portugal: Where Tradition Meets Modernity”

  1. So cool! Even when I taste lots of wines in one day, I still haven’t learned how to expectorate and get the full experience. I think it has something to do with my nose, which is blessed/cursed (LOL) with hyperactive olfactory glands.

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Just wanted to drop a line to tell you that I’ve really enjoyed this article. Just a small correction, Portugal has actually 10.4 million inhabitants and not 5 million 🙂


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