Choosing a bottle of wine can be a challenging task, so I’ve picked some of the best Portuguese wines, added some of my personal favorites, and the final result is a suggestion of one different Portuguese wine for every day of the year. As simple as that.
The price range goes from 3 to 300 euros, and I’ve included bottles from all the 14 Portuguese wine regions. The list features Red, White, Fortified, and Sparkling wines from both big and small producers.
Give it a try! Pick any month or day and you’ll find a recommendation.
The year starts with an amazing wine produced by Quinta dos Termos. This is a red wine made with grapes coming from old vines in Belmonte, Beira Interior. Other wines to drink in January include the RS Baga Blanc de Noir Bruto Sparkling made from Baga, the most cherished grape in Bairrada.
From Lisboa I recommend the Confidencial Reserva Red a very affordable wine that got 90 points from Wine Enthusiast. The last highlight from January, Monte da Ravasqueira Vinha Das Romãs is a personal favorite. This Red boasts a very intense, rich, and complex aroma. A gem from Alentejo.
This month I’d like to highlight two white and two red wines starting with the Lés-a-Lés Sério de Síria, a project that aims to recover forgotten Portuguese grapes, in this case, Síria, planted in Lisboa. Only a few thousand bottles are made. A must-try. The other white, Dory, also from the Lisboa region is widely available in the market and is the type of wine that manages to deliver, always. This blend of Arinto, Viognier, and Fernão Pires pairs very well with fish dishes.
Moon Harvested Red from Herdade dos Grous takes it up a notch. This full-flavored, round, silky wine is just plain delicious. The other Red is the 10-year-old Tawny from Ferreirinha, a wine made to be enjoyed, one chalice at a time.
If you wish to start March with a different experience, I’ll recommend a varietal made with Alfrocheiro from Quinta dos Termos. One of the wines that impressed me the most lately.
As I write this, I’m starting to spot a personal tendency towards Whites from Lisboa. Well, the truth is that this region is putting some great bottles on the market and this Reserva from Quinta da Boa Esperança is no exception.
Now something special, the Moscatel de Favaios Colheita 1980 Siza Vieira. A muscat from the Douro Valley. The bottle was designed by Siza Vieira, an internationally acclaimed Portuguese architect, and by the way, the wine is damn good.
“This Tejo producer has a winner here. It is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 20% Castelão and 15% Syrah. It is beautifully built and chock full of fruit, too.”Mark Squires for Robert Parker
The saying goes that, in April, it rains a lot. So get ready for a downpour of amazing wines.
Let’s start with Aparte. These guys break “the rules” by mixing grapes from different regions. The Classic White is a limited edition of 1000 bottles. Arinto grapes come from Alenquer, Alvarinho from Torres Vedras, and Encruzado from Vila Nova de Tazem, each grape fermented separately and aged for 8 months in used barrels. There you go!
On the other end of the spectrum, Cedro do Noval is so well-established that I don’t know anyone that doesn’t love this amazing Douro wine.
If you’re a fan of big bold reds here are two: one from Alentejo and the other from the Douro. If you enjoy a touch of spices, mint, and tobacco, drink the Dona Maria now, while the Vinha do Ujo you can keep it in the cellar for a few more years.
In May I’d like to bring a rosé to the stage. Quinta Nova Rosé 2018 is a very serious wine. I’ve had the chance to pair it with a Sunday roast and it had an impeccable performance. Strongly recommend it.
Next, there are two sparkling wines, one from Távora-Varosa and the other from Bairrada. If you want finesse and sophistication, go for the aged Murganheira Assemblage Sparkling 2002. If you prefer a powerful, yet elegant, espumante go for the Quinta das Bágeiras Super Reserva Rosé Sparkling 2011.
Because in May the sun is out and the weather is nice, at least in Portugal, it’s time for Vinho Verde. Pequenos Rebentos results from a love affair. It comes from an Azal vine planted in the 1930s. Expect a rustic wine with very high acidity that has been tamed in oak barrels for five months. Less than 600 bottles were made. The Jurássico is a rare Alvarinho cuvée that presents great aromatic complexity, mixing suggestions of orange peel, mandarin, ginger, resins, iodine, and a light petroleum touch.
So many good wines, so little time.
Only 1200 bottles were made from the Poças Fora da Série Touriga Nacional Red 2015. A powerful, elegant, balanced, fresh, and harmonious wine. Everything a Touriga Nacional should be. Also from the Douro, the Obliti Late Harvest White 2013 is probably the best LH in the Portuguese market right now: sweetness, acidity, aromas, and intensity all at the same level. An intense, mesmerizing wine.
From Quinta Valle Passos in Trás-os-Montes, comes this Tinta Amarela varietal, a Red that combines elegance and personality, with the typical notes of dry vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Also from the same region, there’s the Quinta Serra D’Oura White. Floral aroma, with pollen hints, sweet barrel, and dried herbs.
From the Dão, the Adro da Sé White is a surprising wine at an excellent price.
Al last but not least the Luis Pato Vinha Formal Sparkling 2010 is a super elegant sparkling made from Bical and Touriga Nacional.
In July, you’ll only need to spend around €50 to taste these five amazing wines.
Creamy, delicious, and affordable – the Portuguese have a love affair with the Terras do Demo Bruto Sparkling. Produced with the Malvasia Fina variety, it has a fine and persistent bubble, a slightly citrus color with straw tones, and an intense aroma. From the Azores comes the Pico Wines Terras de Lava, a White with a tropical and citrus fruits aroma coated with pungent saltiness. Also citric but from a warmer climate, is the Coelheiros White 2018.
If you wish to get off the often beaten track, the Arinto Reserva 2015 from Quinta de Pancas reveals the full potential from the Arinto grape when properly aged.
For just €5 you can taste A Descoberta, a Rosé from Dão with a good balance between body, acidity, and alcohol.
The hottest month starts with Phenomena, a Rosé from the Douro. A beautifully packaged wine full of character and originality.
Soalheiro Granit reveals Alvarinho’s mineral profile while Gorro brings the floral expression of the Loureiro grape. Argilla is a fresh, unoaked, herbal Red from Alentejo made from a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional and Petit Verdot.
Hot days ask for fine and velvety bubbles, acidity, and a pleasant dryness, something that Sidónio de Sousa Special Cuvée White Brut has plenty of.
Back to school! These wines are a lesson on biology, geography, and enology.
Quinta Vale Dona Maria Vinha da Francisca Red 2017 is one of the Douro’s finest and one of the best Portuguese wines. Lots of character and strength in both the aroma and palate make this a remarkable Red.
Pequenos Rebentos Alvarinho “À Moda Antiga” is a beautiful yet serious White made from a blend of Alvarinho and Arinto grapes macerated and partially fermented on the lees. I’d like to remember that Vinho Verde isn’t just Alvarinho so there’s also Castrus, a Loureiro from Quintas de Melgaço.
Back to the Douro to find CARM, a top-quality, affordable, and internationally recognized wine plus the Maçanita Sousão, a rare, elegant, and intense ruby-colored wine made exclusively from the Sousão grape. The Redoma Branco 2019 is a light-footed white wine that impresses with its balance and aging potential.
The class ends in Alentejo. Paulo Laureano Old Vines Private Selection White 2018 is made from Antão Vaz grapes coming from plots of old vineyards with low production and high concentration. Enjoy its ripe mango aromas, tangerine peel, paired with lots of minerality and a spicy touch.
I expect that by October you’ve saved enough money to invest in the following wines starting with the Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2017. Wine Spectator gave it 98 points, Robert Parker and James Suckling gave 97. One to stash in the cellar.
Falcoaria Grande Reserva 2015 is a complex, structured Red made with Alicante Bouschet grapes from old vines.
Quinta de Arcossó in Trás-os-Montes presents this Grande Reserva, a fresh, structured blend of Arinto and Alvarinho. From Lisbon, Murgas offers a 100% Arinto from clay-limestone soils. A tasty and soft White supported by beautiful acidity.
From Douro Superior, Zom offers a balanced, appealing blend of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca from old vines. Vinhas Improváveis shows an intense concentration of black fruits with a long juicy aftertaste.
Ramilo Malvasia from Colares presents the rare chance to taste a wine that originates from bush vines planted by the Atlantic Ocean.
“A phenomenal debut from an ungrafted vineyard planted by the Ramilo brothers in 2015. Half fermented in lagares on skins, it is a golden/straw hue, with tons of dry extract and savoury, salty mineral appeal. Long, energetic and focused finish.”Sharah Ahmed for Decanter Magazine
Pôpa Black Edition White 2017 is a “field blend” from old vines. Beautiful aromatic complexity, full of flavor, intense, yet elegant.
Villa Oeiras is the last active producer from Carcavelos, a tiny wine region just outside Lisbon city. This fortified wine was rescued from oblivion by the Oeiras Municipality. It’s defined by a topaz color, with a complex bouquet of dried fruits, honey, and spices.
Vicentino Reserva Red, from the Alentejo coast, is the fortunate marriage between the Atlantic sea breeze, Touriga Nacional, and fine oak.
Henriques & Henriques describes its 1981 Verdelho as “a medium-dry wine with evident notes of tropical fruits, candied orange peel, peach, and apricot. Sweetness and acidity are in good balance, with a long aftertaste and a touch of spicy spices.” But like any other amazing aged Madeira, for sure that there’s plenty more to discover.
December celebrations are a time for luscious meals with friends and family, so I’ve picked some of the best Portuguese wines and “crammed” them in the last month of the year.
Quinta do Vale Meão 2017 is the only Portuguese still wine to be awarded 100 points by Wine Enthusiast magazine.
“This wine continues the line of magnificent wines created by (Dona Antónia) descendants. It is structured and dense yet poised. The rich dark fruit has melded with the tannins, although both will take much more time to fully develop.”
Procura Vinhas Velhas White 2017 is an exceptionally fresh, but intense wine, the result of the vineyard’s age, location, and complexity of the field blend. Also from Alentejo, Mamoré de Borba is a wine from limestone soils aged in amphorae. It presents a complex aroma with oxidative notes and herbs well-matched with a remarkable acidity.
Teixuga, is one of Dão’s finest. High-intensity aroma, revealing the intricate aromas due to aging and to the characteristics of the Encruzado variety. The mouth is intense and bulky, revealing a lively but well-integrated acidity.
Sidónio de Sousa produces great wines from Bairrada. He owns some of the oldest Baga vines and continues to produce in a traditional way, resulting in juicy, fruit‐forward exquisite wines aged in old Portuguese oak. The Garrafeira Red 2011 is a great example of this winemaking tradition.
Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of the article 👏. I sincerely hope that you leave with a Portuguese wine in mind and give it a try.