I have a bucket list of Portuguese wines I want to drink in 2022. I decided to get my head straight, pick 22 to drink this year, and share them with you.
It’s an inclusive selection featuring ten whites, ten reds, and two rosé encompassing ten Portuguese wine regions. The price range starts at 2€ and goes all the way up to 38€.
Starting from the top of the map
If you know Portuguese wine, you probably already had an Alvarinho, and if you’re a fan of Vinho Verde you may have also tried a Loureiro or an Alvarinho blend. It’s time to get to know a different grape, namely Avesso. The Quinta de Santa Teresa Avesso White 2019 from A&D Wines is a great pick. The guys at Foz Gourmet state that the wine “reveals citrusy notes and floral aromas, such as lime or orange blossom”. Let’s give it a try!
Trás-os-Montes! This three-word combo may mean nothing to you, but it’s one of the up-and-coming Portuguese wine regions. It’s slowly stepping out of the Douro’s shadow. This Head Rock Rosé 2016 has drawn my attention. It’s a blend of Touriga Nacional and Alvarinho vinified and aged in used oak barrels.
The heavyweights (plus a featherweight)
I invite you to step into the Douro to taste Guru White 2019 and Xisto Ilimitado White 2019. The first is the creation of Sandra Tavares, recently named one of the best woman winemakers in the world by Financial Times. Guru, elected the best Portuguese white wine by Grandes Escolhas Magazine in 2020, promises pure and precise citrusy and flower aromas with a complex palate.
Xisto Ilimitado is made by winemaker Luis Seabra. His low intervention wines, fermented with natural yeast, have achieved recognition both at home and abroad. The wine has been described as “shiny and mineral” with a great balance between power and elevation.
Quinta da Gaivosa Red 2017 by Alves de Sousa was rated with 94 points by Robert Parker. It aims to deliver the complex and concentrated gamut of flavors and aromas that top-notch reds from the Douro usually have to offer. Real Companhia Velha has a different proposition as the Quinta de Cidrô Touriga Nacional Red 2017 is one of the many varietals in its portfolio. Expect blueberries and sharp floral aromas alongside freshness and elegance.
And because we’re already in 2022 and not in 1922, let’s open a can of Cockburn’s Port & Tonic. A refreshing blend of white port, tonic water, lemon, and mint!
Find out more about Vinho Verde and Douro regions in the article Best Portuguese Wine Regions: The Chess Game
Let’s get down
Down the map, the party starts in Bairrada with the Arco d’Aguieira White 2017 backed by Aveleda. This is a blend of Maria Gomes and Chardonnay, among other grapes, and it shows a vegetal profile with hints of lemon verbena and dried herbs. Niepoort also stepped outside the Douro to produce the Lagar de Baixo Baga Red 2018, a sophisticated red with firm tannins and the unique “earthiness” of the Baga grape.
From the Dão region, I’m eager to try two red wines. The “old school” Quinta da Falorca Lagar Red 2014, made in the traditional granite lagares, fermented, and aged for 18 months in oak barrels and the soft, rounded, minty Borges Quinta de São Simão da Aguieira Red 2018.
Where the wine and the rivers flow
I’m curious to try the Quinta do Casal Branco White Alvarinho 2020, an Alvarinho made in the Tejo riverbanks and not in the Minho as one would expect. It shows tropical fruit on the nose balanced with good acidity.
By the sea, we’ll find the Casal Santa Maria Mar de Rosas Rosé 2020, one of the most renowned Portuguese rosé wines. A blend of Touriga Nacional, Pinot Noir, and Syrah, aged in oak barrels. Serious stuff.
From the Setúbal wine region and under the influence of both the Sado river and the Atlantic ocean come two wines from Herdade do Portocarro, the Cavalo Maluco Red 2014, and the Gerónimo White 2019. The red wine has a complex aroma, with floral notes, black fruits, chocolate, spice, and smoke. The white is more subtle with citrus sensations, green apple, and wet stone. The Pioneiro Red 2020 from Venâncio da Costa Lima makes the title of a recent Washington Post article: A complex $12 red blend from Portugal tops our list of the 12 best bargain wines of 2021. For €4, of course, is one of the Portuguese wines to drink in 2022!
Dry plains mean great wines
In 2022 let’s get off the beaten track and try these unusual white wines from Alentejo, starting with the Fitapreta “O Ancestral” White 2020. A wine that aims to resurrect the old field blend formula of the Alentejo whites using grape varieties typical of the region, some of them currently reduced to only a few hectares of plantation.
Antão Vaz, Diagalves, Roupeiro, and Manteúdo: I’m sure you never heard of these grapes before! After the harvest, the wine ferments and ages in talhas (amphorae). It’s hard to find a wine as rare and exciting as the Adega Marel Tonico White 2019. For sure is one of the Portuguese wines to drink in 2022!
From Casa Clara comes the Herdade da Capela Grande Reserva White 2017. A blend of Arinto and Antão Vaz, partially aged in new oak. It’s a wine with good aging potential. Only about 5000 bottles were available to the market. To close the wine selection from Alentejo, I’ve included Bojador 2018, a side project from Pedro Ribeiro, chief winemaker at Rocim. Reviewers claim that this unpretentious red wine reveals exuberant aromas of wild fruits on the nose, while tasting shows round tannins and good mouth volume.
Find out more about the Alentejo region in the article Best Portuguese Wine Regions: The Chess Game
Something from the sun to enjoy at the sun
Morgado do Quintão is a beautiful property in Algarve where guests can enjoy a blend of sunshine, ocean breeze, nature, and wine, of course! They’ve released the Morgado do Quintão Palhete Red 2019. Being a palhete means that the wine is a blend of red and white grapes, namely Negra Mole and Crato Branco (Roupeiro/Síria). Let’s taste this fresh, elegant wine that promises a burst of red fruits, they say!
Inspired by the way wines were produced in the Algarve, mixing white and red grapes from local varieties Morgado do Quintão created a unique wine that honors the winemaking tradition of this region. It is dry, full-bodied, and different from a rosé.
2022 means new wine experiences
I hope you find this selection of Portuguese wines to drink in 2022 useful. If you drink any of these wines, please drop me a line via email at hello @ drinkportugal . net or via Instagram. Happy 2022. Saúde!