Tag Archives: Portuguese wine

Weekly Wine – Portuguese white

14 Dec

11200loioswLoios White, Alentrjo
12.5% ABV
$9.00 (LCBO)

I wasn’t expecting much from this wine.
The concept of an inexpensive white Portuguese wine somehow does not inspire much oenological confidence.
Yet this wine is fine. It has that distinct Portuguese earthy flavour that I find many wines for Portugal have. It hits you on the initial swig of the wine – and actually sticks in there till the bottle is finished – but you do get used to it because it really does not interfere with the flavour.
Once beyond the earth you realise that are lots of pears here. Many times, wines with a predominantly pearish taste have a mushy and uncomfortable flavour as a whole. Like eating an over-ripe pear. This wine ain’t that – this is a crisp pear, and a rather nice crisp wine.
Granted – this wine will not win too many, if any awards. But well chilled – it is fine for a casual evening with or without food.

Weekly Wine – Red plonk

26 Oct

1026loiosrLoios Red
14% ABV
$9.20 (LCBO)

Perhaps the title is not fair.
But that’s the mood I’m in.
I was looking for some plonk and I have it.
This is not the least expensive Portuguese wine in Ontario and it is quite good in its way. It has a nice presentable label that is classy and funky at the same time.
This wine has that earthy flavour that many Portuguese wines have. This flavour is distinctive and while some people don’t like it, it has grown on me and I don’t mind it.
This wine is spicy and the body is not heavy, although it is not a light either. There is a hint of cherry and some other fruit that I can`t quite make out. The balance of this wine is really nice – the earthiness combined with the fruit and spice works very well.
This wine is inexpensive plonk but it is very good plonk. It is definitely worth a taste.

Weekly Wine – Alianca

27 Jul

AlliancaAlianca Vinho Verde
10% ABV
$9.05 (LCBO)

Here is a nice typical vinho verde wine. It is light, tart, refreshing and quite pleasant. It is very good chilled and even quite passable when the temperature of the wine goes down.
It is fantastic to drink on a hot day – but be wary – you will be able to put this down quickly without realising it has a robust ten percent alcohol content. You can down a bottle of this like you would a beer – but should you…
It is a good repast – perfect for sipping in the shade on a hot day. Great with a light snack of bread, cheese and well cured meat. A proper lunch on the field.
The slight gaseous nature of this wine adds to the taste experience. It blends the tartness with a light crispy sensation on the palate. There is a light fruity citrus ambiance in the taste but it is not overpowering and it, importantly, does not taste artificial.
It is very well balanced.
I love vinho verde wines in the summers. This one is great.

Weekly Wine – Gazela

29 Jun

gazRosGazela Vinho Verde Rose
9.5% ABV
$9.50 (LCBO)

I’ve had the white wine version of this wine way back when –August, 2013.
This rose is just as nice as the white one.
It is tart.
It is crisp.
It is fruity – but not too much.
What makes this wine better than a spritzer, some wine with club soda usually, is that here the carbonation is very mild. Occasionally referred to as effervescent wine, the slight carbonation is not the result of a shot of carbon dioxide before bottling, but from a secondary fermentation.
This gives the wine a nice round flavour and makes for a very pleasant refreshing drink on a hot day, or evening.
It is a bit dangerous as it does have nine per cent alcohol. On a hot day, it is very conceivable that one can down a bottle or two of this quite easily. Think of two bottles as three pints of beer – in terms of volume. If you are putting down a proper IPA with 6 to 7 per cent alcohol, you will feel it – the heaviness, the hops, the alcohol. This wine has more alcohol yet is light and refreshing.
Dangerous, but good, stuff.
The bottle photographed is empty because I neglected to take a picture before drinking the bottle. It was a hot evening. The wine has a nice pink colour.

Weekly Wine – Foral

9 Sep


Alianca Foral Douro
13.5% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

I’m sitting here, drinking this wine, writing a review of an album and taking care of some other stuff. About half of the bottle slipped by before I noticed that I was also to write a review of the wine.
It was only then that I decided to concentrate my full attention on the taste and the experience of the wine. I looked at it. Peered into its soul. Had an exploratory sip, and another.
My first absentminded impression of this wine were the best indication of this wine’s quality. It is good. It is unspectacular. But you will pay about 25 bucks for it at a restaurant because it is one of the least expensive wines on the list – and it will be fine.
It will compliment your meat dishes.
It will do OK with the fishes.
The pastas, the burgers, the pizzas – all delicious.
It is a good wine at a reasonable price.
I like that very much.



Weekly Wine – Grao Vasco

1 Jul


Grao Vasco Dao
13% ABV
$7.95 (LCBO)

I will never claim to have a palate of a sommelier.
I will never be able to distinguish the various hints of blueberries, chokeberries, apricots or elderberries in wine.
I will not be able to comment on the nose of any wine as I am bereft of the sense of smell.
I will not be able to distinguish vintages of a certain wine growing region with any accuracy.
I would be able to tell that this wine is from Portugal.
It has that earthiness (?) that envelops most Portuguese wines.
It is there in the first taste and lasts until the last droplet of wine leaves the taste buds.
I find this wine a bit heavy. A bit earthy, yet it is a good wine for colder evenings – when a light wine will just not do. My problem with this wine is that this distinctive Portugueseness of this wine might affect its acceptance to people that think they know wine. It is what it is – a good solid wine that is a bit unrefined, that contains the character of the soil that it was born out of.
It is rough, wild and satisfying.

Weekly Wine – Mateus Signature

13 May


Sogrape Mateus Signature Douro Red
13% ABV
$8.95 (LCBO)

This is actually a very nice wine. It is rather light and quite pleasant to drink right from the first sip. Surprising, as Portuguese wine at this price level tend to be a bit heavier, and meatier, and earthier, and very distinctive.
This one is quite distinct for its lack of distinction. It is nice and flavourful without really any off flavours or tastes. Ii is a good wine – not outstanding, but quite good. The label is very classy and gives it a look that gives of the airs that you had spent more than a sawbuck to buy it.
I like the fact that this wine does not fall into the typical marketing gimmicks of making flashy wine labels. Or saddling the wine with a trendy name that will be obvious and dated by the time the bottles hot the shelves.
Signature denotes that it is a premium. In this case it is a premium of an inexpensive, affordable, class of wine. The wine matches this description perfectly.



Weekly Wine – Mateus

11 Mar

Year:  N/A
11% ABV
$9.60 (LCBO)

This is actually the 100th wine that I have reviewed. Hurrah! I saved this Mateus Rose for the 100th bottle because for some reason this wine is the definition of cheap. When I mentioned that I was to do reviews of inexpensive wines to friends, they would inevitably say something to the tune of, “What. Stuff like Mateus?”
I drank this wine at a cottage with snowbanks surrounding the place. The wine got chilled in a pile of snow. I know that this is not the ideal situation to drink it, but if it works here then it should work anywhere.
I was surprized that it is effervescent – like a vino verde, but it is not classified as such. The bottle tells me it is semi-sparkling. I did not know that and had obviously forgotten as I have not had Mateus in eons. The bubbles are nice and light and match the flavour which is very delicate and not too sweet.
Drinking it is like drinking one of those wine coolers – a light semi-sweet flavour which is refreshing on a hot day. It was hot in the cottage because of the wood burning stove so this wine fit the bill. I was surprised.

Weekly Wine – Terra Boa

11 Feb

SONY DSCAlianca Terra Boa Vinho Tinto, Old Vines, Beira
13.5% ABV
$7.75 (LCBO)

A cheap one this is. Not just under ten bucks but it squeezes well under eight bucks.
I should be leery of this wine. I should perhaps even avoid this wine.
The thing is, it has a very nice and classy label. I like the fonts it uses. I like the colours on the label – primarily red and white. I like the fact that Old vines is in a much different font and printed in gold ink. This is a very nice label – I hope the wine matches the wrapper.
It’s not bad, but it does have the heaviness and acidity of inexpensive wines. The earthiness and the sulphites are very much present. The heaviness is from its providence in Portugal – so if you are a fan of Portuguese wine, this one should be in your hamper.
There is no mistaking from the flavour of Terra Boa that it is an inexpensive selection.
That being said – I like this wine. Not just because it is cheap and has a high alcohol content – the heavy body and earthy flavours are great for cold winter evenings.

Weekly Wine – Vila Regia

28 Jan

SONY DSCSogrape Vila Regia, Douro
13% ABV
$8.00 (LCBO)

Eight bucks.
Eight bucks does not buy much these days.
But at the LCBO, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, for eight measly bucks you can get this wine. It is a hearty wine. Earthy, like many Portuguese wines. But not too much. I think the word is balanced. Yes, this wine is well balanced. It is an amazing wine for the price.
We had this wines with friends and I did not reveal the priced until everybody had their comments in. No one believed that it was eight bucks, except the one that saw the price that I had lightly inscribed on the back of the label. She loved the wine and was amazed that this was available.
Will this wine rival one that costs about ten times as much? No.
But it will put some that cost four to five times as much to shame.
This wine is proof positive that you do not have to spend a great deal of cash to drink quality wine.