February Wine Club

Feb 17, 2023

Portugal first landed on most people’s wine radars because of port, a fortified dessert wine, but as we have been lucky enough to discover, there is so much more to Portugal than port. So much in fact, that Portugal has the most varieties of indigenous grapes than any other Country, over 250! As wine drinkers and buyers, we have mostly used grape varietals to know what we like and what we don’t, but with Portugal, I urge you to not be swayed either way by recognizing a varietal in the bottle or more likely not recognizing a varietal. The truth lies in the aromas and the taste. So just open that bottle and let your sensors decipher for what you enjoy. Cheers, P. & E. Mullins

2021 Asnella

Vinho Verde, Portugal

Ah, Vinho Verde, a region in Northern Portugal and also a now pretty popular style of wine. The wine style started in the 1950s as the wine industry was trying to deter the popularity of the arrival of Coca-Cola and other soda drinks by creating a light alcoholic, effervescent drink for people to enjoy casually throughout the day. We love a Vinho Verde style wine and have some favorites here in the bottle shop, but here we are showcasing a terroir-driven wine from the region. This single vineyard wine comes from the Southern part of Vinho Verde right where it meets the Douro. This allows for the vineyard to lay on two different types of soil, schist granite. These give the wine bright minerality and weight. Asnella is made up of 60% Arinto and 40% Loureiro. The first of many Portuguese indigenous grapes to learn. In the glass is a light delicate yellow. The nose has essence of lime and dried from the sun herbs. The palate is milky in texture, soft but weighted. There is a bright clean refreshing quality with lime zest and a bit of salinity, reminiscent of a margarita and at only 12.5 % alc you can enjoy a few more than margaritas.

2021 Taboadella Villae Branco

Dão, Portugal

Almost like the most Northern part of central Portugal lies the Dão. It is becoming recognized as a region in Portugal to watch for age worthy quality wines. More finessed, than the wines from the more popular and recognized Douro Valley. The high altitude and terroir of rugged soils chalked with decomposing granite and schist along with climate of warm summer winds and cool mountain mornings allows for wines from this region to develop complex structure with tannins and acidity while still staying lighter in body. This blend of 40% Encruzado, 40% Bical and 20% Cerceal-Branco is fermented whole cluster and aged in a combination of stainless steel and cement tulip tanks and a low temperature to hold on the bright aromatics and fruit notes. In the glass there is a crystal clean pale yellow. The nose has a charred richness with a ting of vanilla, green apple, and pineapple. The palate is creamy but still lean with pineapple notes from the nose carrying through to the finish.

2018 Luis Duarte Rubrica Tinto

Vinho Regional Alentejano, Portugal

In the Southeast of Portugal along the border of Spain lies Alentejo, with exception of the marble castles the landscape could remind you of California. Hot and dry with low rolling hills and loads of sunny days. This is where noteworthy winemaker Luis Duarte calls home. Over the last 25 years, he has been and continues to be one of the most recognized vignerons of Portugal, being named winemaker of the year in 1997 and 2007. This label Rubrica, meaning “signature” in Portuguese and is his small passion project. A blend of both indigenous Portuguese varietals and French, winemaker Luis Duarte makes this wine from the grapes on his home property composing of just 8 hectares. There is Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Aragonez. In the glass this wine is a deep dark ruby red. There are aromatics of dark cherries and cassis with a hint of barrel, banana, and a peppery spice. The palate is gently grippy with tannins. It is elegantly long and layered with notes of stewed plums and a lift from acidity throughout. The finish is dusty and dry.