Tasting Notes on 5 Portuguese Wines from our Winter Wine Club meeting


Our Winter meeting focused on the wines of Portugal. Coming off what most critics say was their best vintage ever for red wines, 2011, we delved into these wines with an intense curiosity. People could bring reds, whites or dessert wines. Surprisingly, no one brought any Port. For food, we had some an authentic Portuguese dish in the potato gratin cod dish, steak with a ginger orange sauce, fried shrimp and shrimp egg rolls, and dessert we had an assortment of high end chocolate.

  • 2011 Churchill/Graham Douro Churchill Estates – Portugal, Douro
    Tasted blind. This had a nose of pepper, raspberry, chocolate and flowers. Wasn’t the biggest nose of the night but certainly was interesting. The palate was more interesting with flavors of mocha, raspberry, pepper and a touch of iron. Ended with a nice medium finish. Thought this was the Delaforce because the Touriga Nacional stood out to me but I was a little off. This finished tied for WOTN. (92 pts.) Available
  • 2011 Wine & Soul Douro Guru – Portugal, Douro
    Tasted blind but it was the only white and I immediately knew it was the Guru. Nose of matchstick, slate, a splash of citrus and mineral. It then had flavors of beeswax, slate, and saline. This had a very bright acidity and a mineral driven finish. Kind of resembled a some white Bordeaux’s but still a little different. The best showing for this wine in the 2-3 times I have had it. This finished tied for WOTN. (92 pts.) In Stock
  • 2011 Delaforce Touriga Nacional Douro – Portugal, Douro
    Tasted blind. This had a biggest nose of the night with aromas of raspberry, mulburry and a touch of mocha. Not the most complex nose but really jumped out of the glass. The palate didn’t match the intensity of the nose but still had nice flavors of raspberry, sour cherry and a touch of iron. This ended with some drying tannins on the medium long finish. This one just needs sometime I think. (92 pts.) In Stock
  • 2004 Aliança Quinta das Baceladas – Portugal, Beiras, Vinho Regional Beiras
    Tasted blind. This nose was very different from the other wines. Had dried cherry, boysenberry and licorice. A lot of dried fruit. Immediately guessed it was an older bottle and actually reminded me a Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate had more dried cherry, raspberry, with a touch of herb and earth. An impressive wine for a 10 year old Cab/Merlot/Baga blend. (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Casa Ferreirinha Douro Vinha Grande – Portugal, Douro
    Tasted blind. Nose of raspberry, pepper and mocha. Not the most expressive nose but not bad either. This then had flavors of mushroom, dried cherry and raspberry. Ended with a 20 second long finish. A nice wine and the flavors made sense since it was a 2008. (91 pts.) In Stock

Interesting to see how close these wines were in quality. Typically we have something that either rises above the rest or is a definite outlier. Will have to continue to explore this region for reds and whites.