Want a great deal without compromising on quality? Look no further than Portugal! Routinely under-appreciated, and given little real estate at the local liquor store, you can find great wines that over-deliver if you venture west of Spain (which is also great value although experiencing a resurgence in popularity).
Portugal produces a plethora of grapes, including international familiars like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but mostly indigenous varietals. There are more than 30 different grape varietals grown across the regions, which rivals Italy's selection. The most popular red wines produced in the Lisboa region are made from Tinta Roriz (Aragones) and Touriga Nacional. Commonly blended together, or with others like Touriga Franca and Trincadeira, these local stars perform well in the diverse microclimates across the country, which produce an array of styles depending on where they are grown.
This red blend is easy and welcoming with light tannins and good acidity, which means you can chill it slightly without creating bitter tannins or astringent acidity. Pop in the fridge for 20 minutes before serving and enjoy by 2020.
Medium depth and fairly opaque at the core. Plum coloured with reflective cherry hues when swirled, and a very slender, pale rim.
Concentrated notes of blackberry cordial, cherry pie and brambly berries give a depth of fruity aromas. Raspberry leaf, menthol and eucalyptus give a fresh herbal pop with a bit of cracked pepper to add lightly spicy notes. Cocoa powder, black licorice (like the allsorts candies Grandma had) and cherry chocolate add baking spice and fruitcake-like flavours.
A crowd-pleasing wine that is a good 'any time' drinker because of its medium-light body, medium acidity, and soft texture created by its light tannins. Showing more bitter and tart on the palate, we find wild raspberry, cherries and red currants, with the addition of briar patch, wet leather and plum skin. There is still a bit of leafiness and a hint of cocoa powder, adding just enough complexity to keep this interesting yet quaffable.
Playing on the earthy flavours and with just enough backbone to pair with a 'meaty' dish, opt for a vegetarian dish centred around mushrooms. A 'shroom pizza, stuffed portobello, or simple garlic and herb sautéed mushrooms on toast.