Portugal’s Douro Valley is famous for Porto, the sweet fortified wine that’s also known as port. But this spectacular region also produces delicious, affordable and unique red and white table wines that have been steadily growing in popularity in the United States. These wines are usually blends of mostly native grapes like touriga nacional and rabigato that may be unfamiliar to the average U.S. consumer but are well worth exploring. Below are two fine examples.
Vinha do Cais da Ribeira 2015 Branco, Douro
Bought • Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, in September for $9.99
Description • This is a charming white wine that comes with a light blue label that makes you think of cool, pure water. In the same way, this wine is clean and fresh, and while it’s somewhat light-bodied, it’s surprisingly big in flavor and character. A blend of rabigato, códega and moscatel grapes, it has an inviting floral aroma and is quite soft and very easy to drink. It’s refreshing and citrusy without being very acidic. It would go well with Portuguese cod dishes and white meats.
Quinta das Carvalhas 2013 Tinto, Douro
Bought • Total Wine, 90 Brentwood Promenade Court, in September for $14.49
Description • This lush, full-bodied red, which earned 91 points from Wine Enthusiast, is a blend that’s mostly touriga nacional, the preeminent grape varietal used to make Porto. Highly aromatic, it tastes of rich, intense dark fruit and spice from 12 months of oak aging. It has firm tannins and a mouthwatering acidity that makes you want to take another sip. This is a very flavorful wine that needs flavorful food like grilled meat.