Wines of Portugal
Barry Weinman: 15th March 2017
Port, the fortified wine of Portugal, needs no introduction. It is considered one of the world’s great wine styles.
Portugal’s table wines on the other hand are relatively unknown in Australia. I can only ever remember trying one red wine.
The winery Ribafreixo is a relative new comer in Portugal, with the project starting in 2007. The winery produces wines under four separate labels. Pato Frio, Barrancoa, Connections and Guadio and covers both red and white varieties. All wines are from Alentejo in the region of Vidigueira.
The local distributor is Paulo Forjaz from Luso Gourmet, and the wines are sensibly priced, to allow consumers to try some interesting and worthwhile wines, without breaking the bank.
Many of the reds feature the grape Aragonez in the blend. This is a local name for the Spanish variety Tempranillo. Originating in Southern France, Alicante Bousc het is another variety that features widely in Alentejo. Of interest, this is one of the few wine grapes with red flesh (and juice).
My initial impression is that the reds are the pick, though there is a refreshing Verdelho that would be an excellent summer drink.
Distribution is limited at present, so try one of the local independent stores, or contact Luso Gourmet for stockists.
Gaudio – Verdelho – 2015 (17.3pts – $18). Really interesting, with excellent balance. The grassy fruit has lanolin and melon notes, complemented by a core of refreshing acidity. Great summer drinking with light food, or by itself.
Barrancoa – Aragonez/Trincadeira/Alicante Bouschet – 2013 (17pts – $17). A well made wine, with plump fruit building in the glass and gentle herbal notes. The palate has souring acidity and drying tannins, and gets slightly chewy on a finish that is quite long. Made as a food wine.
Pato Frio – Aragonez/Alfocheiro/Alicante Bouschet – Red Edition – 2013 (17.5pts – $25). Old-world structure here, where the fruit characters are initially muted. The ripeness of the fruit is more apparent on the palate, where it is matched to taut structure The acidity carries the finish and gives life. Really needs food, and will complement quite rich foods. Well made.
Gaudio – Touriga National/Alicante Boushet/Aragonez/ Tinta Miuda – Classico – 2013 (17.8 – 18.2pts – $28). More fragrant, with the ripe fruit showing some pretty berry notes. The palate is defined by the angular acidity, with a vein of minerality and tannins driving through to the finish. Almost Bordeaux-like in structure, this is a smart, age-worthy wine. Closed and tight, this spends 9 months in French Oak.