Many of the wines are still made in a slightly rustic style with flavors that proudly display the earth, spice and savory tones that almost define Old World wines. Of course, with success and recognition comes inevitable change, and the Portuguese reds we see on our shores seem to indicate that we are in the midst of just that.
Whether that means more international varieties, increasing assertiveness of French oak, or sweet and fruity flavors, there is no doubt that Portuguese wines are as a whole adopting more of an international flair. I would generally argue that this is not a positive development for wine drinkers. We have enough international wines.
Holding on to something traditional should not be seen as something to frown upon. Of course, that tradition should not include traditional faults that have frequently been held up as expressions of style or site. I want Portuguese wines to be more than just the next blueberry shake.
Fortunately, there is something standing in the way of the complete conversion of the Portuguese wine industry: indigenous varieties!
Judging from this admittedly modest set of wines, there is something about the various Portuguese grapes that defies “progress.” Yes, many of the wines feel modern, but the flavor profiles are usually rooted firmly in the Old World. The only place where I see progress moving forward, or rather up, unabated is with pricing.
There are still many great values coming from Portugal, as well as a fair share of clunkers, but with prices moving up, are people going to take the risk to try these wines and discover what Portugal has to offer? I hope so. Here are some wines you should start with!
Douro Valley image via Shutterstock