Last week hundreds of New Yorkers were treated to 50 outstanding Portuguese wines selected by Joshua Green, Editor and Publisher of Wine & Spirits magazine. There were sessions for both trade and consumers, organized by Wines of Portugal (www.winesofportugal.com). The title of the event “50 Great Portuguese Wines” was apt.
Every wine showed excellence in a dizzying display of flavors, terroirs and traditions, ranging from light and mineral Vinho Verde to full-bore, barrel-aged Douro reds to multilayered Madeira and Port fortified, sweet wines. There were also were many worthy, but less well known regions in between. Although not every pick might suit your personal taste, both quality and character were evident in each selection.
The format was a great way to focus on the best of Portugal. Or at least a snapshot of its best wines, filtered through the eyes of an experienced critic and longtime observer of Portuguese wine.
Rather than needing to dash through hundreds of mixed quality wines available in the market as in a typical “Grand Tasting” type event, here you actually had time to focus carefully on the wines, without having to sort through lower quality or less interesting examples.
If your goal was primarily to make specific buying decisions (as a member of the trade or as a consumer) a Grand Tasting style event might have proved more useful. Some of the wines shown are very limited production, while others lack an importer or will be hard to find. Many are on the pricy side—but not all. Even so, many of these wines offer good value when compared to similar quality wines from the likes of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Tuscany or Napa Valley. Not to mention plenty of distinctive character only steps off those well worn paths.
However, if your goal was to find out what Portugal has to offer at a world class level but in a uniquely Portuguese way, this tasting was a winner. Kudos to Mr. Green for an outstanding job at the difficult task of parsing up an entire nation’s wine output in 50 selections. This tasting should leave no doubt that the wines of Portugal should be on your radar, if they’re not already.
You can see the full list of wines at:
Disclosure: From time to time I serve as an unpaid and volunteer industry tasting panel member at Wine & Spirits magazine, which is published by Mr. Green. However, I have no affiliation with Wines of Portugal, the organizer of this event.