Beyond Mateus

Vintages has always brought in a few wines from Portugal but I’ve never paid much attention for whatever reason–I think they’ve never really made a serious attempt to market them. Not so any more. Last Saturday’s release includes over a dozen Portuguese wines, mainly red, ranging from about $12 at the low end to $40 for a reserva Red. There are a number of bottles in the mid range–$15-25.

We bought two of these on the weekend and tried one of the Sunday night with dinner: Vinhos Sogrape Reserva 2001 Douro at $17.95 and 13.5%. This is basically port made in the style of a dry red–same grapes, same part of the country, better value for money. We really liked this one–a “mature” nose with baked, goods, tobacco, vanilla, black cherry, sort of creamy. Dry, medium+ body, medium acidity, well integrated tannins. Good finish and balance. Lean enough to be food-friendly. Re. the tobacco nose J. thought like smoking a pipe without the risk of mouth cancer.

Oddly, you get more obvious fruit and less tobacco after airing. I’m not sure what to make of that.

Definitely good value for $18, and worth trying if you get the chance.

[ETA: it has a bit of sediment so try to stand upright for a while (the bottle, not you), then decant.]