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Tasting Portuguese Wines at Portugalia Marketplace in Fall River, MA

0830141326a This Saturday we took a short drive down Route 195 to Fall River, to meet fellow wine blogger Frederick Thurber, who covers Southeastern Mass (and more) and has taken a deep dive into Portuguese wines.  We’ve always had mixed success with Portuguese wine, some very good, some not so good.  Part of the problem is that I just don’t seem to like wine made from Touriga Portuguese wineNacional.  It’s just the way it is, kind of like Zinfandel.  Frederick swears the values are extreme however, and it was worth a shot.  After the tasting we can say three things: (1) we still don’t really like Touriga Nacional BUT-  (2) Frederick is right, because some of these are ridiculously inexpensive for the quality AND (3) the Portugalia Marketplace in Fall River is worth the drive in and of itself.

0830141212aPortugalia Marketplace has meat, frozen seafood, salted cod, olive oil, assorted foodstuffs and lots of wine.  There’s also a lot of cheese, and other stuff.  Frederick described it as a Portuguese style Whole Foods, and that is right on the mark.  It’s very cool, and has some very unique

merchandise, all at pretty good prices.  Did I mention the wine?  There is lots

Salted Cod galore!

Salted Cod galore!

of wine, mostly Portuguese of course, and much of it insanely low in price.  We tried several from Sarmento’s Imports, and they ranged in price and quality.  Some we liked and some not so much, and a couple were really good.  Here they are:

2013 Pavao Vinho Verde – there’s a slight effervescence to this, and it is crisp with some nice, bright fruit.  Chilled it would be a refreshing summer sipper, and it would be great as a mix with your favorite fruit juice.  It’s also $3.99, so how can you go wrong.  We bought some.  Good value wine.


An excellent Alvarinho

2013 Via Latina Alvarinho – this has just beautiful fruit, and a nice fullness and structure.  The fruit is clean and finishes crisp.  We got lots of melon on the nose, along with some pear.  Add in some good length on the finish and this is quite delicious.  Value list material here.  $8.99

LVW White Wine – from the Douro region this was light, and carried quite a bit of residual sugar.  A little bitterness marred the finish, and the sugar was really prominent at the back end.  We were not fans of this particular wine.  It also didn’t list the grape varieties, so we’re not sure what is in it. $8.99

2012 Petrola Merlot – this was from La Mancha, Spain.  It is a brownish red with a huge nose of peppery spice.  It was also a little sour, both in the nose and on the palate.  There seemed to be a lack of fruit at the core.  Not our favorite.  $7.99

LVW Red Wine – medium bodied the wine seemed to lack depth with no fruit core.  Another wine we were not crazy about.

2011 Adro da Se Reserva – we step up in quality here, and this wine is deep red, with nice fruit, good adro da sedepth, excellent length and a full, richer body.  All the elements are there, except it’s Touriga Nacional, and so there’s something that nags at me and it just doesn’t work.  It might be great for you though, and Frederick loved this wine.  I’d go on his recommendation if you tend to like Portuguese wines in general.

herdades dos machados

This was excellent!

2007 Herdado dos Machados Reserva 2007 – from the Alentejo DOC this really hit the mark for us.  Deep red with beautiful fruit on the nose the wine is complex, integrated and shows nice oak notes.  Soft tannins hold up the finish and the wine goes on and on.  This is good stuff, and at $12.99 is certifiably insane.  We bought some to bring home.  Definite value list material here.

We picked up a couple of others to take home based on Frederick’s

Jorge and his recommended wine

Jorge and his recommended wine

recommendations, as well as a bottle of a $3.99 red from Herdados dos Machados and a 2006 Monte da Pestana ($12.99).  This last one was recommended by Jorge from Sarmento’s based on how much we liked the 2007 Herdado.  We’ll report back on that wine soon.

Tonight is the 2011 Quinta do Coa.  We’ll see!

If you haven’t been to Portugalia Marketplace then you should go.  If you haven’t explored Portuguese wines then you should.  We’re just starting with them.  Our thanks to Frederick for introducing us to such a great market, and to some good wines.  We’re sure that we’ve just scratched the surface.  Two value list wines from one store tasting is pretty impressive!

You can read Frederick’s blog at

A votre sante!

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