We’re Toasting: Wine from Portugal

A few months ago I had a chance to travel to Portugal as a guest of Herdade Do Esporao, an incredible experience both for the amazing (and affordable) wines that Esporao makes, but also for the beauty, history and passion that the country is filled with.  I had a chance to talk about a few of my favorite wines and the gorgeous olive oil Esporao makes (yes….I said grapes in the segment and I meant olive trees) this morning on D:The Broadcast.  Take a look here –  Portugal Wine with Hayley Hamilton. For more details on each of the wines and that delicious olive oil follow the jump.

White Port is not as common, but a small amount is made throughout the Douro. Made of a blend of white grapes – arinto, codega, malvasia fina, rabigato and viosinho, aged 3 years, bottled and ready to drink. It is excellent mixed with a bit of tonic water and a simple lemon or orange twist over ice.

Port Tonic
1 part Warre’s White Port (or any white port)
2 parts tonic water
twist of lemon

Monte Velho red – blend of Arogonez (Tempranillo in Portugal), Trincadera and Castelão from the Alentejo region of Portugal in the southeast. Mineral intense, black cherry and blackberry filled, big and bold, yet appropriate for everyday – and a great $$$ value at $13 a bottle.

Monte Velho white – a vibrant blend of Antão Vaz, Roupeiro and Perrum, three not very well known grape varieties, but ones that thrive in the mineral rich clay, shist and granite filled soils.  Filled with layers of fresh lemon, peach and orange blossom.

Esporao Private Selection White – blend of Semillon and Marsanne and Roussane (a favorite of their Australian born wine maker, David Baverstock, who spent much of his career in the early days in France), aged 6 months on the lees (yeasts) to create a creamy, complex and interesting wine with tropical fruit, lemon curd and spice notes with good acidity and balance.

Esporao Private Selection Red –  Alicante Bouschet, Aragonês and Syrah (the Syrah is also a favorite of the Aussie so it finds its way into many of their wines) smoky, spicy and berry notes – big, bold and intense, a hearty wine good for rich foods like lamb, beef or game

Esporao Extra Virgin Olive Oil – $13 at Spec’s, olive trees often thrive in the same climate that makes for great grapevines. Esporao has 80 hectraes (about 180 acres) of olive trees on their Alentejo estate, grown with sustainable methods, producing green, spicy and floral filled olive oils. Their intense and flavorful Extra Vigin Olive Oil is made from a blend of Galega, Cordovil, Verdeal, Cobrançosa.