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Preto Branco, Portuguese Red Wine

Portugal has so many diverse and unknown wine regions that it would be easy
Posted 26th March 2012        
     

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Portugal has so many diverse and unknown wine regions that it would be easy to spend a day just talking about all that we don’t know about the country and it’s wines. Sure, everyone knows about the Douro Valley and their justly famous port wines and some may be familiar with Vinho Verde – the light, quaffable, slightly fizzy white wine of the north – but that’s about it.

The rounded bottle of Mateus is also emblematic of Portuguese wine but with a new generation and revitalization of the Portuguese table wine industry, that image will hopefully be changing soon. As a matter of fact, 2011 was the first year ever that table wine exports topped fortified (Port) wine exports. Very exciting news for Portugal’s table wine producers.

You may be wondering what I mean when I refer to “table wines”. “Aren’t all wines drunk at a table?” you may be asking. Well, yes but what I mean by “table wines” are wines that are produced without bubbles or fortified, in other words, “still” red or white wine.

The region of Bairrada has been traditionally known as a sparkling wine producing area but recently the growers there have ramped up still table wine production and we are seeing a lot more of it coming out of the region. Quinta do Encontro  is one of these wineries and they have a new winery set amongst the limestone and chalky fields. They are producing a delicious red wine which I got to sample the other night.

The Preto Branco 2010 is a red blend of the traditional Portuguese grape varieties, Baga (which is widely grown in the Bairrada region) Touriga Nacional, and a white grape to add a bit of balance, Bical.

The French in the Rhone Valley are known for adding a bit of Viognier to their Syrah to give it a floral note, and the Bical does much the same here. The wine had an enticing aroma of violets and black cherry which greeted my nose straight off the bat. A smooth and elegant wine, it slipped down a treat, rounded tannins  making this an enjoyable wine with dinner.

The Preto Branco is available in the UK from Clark Foyster.

     

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Meet the Author:
Denise Medrano
I'm an American ex-pat who is fascinated by wine. Previous to my arrival in London, I had done a sommelier course in Buenos Aires, Argentina so I knew I wanted to be in the wine trade but where to start? I started where so many people in the UK wine trade start, Oddbins. I was fortunate in that Oddbins back then had a great wine education partnership with the Wine and Spirit Educational Trust and I was able take the WSET courses. I currently have the WSET Advanced Certificate as well as holding a UK personal alcohol license. Another advantage to working at Oddbins was that I had access to all the wine trade shows. Imagine, being able to go and try as many wines as you could in one day! Whew! I have to admit, I didn't do much spitting back then and the next day, I was wishing I had at least taken better notes. I started looking around on the web for blogs that covered the London wine scene and found there were none. Well, none that appealed to me. None that were a mix of trade and consumer views and opinions. And none that really talked about what a great centre of wine this fabulous city of London is. So I rolled up my sleeves, bought a domain name and the rest, as they say, is The Winesleuth history. The Winesleuth Website - Follow The Winesleuth on Twitter