Red wines overall were characterized by jammy red fruit, moderate acidity and tannin, and a very smooth viscosity. Hans Kristian Jorgensen, Cotes de Cima 2004 ($43.25, Tri-Vin importers) was one of the more expensive reds in the tasting (most reds were under $20) - very thick and viscous, with notes of cherries, violets, and a smoky quality from nine months in French barrels, a good match for duck marinated in a fruit sauce.
A similar flavour profile can be found at a lower price with the Esporao Alicante Bouschet 2004 ($18.00, Aidil), a nicely structured wine with more candied cherries on the nose and palate.
Touriga Nacional is the national grape of Portugal, and a personal favorite varietal. I enjoyed the Quinta da Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional 2005 ($17.50, Tri-Vin), a very balanced wine with delicious aromas of plum, spice, and prune echoed on the palate, as well as the Casa de Santar Tourigal Nacional 2001 ($22.00, imported by Opici), a complex wine with raspberry and black fruit on the palate.
Felidia restaurant performed a fantastic job of pairing the Portuguese wines with food. Speaker Michael Weiss, author of the newly released book Wine Wise: Your Complete Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Enjoying Wine, offered some pairing suggestions, but journalists were free to choose their own wine to pair with a four course menu that began with shrimp with smoked beans.
This dish was excellent when paired with the oaked Arinto, the Compoloargo 2007 described above. I liked the Cotechino (fresh sausage) with spicy clams and tomato with both of my favorite Touriga Nacionals.
Wines from Portugal have much to offer - the crisp refreshing whites for summer and the warm, soul-satisfying reds for a chill winter evening. You can easily find these wines at your local wine store. To discover more about the varietals, ask the clerk if it is possible to arrange an in-store tasting of Portuguese wines, or bring a bottle of Portuguese wine to a friend’s house for dinner. You may well make an instant name for yourself as the go-to expert where wine is concerned.