Portugal offers amazing value, most famously in its easy-drinking and affordable white wines of Vinho Verde and Minho. While these whites are perfect for enjoying all summer, cooler months are on the horizon and many of us are starting to eye red wines. But Portugal need not be abandoned. The country offers plenty of affordable, quality reds.
In contrast to the bright and acidic white wines, Portugal’s red wines are often bold with firm structure and dark fruit flavor. They are made from both indigenous grapes like Touriga Nacional and international varieties like Merlot.
Manuel Carvalho Martins 2017 Golpe Reserva (Douro); $15, 92 points. Produced from vineyards at 1,500 feet, this wine is structured and rich. Its solid black fruits give the wine density as well as bringing out ripeness and tannins that are just beginning to soften. So this is a wine for further aging. Drink from 2022. Weygandt-Metzler. Best Buy. —Roger Voss
Global Wines 2016 Cabriz Reserva (Dão); $19, 91 points. Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Aragonez come together in this rich, spicy, juicy wine. Nine months in wood have smoothed out many of the tannins while bottle age has done the rest. The wine still has some potential but is ready to drink. Aidil Wines/Old World Import. —R.V.
Quinta da Lapa 2016 Reserva Merlot (Tejo); $18, 91 points. A full, rich wine with fine ripe blackberry flavors, this is ready to drink. Its dark fruits and soft tannins are just beginning to show signs of attractive maturity, meaning this full-bodied, dense wine is ready to drink. D’Ouro Vino Selections. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.
Seacampo 2014 Casa Américo Reserva (Dão); $16, 91 points. With 10 months in wood, this now mature wine is rich, packed with black fruits that are lifted by the spicy flavors from wood. Dusty tannins are integrated with the fruitiness and acidity. Balance is the thing here, giving a ripe wine that is ready to drink. Aidil Wines/Old World Import. —R.V.
Casa Santos Lima 2017 Confidencial Reserva (Lisboa); $15, 90 points. Boasting a balanced combination of oak and ripe fruit, this wine is rich and full of juicy spiced-fruit flavors. Flavors of black currant and a hint of toastiness are fully integrated into this ready-to-drink wine. Drink now. Tri-Vin Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
DFJ Vinhos 2018 DFJ Touriga Nacional-Touriga Franca (Lisboa); $13, 90 points. This rich, serious wine is full of black fruits. It has structure and spicy density, framed by firm tannins. LGL Imports LLC. Best Buy. —R.V.
Duorum 2018 S&R (Douro); $12, 90 points. The partnership between the Soares Franco and Portugal Ramos families has produced this friendly, open and ripe wine that celebrates the city of Porto and the Douro River. Black fruits, a smoky texture and warm tannins are attractively packaged in this ready-to-drink wine. Winebow. Best Buy. —R.V.
Herdade do Rocim 2019 Amphora (Alentejo); $16, 90 points. Aged in amphorae, the wine was made naturally with wild yeast. The result is a fine textured, fruity wine with a strongly juicy character as well as light tannins. The wine should be deliciously ready from 2021. Shiverick Imports. —R.V.
Quinta Vale d’Aldeia 2015 Reserva (Douro); $15, 90 points. Partially fermented in open stone lagars, the wine has a dense mix of black fruits, acidity and licorice flavors from the wood aging. Having melded well together, the wine is balanced with a line of acidity that allows for final, juicy freshness. Drink now. Leo’s Choice. Best Buy. —R.V.
Sogrape 2018 Silk & Spice (Portuguese Table Wine); $13, 90 points. This celebration of Portugal’s intrepid explorations in the Far East is a ripe, smooth, lightly toasty wine. Its texture is soft, open with black-currant fruits, spice and fine finishing acidity. Drink now. Evaton, Inc. Best Buy. —R.V.