The red wines of Portugal reflect their surroundings. The Atlantic Ocean moderates the climate of the Setúbal Peninsula, Lisboa and Minho, creating red wines with red fruit aromas and soft tannins. Further inland, the Douro, Dão and Tejo regions experience greater temperatures extremes and often lower precipitation than their coastal counterparts. Reds from these areas can be dense in tannin and perfumed with black fruit.
Get to know this expansive category of wines by checking out some of our favorite budget-friendly bottles below.
Magnum Carlos Lucas Vinhos 2019 Pinha Ribeiro Santo (Dão); $13, 93 points. Named after the pine trees that surround the vines, the wine is rich while keeping poise and freshness. Spice, black fruits and dry tannins are all getting to know each other. The wine should be ready from 2024. Iberian Wine Importers. Best Buy. —Roger Voss
Lavradores de Feitoria 2017 8 Bagos (Douro); $13, 91 points. In a master class of the Portuguese art of blending, this wine brings together eight grapes. Rich, finely perfumed and with delicious spicy black fruits, it is almost mature—a rich wine that is also balanced and juicy. Drink this attractive wine now. Polaner Selections. Best Buy. —R.V.
Adega Cooperativa do Cartaxo 2016 Bridão Colheita Seleccionada Alicante Bouschet (Tejo); $12, 90 points. The richness and dark color of the Alicante Bouschet is readily apparent in this wine. It has the right power and density and black plum fruit flavors. After four years, the wine has smoothed out to give a solid wine, ready to drink. Watch the alcohol. Wine Enterprises. Best Buy. —R.V.
Casa Ermelina Freitas 2019 Vinha da Valentina Premium (Península de Setúbal); $13, 90 points. This young wine is dense with tannins, spice and rich wood-aging flavors. Combined with the black fruits, it shows fine potential, with richness and a streak of minerality. Drink from late 2021. MS Walker. Best Buy. —R.V.
Casa Santos Lima 2019 Stones & Bones (Lisboa); $13, 88 points. A comfortable blend of four grapes, the wine has soft tannins and a light spiciness from wood aging. The wine’s red berry fruits give a warm feel to this just lightly textured wine. Drink now. Lionstone International. Best Buy. —R.V.
DFJ Vinhos 2019 Paxis (Lisboa); $10, 88 points. Three Douro varieties, grown in the Lisboa region, go into this wine. That gives it some structure, although not too much to mask the blackberry fruits. So the wine is a little young, but will certainly be ready from late 2021. Tri-Vin Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
Duorum 2018 Tons de Duorum (Douro); $10, 88 points. This young, bright and fruity wine is packed with blackberry flavors. Tannins and a mineral texture are reminders that this comes from the Douro’s schist soils. That makes for a ripe wine that has structure. Drink from 2021. Winebow. Best Buy. —R.V.
Global Wines 2018 Casa de Santar (Dão); $12, 87 points. From the aristocratic estate managed by this producer, this is a generous, warm and wood-aged wine. Its tannins are well integrated into the elegant black fruits and juicy acidity. It will benefit from some more aging, so drink from late 2021. Tri-Vin Imports. Best Buy. —R.V.
José Maria da Fonseca 2019 Periquita Tinto (Península de Setúbal); $10, 87 points. This brand, produced since 1850, is a consistent name in Portugal. This latest release is fruity, touched lightly with wood and tannins. Fresh red fruits and fine acidity come together in an immediately drinkable wine. Palm Bay International. Best Buy. —R.V.