Portugal is famous for its delicious fortified wines. I’ve said on numerous occasions that if I could only drink one beverage for the rest of my life, it would probably be tawny port. However, while still somewhat in the shadow of neighboring Spain in regard to red wine quality, wines from Portugal’s Douro Valley have been steadily improving over the course of the decade, and have arguably reached a new pinnacle with the 2007 and 2008 vintages. The best news is that most of these wines are still priced very competitively considering their depth and style. Douro Valley red wines are almost always blends made from grapes that are indigenous to the region, which gives them a unique terroir-driven character. While fruity, these wines are rarely over-ripe, and offer structure throughout that make them a nice match for a wide array of cuisine choices. One consistently strong producer is Sogrape, and I was fortunate enough to find their Douro Callabriga blend on sale at my local Binny’s Wine Store for about half its listed price. Needless to say, I’ve been drinking a lot of it, and have been quite impressed.

Sogrape Douro Callabriga  2008, 89 Points, $15, 4200 Cases Produced- Wild berry and wet stone mineral on the nose. Muscular in style, with intense wild raspberry and red plum notes laced with chalky mineral that evolves into cocoa powder and lavender spice notes through the long length. Finishes with a firm tannic grip. Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional.

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