Finisterra Red and White Wine from Portugal

portuguese wine  %tages Finisterra Red and White Wine from PortugalAs a guy who is into value wines, I’ve found that there are a few regions you can count on for consistent values.  Chile and Spain are two regions that are on that list, but one that I don’t see enough of is Portugal.  There are some incredible bargains to be found in Portuguese wines, but unfortunately I don’t find many of them on the shelves in my province.  Distribution seems to be spotty, unless you’re in New York City.
Given the fact that I don’t come across many Portuguese wines, I was glad for the opportunity to taste these.  I was glad, and also slightly challenged.  One of the things that makes these wines fascinating is that they are produced using grape varieties that are unique to Portugal.  But that also puts me in a position where I’m reviewing wines made with varieties I’m unfamiliar with.  An vital factor I kept in mind when evaluating these wines is that stylistically, these are “ancient world” wines, so I evaluated them as such. With all of that said, take my notes and scores on these with a grain of salt as I’m admittedly in new territory with these wines.
Both of these wines come from the Alentejo province of Portugal.  This is a province in the south of Portugal with a Mediterranean climate and over 22,000 hectares of vineyards.

Finisterra Vinho Branco
This is a colorless blend made with grapes I’ve never heard of, much less tasted.  These include Antão Vaz, Síria, Rabo de Ovelha and Perrum.  The wine is fermented in stainless steel vats and hasn’t seen any oak.
This wine has a pleasant nose, with aromas of honeydew melon, lime, mild stone fruits and a touch of mineral.  Based on the nose I thought this would be a pretty nice wine.  But it didn’t quite carry through on the palate.  It does have excellent flavors of melon, apple and citrus, but it’s a bit flabby.  That is to say it lacks acidity, building the palate a bit dull.  It’s not horribly flabby, but that’s where it gets dinged a bit.  But, let’s keep things in perspective, this is only a $7.00 bottle of wine and that’s “suggested” retail, so you’ll probably find it for less.  It also has some varieties you’ve probably never tasted previous to.  Even though it may not “blow you away” it’s worth checking out for the adventure, if nothing else.
Wine: Finisterra Vinho Branco
Variety: Colorless Blend
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 13%
Rating:  81
Fee: $6.99

Finisterra Vinho Tinto
This one is a red blend, and again has some grape varieties that may be new to you, including Aragonez, Castelão and Trincadeira.  Like the colorless blend, this was fermented in stainless steel.
This wine is an ancient world style wine, and as such isn’t necessarily a wine for everyone.  It’s very different from the inexpensive, fruit-forward wines many people drink.  The nose doesn’t have much intensity and is rather earthy, with aromas of chocolate, sage, tree bark and a very soft blackberry.  The palate is also honestly earthy, with a slight bitterness.  There is some fruit on the palate, which I would describe as plum and wild cherry (differentiated from non-wild by a touch of bitter and sour).  It’s honestly tannic on the palate and into the end, which has a tea tannin quallity to it.  This is more of a food wine than a sipping wine.
Again, similar to the colorless wine I reckon this one is worth checking out for the adventure.  But be prepared for something different from your predictable cheap juice.  Keep an open mind and you may find that you like it.
Wine: Finisterra Vinho Tinto
Variety: Red Blend
Vintage: 2009
Alcohol: 14%
Rating:  80
Fee: $6.99
Disclosure: These wines were received as a sample.

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