Obrigado: Impressive New Releases from Portugal

Over the past two decades, Portugal has made dramatic progress in producing world class red and white table wines.  Today, in the Douro, the Dão,  Alentejo and other regions many  talented winemakers are  crafting exciting wines from an amazing myriad of indigenous grapes grown throughout the country.  Until recently, many of these wines were only available in Portugal.  However, thanks to enterprising importers like OBRIGADO-Vinhos Portugal (Obrigado) we can now enjoy the rich variety of finely crafted  Portuguese artisanal wines in the US.

Obrigado  is a New York-based importer 100% focused on Portuguese wines.  Founded in 2010, the company represents many Portuguese wine families identified over the years by founder Rui Abecasis.  Obrigado is today in partnership with Patrick Mata and Roberto Orte of Ole Imports.

Obrigado’s portfolio is noteworthy for its artisanal wines of originality, quality and value.  They are also wonderful food wines.  Many reviewed here  are blends  of  exotic grapes like Arinto, Gouveio, and Vital unknown to  most American wine enthusiasts.  The wines are also crafted by winemakers who have a big following in Portugal  but are only now becoming world renown for their wines.  They include  Antonio Macanita  of Fitapreta  Serodio Borges of Malitrova, Alvaro Castro of Quinta de Pellada and Quinta de Saez and Luis Seabra of Xisto  and the lesser known  Caves de Joao’s Poco do Lobo.

The IWR has followed Portugal’s progress closely in two comprehensive reports prepared with the support of Vini Portugal. For in-depth background information on Portugal and its wines, readers are encouraged to consults our reports which are available on  on www.i-winereview.com 

Wine Reviews and Ratings

A Touriga Vai Nua 2016 Unoaked Alentejo ($22) 89  Crafted by winemaker Antonio Macanita, this 100% Touriga Nacional is  fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks and offers fruity aromas of huckleberry and plum with a tar note. Lush on the palate and somewhat rustic in character, it has dark red berry flavors and a medium-length finish. A new expression for Touriga Nacional.

Asnella 2015 Vinho Verde Superior  88+  This Vinho Verde, a blend of 60% Arinto and 40% Loureiro, displays aromas and flavors of green apple and fennel with hints of minerals and white pepper. Flinty in character with crisp acidity, it is pleasant drinking with good intensity of flavor and is a perfect accompaniment to shrimps, clams and other seafood.

Aplanta 2016 Red Wine Blend Alentejo ($12) 89+  The Aplanta Red Wine Blend consists of 70% Aragonés and 30% Alicante Bouschet. It is a flavorful wine with red cherries and black berries and spice on the nose. It is nicely balanced with firm round tannins, good acidity and a long finish. Good value.

Casal Figueira 2016 Antonio Lisboa ($30) 91 This is a unique wine sourced from the autochthonous Portuguese grape Vital. It is hand-harvested in small quantities from  remote mountain vineyard sites on Portugal’s coast. When the original owner and winemaker Antonio Carvahlo tragically passed away in 2009, his widow Marta continued the project and named this wine Antonio, in honor of her husband. The wine offers fresh minerality and crispness on the palate with hints flowers, herbs, and orchard fruit.  It has good acidity and flavor intensity and a lingering finish.

Fitapreta 2016 Branco Alentejo ($20)89  The Fitapreta Branco crafted by Antonio Macanita offers floral and fruity aromas of 40% Antao Vaz, 40% Roupiero, and 20% Arinto. It is soft on the attack but reveals good acidity and honeyed fullness in the mouth with excellent acidity and balance and a long finish.   Fitapreta 2015 Branco de Talha Alentejo ($28) 90  The Branco de Talha is an attractive blend of 70% Roupeiro and 30% Antao Vaz. Yellow straw in color, it displays a savory and densely flavored palate of dried herbs and earth.  After spending 6 months in stainless steel tanks, it is racked to clay amphorae for 28 days followed by 6 months more in stainless steel. An original wine.  Fitapreta 2015 Tinto Alentajo ($25) 90 A blend of 40% Aragonés, 30% Alicante and 30%  Trincadira, the Tinto offers aromas of fresh red berries with hints of toast and oriental spices.  It is lush and ripe on the palate with good density of flavor and persistence on the finish.

Luis Seabra Vinhos 2016 Xisto Ilimitado Branco Douro ($22) 90+ Crafted by the talented winemaker, Luis Seabra, this wine is a  blend of 60% Rabigato, 15% Gouveia, 15% Codega, and 10% Viosinho. The Xisto Ilimitado Branco offers aromas of apple and pear on the nose. On the palate it shows good extract and intensity of orchard fruit flavor, excellent acidity and a persistent finish.  Luis Seabra Vinhos 2015 Xisto Ilimitado Douro ($22) 91  This is a unique field blend of six Portuguese varieties: Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Rufete, Malvasia Preta and Donzelinho Tinto. The grapes are sourced from different subzones in the Douro. Dark ruby in color, the wine is richly flavored with blackberries and sour cherries. It is medium-weight and soft and round on the palate with ripe tannins, good acidity and a long finish. Luis Seabra Vinhos 2014 Xisto Cru Douro ($60) 93 The Xisto Cru is a complex blend of 70% Rabigato and 30% of a field blend of other indigenous grapes. Floral in character it displays scents of orchard fruit with a hint of Riesling-like petrol.  It is ripe and full in the mouth with good intensity of flavor and a long finish.

Maritavora 2013 Reserva Branco Douro ($30) 91  Light gold in color, the Reserva Branco is a field blend of Codega do Larinho, 30% Rabigato. 30% Viosinho and 10% Gouveio offering  light lemon-like aromas and fresh fruit on the palate with hints of vanilla.  Fermented in oak for 7 months with battonage, it reveals a full ripe mouth feel and overall richness.  Maritavora 2012 Reserva No 4 Douro ($30) 93  The Maritavora No 4 is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz and 10% other varieties. Inky dark red in color, it offers a rich bouquet of red and black fruit. On the palate, it is dense and chewy, rich and concentrated with firm round tannins, excellent balance and a persistent finish. Fermented in cement lagares and aged 18 months in new French oak. A beautiful wine.  Maritavora 2014 Tinto No 6 Douro ($18) 91  The Maritavora Tinto No 6 is a tasty blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional. It displays an interesting, multi-faceted nose with hints of cassis, licorice, and dark earth. It has a firm backbone, fine black fruit flavor, firm tannins and a rich finish.

Noble and Muret 2015 Cask Sample Douro 90 This is a lovely, rich wine reminiscent of a ruby Port. It displays a lovely red color and offers aromas and flavors of fresh cherry with hints of smoke and earth. Fruit forward in character, it is a pleasant dessert wine which should be served chilled. The Noble and Muret brand disappeared from 1831 to 2015 and was re-established with this wine.

Poco do Lobo Branco 1995 Arinto Beiras ($35) 92   This is a delightful 100% Arinto, one of Portugal’s autochthonous white grapes. Open top fermented with extended skin contact and 24 months of aging in cement tanks, it displays rich and complex honeyed and herbal flavors with hints of brown figs. It is soft and round on the palate with a rich full mouth feel and a long finish.  Poco do Lobo Branco 1991 Arinto Beiras ($40) 91  This 1991 Arinto offers a dark golden amber color with a touch of caramel, herbs and other secondary aromas and flavors. Fermented in open top fermenters and aged 24 months in cement, it reveals excellent acidity and remarkable freshness for a wine of this age. A very special wine.

Quinta da Pellada 2014 Quinta de Saes  Tinto  Dão ($18) 91  This is a lovely blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Jaen crafted by the talented winemaker Alvaro Castro from his family’s property. His wine is a reflection of the terroir of the Dão revealing fresh red berry fruit, excellent acidity and a touch of toast and earth, The medium weight and balance of the wine and the long finish make it an outstanding food wine. Great value. Quinta da Pellada 2013 Quinta de Saes Reserva Estagio Prolongado Dão ($26) 92   This bottling is beautifully balanced with good acidity and overall freshness, and is tightly structured. Opening with an attack of red and black fruit flavors with spice notes,  the wine is perfectly delineated and elegant on the palate and the finish.


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