It is often said to serve white wine with seafood and red wine with meat. That does not hold true, especially in Portuguese fare.  A lighter red wine such as Pinot Noir is perfectly fine to enjoy with fish.  Lower in tannins and more acidic, the lighter reds lend themselves well to seafood dishes and soups.  The heavier reds like cabernet are best served with meats.  Leave desserts to be complemented with a nice red, tawny, or white port wine.

The Portuguese green wines are made with grapes that are not yet fully ripened, which then has less sugar to provide fermentation for higher alcohol content. Relatively low in price, Vinho Verde served well chilled makes a great aperitif on a sultry summer day.  Low alcohol, ranging from 9 to 11 percent depending on how long the grapes are allowed to ripen, it pairs well with light starters and is especially nice with the Caldo Verde Soup (Green Broth Soup) recipe Portuguese Homestyle Cooking.  Vinho Verdes are under various labels from the older names like Casal Garcia (9%), Joao Pires (11%), and Alvarinho to newer ones, like Aveleda, Santola, and Olaria.  Some are more effervescent than others; a tasting will help you decide which you prefer.  Tip: Add a strawberry to a glass of Casal Garcia for a summer treat.

Portugal also has many full-bodied reds to choose from.

  • Cabeca de Burro Reserva , 2010 (14%)Douro, from Obidos (one of our favorites).
  • Quinta de S. Francisco, 2010, (13.5%), can be served with fish as well as meat, or even pasta dishes.
  • Lisbon’s Beato Nuno (13.5%) 2011 Reserva will not disappoint.
  • Dao-Casa de Santar, Reserva 2011, is a bit more pricey (around $24) but worth the extra dollars.
  • Not to be outdone the Alentejo’s Reserva Herdade de Sao Miguel 2007 Reserva (coming in around $39) is also full bodied and perfect for a special occasion.

There are many more to choose from and most likely great ones still to come. 
Alas, so little time,
so open one that you like
and enjoy it with family or friends over a worthy meal.

An anonymous Portuguese verse I came across some thirty years ago fits very well in today’s lifestyle when we or someone we know likes to party too hearty.

Bebe à vontade sem medo ….Drink as you like without fear

Se ficar de grão na asa………..If then you feel you have wings

A gente guardo segredo…We will guard your secret

E vamos levá-lo a casa…..And we will bring you home

Homemade wine is very common in Portugal and definitely worthwhile? Foot trod or crushed with a machine, you find both!