A Portuguese Red

Papa Figos, Vihno Tinto 2015, Casa Ferreirinha, D.O. Douro

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Papa Figos D.O. Duoro

In early January I spent a fabulous weekend in Lisbon, Portugal, with plenty to write home about!  The people in Lisbon are authentic and genuinely friendly.  It’s always exciting to bring home a bottle or two of wine to share with friends, and this Papa Figos was exceptional. Portuguese wine is a bit hard to find. What I’ve heard through the proverbial grapevine (pun intended) is that, generally, Portuguese wine is not amply exported; although, that is beginning to change as of late.

I live in neighboring Spain, and I have never seen Portuguese wine apart from the sweet, sparkling vinho verde which I find, well, disagreeable.

One weekend in Lisbon is not nearly enough time to become familiar with the country’s wine regions and vine culture (not to say I didn’t try!). Consequently this was a problem when I got to the airport- I had no clue which wine to get!   Luckily, while I was scouring my choices and wondering what to buy, I noticed a young, handsome Portuguese gent confidently nabbing up two bottle of Papa Figos.  I casually followed suit and decided to let him know I was copying him.  I asked him for any other recommendations, and like every other Portuguese person I met, he was terrifically simpatico and seemed very happy to spend a moment talking about Portuguese wines.  He pointed out a few worthy bottles and left it up to me. “But when you are from here, it depends on what area you are from” he said. “If you are from the north, like me, you will probably prefer wine from Duoro or Dão, but If you are from the south, usually they prefer wine from Tejo.”  He smiled and shrugged, and I thanked him again. He assured me the Papa Figos is always a good value.  I opened and enjoyed it a few days ago, and I absolutely agree with him on that.  It’s made from a  blend of grapes called Touriga Nacional.  Here is my review:

A great value for a well rounded, balanced Portuguese red.  Rich magenta color and a velvety texture that I don’t find in Spanish reds.  Pomegranate and plum throughout the pallet, and also fig as promised by the label. Cool sea minerals and a floral note–violets or perhaps lavender.  

An ideal meal pairing:  A tender braised lamb dish with roasted artichokes and a fresh, herbaceous salad with fruity balsamic dressing with Parmesan shavings.

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