Portuguese table wines are not nearly as well-known as their fortified counterparts, but they offer great value and exceptional quality for those who seek them out.
Dow’s Vale do Bomfim (2008) comes from the Douro D.O.C. (Denominação de Origem Controlada, a region used in a system of protected designation of origin for wines) in the northern portion of mainland Portugal. It’s made in the same area as the famous port wines of Portugal, and it comes to us from Dow’s, a famous and historic name in port winemaking. One could unfortunately mistake Vale do Bomfim as a second-class wine created simply to use up extra wine from the port harvest. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Vale do Bomfim is a big, well-structured, and complex wine that retails for a very reasonable price around $12.00.
Vale do Bomfim is comprised of a field blend of Portuguese grapes, many of which are also used in port wines: 55% Tinta Barroca, 22% Tinta Roriz (known as Tempranillo in Spain), 17% old mixed vines (literally, a vineyard with mixed vines that were all harvested together), 3% Touriga Nacional, and 3% Touriga Franca. The resulting wine has a solid backbone of acidity that plays against solid wood tones. On the nose, the bouquet reveals wild berries, including red raspberry, cherry, and plum, along with notes of cinnamon, wet soil, and dark chocolate.
Rich and notably tannic Vale do Bomfim is a deep red-colored wine with a bright cherry-like. This is a wine that is showing well now, although another year or two of age may reduce the tannins somewhat. As it is, Vale do Bomfim is enjoyable for drinking right away, and it is versatile and food-friendly. Try it with dry cheeses, grilled sausages, pork dishes, or even dark chocolates for complementary pairings.
With wines like Dow’s Vale do Bomfim in the U.S. market, it shouldn’t be long before Portuguese wines get recognized for the quality and affordability that they offer to consumers. Pick up a bottle of Dow’s Vale do Bomfim (2008) now, and you’ll see just how high-quality Portuguese table wines can be.