Tasting notes: Portuguese wines

BRATTLEBORO — For palates accustomed to traditional grape varietals, opening Portuguese bottles can bring a welcome frisson of adventure. The red wines described here - most of which are easy to find locally - represent a range of flavors, grapes, and styles.

Confidencial Tinto Reserva 2014 ($8): True to its name, the blend is proprietary, but it contains the juice of at least 10 different grapes, including the heavy-hitting cabernet sauvignon and syrah. A warm, brambly wine with more fruit than structure, the Confidencial is an easy-going entrée to the world of Portuguese winemaking.

Paxis Red Blend 2013 ($8): Another friendly sipper, the Paxis is sweeter than the Confidencial, stepping right out to the edge of cloying without slipping over the line. This blend of grapes native to Portugal - touriga nacional, touriga franca, and tinta roriz - is rich in dark-berry fruit, with firm tannins to provide structure.

Reserva do Monte Tinto 2015 ($9): A notch up in quality, but not in cost. A deep nose of plums, spice, and leather introduces a lovely, full-bodied wine. There is some sweetness here as well, but a livelier acid infuses the palate with more freshness. Supple and delicious, this is an outstanding value.

Quinta da Levandeira do Roncão Reserva 2012 ($15): Touriga nacional and touriga franca blend beautifully here, generating a fascinating red-fruit nose with hints of leather, mint, and fresh raspberries. The palate is restrained, with a solid backbone of acid and tannin that leans toward structure rather than fruit presence. This is a wine that emerges most expressively when paired with tangy cheeses and savory meats. Salt cod would do in a pinch.

Filipa Pato Tinto 2016 ($15): Filipa Pato and her husband, William Wouters, have created a vibrant, lip-smacking wine complete with a whiff of romance. Their biodynamic approach, with its minimal interventions, has yielded a style they call “authentic wine without makeup.” Simple, lively, delicious.

Caves São João Baga Touriga Nacional 2014 ($20): Lovely and complex, with a lingering finish, combining baga and touriga nacional grapes to beautiful effect. A dark, ruminative wine. Perfect for winter evenings.

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