Planet of the [Portuguese] grapes

"-"Jason Wilson, The Smart Set

I eagerly await the meteoric rise of Portugal’s great-value reds, either from a famed region like the Douro Valley or from lesser-known regions such as the Alentejo or Dão or Setúbal. My wait has been very much in the vein of Waiting for Godot, and it has been going on two decades now. I remain patiently optimistic.

I’m always speaking with people who are fixated on a quixotic quest to find that “great bottle under $10.” I often get frustrated with this mythical idea of the under-$10 bottle, because it’s actually so rare to find one that offers quality and drinkability, let alone complexity. I’m almost always advocating that people bump up at least a few bucks into the $12 to $15 range. A $9.99 wine can just as easily offer bad value as a $29.99 wine can.

Portugal, however, is one big exception, one country that actually produces wines under $10 that offer honest-to-goodness value. Which is why their lack of presence in the U.S. and elsewhere continues to surprise me.

In a 2013 poll conducted by the consumer research firm Wine Opinions, a quarter of “high-end, high-frequency” wine buyers said they “seldom” see Portuguese wines on their local store shelves, putting them on the same level of invisibility as Austrian and South African wines.

Why don’t more consumers seek out Portuguese wines? Read Jason Wilson’s rationale at The Smart Set …