Wines for Spring!

Mona Anastas_Daily Art_021718_Sun

The sun is out. The evenings are warm. The gardens around Seattle are at their height of bloom and beauty. If you aren’t sitting in some fresh air enjoying a glass of wine, you should be! Need some suggestions? Here’s a great spring varietal list from Wine Folly> for under $20 a bottle. Or stop by, and we’ll hook you up — Grüner Veltliner, Malbec, Soave, Gamay, unoaked Chardonnay, Zweigelt, rosé… the list goes on!

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First & foremost… ROSÉ:
We have quite a list in stock ranging from local producers to high-end Bandol rosé from Provence. Here are our new arrivals:

Chateau Rivière Minervois Rosé 2017 // Languedoc
Domaine de Frégate Bandol Rosé 2017 // Provence
Domaine du Petit Romain Vieilles Vignes Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône
La Malière Rosé Côtes de Provence 2017 // Provence
Ozilhan Réserve Côtes du Rhône Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône
Paul Blisson Costières de Nîmes Rosé 2017 // Southern Rhône

In addition, here are some great spring white varietals with our specific recommendations:
Grüner Veltliner – Aromatic white flowers. White peach, poached pear, lime blossoms, with a nice white pepper finish. Try: Weingut Prechtl 2016 Alte Reben aus Löss Grüner Veltliner // Austria (vineyards pictured)
Prié Blanc – From the highest vineyard site in the world (a few minutes from Mont Blanc), this indigenous grape is full of minerality & delight: Pavese Ermes 2016 Blanc De Morgex et de La Salle // Valle d’Aoste, Italy
Vinho Verde – light, fruity with a slight effervescence and low alcohol! Try: Vinha das Margaridas 2016 Vinho Verde // Portugal
Garganega – This white is better known as Soave, but that’s the DOC (region), not the grape… which is full of citrus blossoms, warm apples & apricots held together by refreshing acidity! Try award-winning: Franchetto 2015 Soave “La Capelina” // Veneto, Italy

And spring reds varietals:
Bonarda lightens up the Malbec in this terrific, organic blend: La Puerta 2016 Alta Malbec/Bonarda // Argentina
Zinfandel – Its trademark velvety fruit makes this varietal a wonderful accompaniment to BBQ and other grilled summer fare. Try: Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel // North Coast, California (vineyards pictured)
Zweigelt – Lighter in body, but full of flavor: blackberries, tart dark cherries & spices! Try: Weingut Prechtl 2015 Satzen Zweigelt // Austria

La Farra_countryside with vineyards_2_20%
AND… don’t forget the bubbles! Go light & freshing with La Farra Prosecco — Brut, Extra Dry, Rosé & their Prosecco Superiore DOCG Valdobbiadene. Tree fruits & citrus with lively gentle bubbles! (vineyards pictured)

We’d be delighted to help you with any of your spring wine needs! Just stop in…

Julie & Jens, Owners
Portalis Wines

Art credit: Mona Anastas, owner of Two Owls in Madrona


New Tasting Series: Grape Varietals A-Z

A-Z_logo_Jan 2014
Kicking off a new year, we thought it would be fun to do a comprehensive tasting series featuring as many single grape varietals as we carry in the shop. We counted them up. (There are 60+!) We put them in alphabetical order. And we’re ready to go! Here’s the schedule.  If you make a good chunk of these tastings, you will have tasted the vast majority of single grape varietals grown around the world today. We’ll offer a little educational overview on each grape including tasting notes & where it’s grown. The rest is up to you. Ready, set, go:

Tastings run every Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from bar open (4pm) to 8pm:
Tue, 14-Jan – Albariño ~ pictured above in the Outon vineyards in Rias Baixas, Spain
Wed, 15-Jan – Aligoté
Thu, 16-Jan – Arneis
Tue, 21-Jan – Barbera
Wed, 22-Jan – Blaufraenkisch
Thu, 23-Jan – Brachetto
Tue, 28-Jan – Cabernet Franc
Wed, 29-Jan – Cabernet Sauvignon
Thu, 30-Jan – Cannonau
Claude Nouveau_grapes_chardonnay_banner
Tue, 4-Feb – Carmenère
Wed, 5-Feb – Chardonnay (France) ~ pictured above in Claude Nouveau’s vineyards
Thu, 6-Feb – Chardonnay (California)
Tue, 11-Feb – Chenin Blanc
Wed, 12-Feb – Cortese
Thu, 13-Feb – Dolcetto
Tue, 18-Feb – Garganega
Wed, 19-Feb – Garnacha Grenache
Thu, 20-Feb – Grauvernatsch (Schiava Grigio)
Tue, 25-Feb – Grüner Veltliner
Wed, 26-Feb – Inzolia
Thu, 27-Feb – Kerner
Tue, 4-Mar – Lagrein
Wed, 5-Mar – Malbec
Thu, 6-Mar – Melon de Bourgogne
Tue, 11-Mar – Merlot
Wed, 12-Mar – Montepulciano
Thu, 13-Mar – Moscato
Tue, 18-Mar – Muscat
Wed, 19-Mar – Nebbiolo ~ pictured above in the Pelassa vineyards of Piedmont, Italy
Thu, 20-Mar – Nerelo Mascalese
Tue, 25-Mar – Nero d’Avola
Wed, 26-Mar – Pedro Ximenez
Thu, 27-Mar – Petit Verdot
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Tue, 1-Apr – Petite Syrah
Wed, 2-Apr – Pineau d’Aunis
Thu, 3-Apr – Pinot Bianco
Tue, 8-Apr – Pinot Blanc
Wed, 9-Apr – Pinot Grigio
Thu, 10-Apr – Pinot Grigio
Tue, 15-Apr – Pinot Noir (France)
Wed, 16-Apr – Pinot Noir (Oregon)
Thu, 17-Apr – Pinotage
Tue, 22-Apr – Primitivo
Wed, 23-Apr – Prosecco
Thu, 24-Apr – Riesling
Tue, 29-Apr – Sangiovese
Wed, 30-Apr – Sauvignon Blanc (France)
BLOG_Jens in Australia_Shiraz grapes from Beachworth_Victoria_v4
Thu, 1-May – Sauvignon Blanc (New Zealand)
Tue, 6-May – Semillon
Wed, 7-May – Shiraz ~ pictured above from Jens’ trip to Victoria, Australia
Thu, 8-May – Syrah (Old World)
Tue, 13-May – Syrah (New World)
Wed, 14-May – Tempranillo
Thu, 15-May – Torrontes
Tue, 20-May – Verdejo
Wed, 21-May – Vernaccia
Thu, 22-May – Viognier
Tue, 27-May – Welschriesling
Wed, 28-May – Zinfandel
Thu, 29-May – Zweigelt

This should be a lot of fun! Look forward to seeing you there!
Julie, Jens & the Portalis team

An Interview with Pedro Lopes Vieira of Esporão

A few weeks ago we had special guest, Pedro Lopes Vieira, sales manager of Esporão North America at our Sunday tasting.

Esporão is one our favorite Portuguese producers here at Portalis. The estate is located in Portugal’s remote Alentejo region, located 112 miles southeast of Lisbon. Due to their hot climate, their style of wines are ripe, spicy & very easy drinking. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Pedro for a few minutes as he told me a little bit about himself & his interesting wine journey.

Born & raised in Lisbon, Pedro has always been around wine. His family has operated a small biodynamic winery just for the locals (and themselves) for several decades. As a young boy he played a lot of soccer & always dreamt of playing professionally, despite his father wanting a more collegiate path for him. He accomplished his dream when he was picked up by a professional team from the Lisbon area. Though he enjoyed playing soccer & felt a sense of accomplishment (he played professionally for 5 years) in Pedro’s own words, “I realized I wasn’t a great player”. So Pedro, having been around wine his entire life, decided to give it a chance. Instead of working at the family winery though, he chose another route & landed a job in sales for a local distributor called Food & Wine of Portugal. After several successful years with FWP, they offered him an amazing project he couldn’t refuse, to help open a Portuguese wine market in Canada. So he relocated to Toronto, with his girlfriend (now wife), to help bring Portuguese wines into a new market. “Things were very slow at first,” he said, “so the first two years I also worked in restaurants waiting tables while the new branch of FWP was getting started.”  I asked him how his relationship with Esporão began. He said from the beginning with FWP, Esporão was one of the producers in their portfolio, so he was very familiar with the family-owned brand. After 7 yrs in Toronto with FWP, Esporão hired Pedro to represent their brand exclusively. With his new role with Esporão he moved back to Lisbon in 2007 to work more closely with them. Currently Pedro lives in NYC where he has just recently located to help expand Esporão in the US market.

One last questioned for Pedro –
What makes Esporão wines so special? His reply was, “I feel their wines are about tradition & consistency. It’s a huge company producing 14 million bottles a year, yet they are still family-owned since it was purchased in 1973. Their youngest son is now CEO; they’ve kept it in the family, that says a lot about them.” Esporão produces 28 different products including olive oil & has 660 hectares dedicated to vineyards.

We currently we offer the following wines at Portalis:

Esporão 2009 Reserve Branco
  Reg $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59
Esporão 2004 Syrah  Reg $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59
Esporão 2004 Quatro Casto  Reg $22.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Selection Extra Virgin Olive Oil  $19.99


A memorable evening with Sophia Bergqvist, co-owner of Quinta De La Rosa

Tuesday, January 26th we had the honor of hosting Sophia Bergqvist, co-owner of the Quinta De La Rosa Estate in the Douro Valley and a delightful and dynamic guest for our customers to get acquainted with.

Her story is a fascinating one: The Bergqvist family has been making port since 1815 and Quinta De La Rosa was bought as a christening present for Claire Feuerheerd, Sophia Bergqvist’s grandmother. Sophia’s great-grandfather Albert Feuerheerd once owned one of Porto’s biggest shipping companies but due to the economic downturn in early 1930s, he was forced to sell his company to Barros. The La Rosa estate was kept and run by Claire and her husband Eric Bergqvist, during which time (1933 to 1987) the grapes of the La Rosa estate were sold to the well-known port manufacturers Croft and Sandeman.

In 1988 Sophia and her father, Tim Bergqvist decided to restart the family business and launched Quinta De La Rosa as a top quality port producer. In the early 1990s the Bergqvist family started making Douro red wines, which got a big boost in 2002 when Jorge Moreira became their leading winemaker. From then on Quinta De La Rosa has been producing outstanding ports and Douro Tintos, both of which we had the pleasure of tasting:

Quinta De La Rosa 2007 Vale Da Clara Red Wine
Reg $13.99 | Case $11.19
This table red is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz from nearby vineyards with a higher altitude, above the Douro Valley, than Quinta De La Rosa. The wine is medium-bodied with good structure, acidity, and an attractive freshness. Mainly aromas and flavors of blackberries and blackcurrants with some earthy tones.

Quinta De La Rosa 2006 Douro Tinto
Reg $22.99 | Case $18.39
Same blend than above but the grapes come mainly from the Lamelas Vineyard at La Rosa which was planted by Tim Bergqvist over 20 years ago. This red is medium-bodied, very elegant with a round, balanced structure. Very aromatic with lovely red fruit flavors, especially strawberries, raspberries and white cherries, with a touch of lime. This wine is lighter and fresher in style.

Quinta De La Rosa 2005 Tinto Douro Reserve
$44.99 | Case $35.99
A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Cão, Touriga Franca and many others. The grapes are coming from Sophia Bergqvist’s finest vineyards. Big, full-bodied, with expressive fruit, like blackberries, blueberries, blackcurrants, with herbal and earthy notes. Beautiful structure, complexity, elegance and acidity. Fine tannins on the finish. Up to 5 years.

Quinta De La Rosa NV Tawny Port
Reg $15.99 | Case $12.79
This tawny is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesca, Tinta Barroca, and Tinta Roriz. The vines are all estate grown and the wine is aged in old oak 550 liter barrels. A fantastic Tawny for the money. Toffee, caramel and nutty flavors with great acidity. Beautiful, long finish.

Quinta De La Rosa 2003 Late Bottle Vintage Port
Reg $31.99 | Case $25.59
Same blend as above. This Port comes from an excellent, generally declared vintage year which was perfect for LBVs as well. It is an enormous, but elegant LBV with aromas and flavors of cocoa, chocolate as well as cherry, raspberry and other berry fruit, and soft tannins on a long finish. This LBV were matured in large wooden casks (also called “tunnels”) for 4 to 6 years and bottled in 2007.

Quinta De La Rosa 2004 Vintage Port ~ WE93/Top 100 Cellar Selections
Reg $69.99 | Case $55.99
Same grapes as above. This Vintage Port was definitely the star of the tasting (and sales). A Port of highest quality, wonderful length and impressive depth. Full-bodied, with great concentration and excellent texture.  Beautiful aromas and flavors of dark chocolate, cocoa, dark berries, raspberries, and black cherries. We will taste that again in 30 years.

It was a great tasting and a pleasure to have Sophia with us.   Enjoy these wines!

Jens Strecker
Owner, Portalis Wines

ALVES DE SOUSA (Douro, Portugal)


Portugal is an area of the world making outstanding wine, both excellent table wines as well as high-end world reds, and Alves de Sousa (Domingos and his son, Tiago, pictured above) produces some of the most exciting wines coming from the Douro, with Robert Parker commenting that “their lineup included some of the most enjoyable wines I reviewed.”  We are now offering an expended Alves de Sousa line via Portalis Online Store.  These wines are not readily available in the US and would make very special wine gifts for people interested in exploring the world of wine:     

ALVES DE SOUSA 2002 RESERVA PESSOAL BRANCO $46 – Golden color given by the long oak aging. Flavors of flowers, orange peel, cinnamon and other spices. You could almost expect some sweetness after that, but on the palate it’s surprisingly dry, smooth and with a great structure. Very long finish.

ALVES DE SOUSA 2003 RESERVA PESSOAL $63 (Parker 90pts) – “…softer and more sensual, although tannins pop up on the finish, and become stronger with air. The fruit is juicy, nuanced by plums and blackberries, and extremely tasty. …In addition to its pure charm, it has enough of everything to show better for a while on Day #2.” –Parker

ALVES DE SOUSA 2004 ABANDONADO $81 (Parker 95pts) – “The 2004 “Abandonado” is a limited production new bottling that comes from a single vineyard, 80 years old, that was almost abandoned, hence the name. …It is powerfully constructed, with drying tannins on the finish, but this structure is balanced by ripe, succulent fruit that is utterly delicious…. Although closed and a bit hard to read at the moment, I think it potentially is a significant winner.” –Parker. 275 cases total production. Drink 2010-2020.      

ALVES DE SOUSA 2003 QUINTA DA GAIVOSA VINTAGE PORT $53.50 – Dark, dense with extraordinary balance. Great structure; well-integrated tannins with intense chocolate notes. Spicy, with an intense and very long finish. It’s a port with a long and auspicious life in front.  Interesting note:  Alves de Sousa is the #1 grape supplier to Taylor’s.