March 2024 Crianza Wine Club

Pegos Claros Palmela Castelao Claro

Regular Price: $19.99
Club Price: $16.99


It’s hard to imagine a country as small as Portugal being home to over 250 indigenous grape varietals (and that's not including all the clones for each one.) This may put Portugal in a prime position for tackling climate change due to their biodiversity. On the consumer front it means there are a lot of intriguing Portuguese wines. I love exploring esoteric grape varieties which is one reason I continue to learn and try new wines. (I am currently enrolled in an Italian Wine class – I’m not joking when I say there are over 2,000 native grape varieties in Italy. That's a lot of flash cards folks!) 

I tend to gravitate towards Portuguese red blends from Alentejo and the Douro, but sipping this 100% Castelão from Setúbal was a real treat. Castelão (aka Periquita “parakeet”, or ​João de Santarém.) thrives in the warm, loose, sandy soils in the subregion of Palmela, just south of Lisbon, opposite of the Tejo estuary. It’s actually one of Portugal 's most widely planted grape varieties because of its ability to adapt to almost any conditions, providing a high yield with little irrigation. Usually blended with Trincadeira, this single-varietal bottling lets us experience the intrinsic characteristics of the Castelão grape alone. Herdade Pegos Claros is one of the few producers to grow and export an unblended Castelão.

‘Claro’ is more structured and fruity than most Portuguese reds I’ve tasted. With notes of cherry, plum, and raspberry, plus hints of espresso and botanicals, this wine really caught my attention from the get-go. On the palate I found it to be full-bodied, with medium acidity and tannins, the flavors mirroring the nose. The finish was complex and long, leading me to the conclusion that I would actually enjoy this on its own as an aperitif.  Pagos Claros is a wonderful example of a signal varietal Castelão and might be the new trend to come. Saúde!  — AP


Broadbent 2020 Douro

Regular Price: $12.99
Club Price: $11.04

AH PORTUGAL! My home away from home. The place I feel most inspired by and always am trying to escape to. While living in SF I have found some similarities to Lisbon: hilly streets, cable cars, golden bridges, seafood, good local wines. But I can’t help but feel a bit of saudade. There is no direct translation to English, but saudade is essentially a sense of longing and feeling of nostalgia. If you know me you will know that I have a bit of an obsession with all things Portuguese. While my husband may be sick of eating tinned fish and listening to Fado, I find comfort in these moments. I long to be back there strolling the cobblestone streets, taking photos of all the beautiful azulejo tiles, sipping a glass of port. 

So I recreate the warm fuzzy feelings I had while in Portugal back here at home in SF. The solution almost always includes a bottle of Portuguese wine. After tasting the Broadbent Douro Red I was immediately transported back to Portugal. This is one of those reds that I’d bring to a dinner party because it’s super approachable and goes well with many cuisines.  

Made from a blend of the traditional red varieties of the Douro (Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca, and Touriga Nacional), I find this wine has notes of blackberry bramble, red plum, black pepper, dried cooking herbs and a hint of crushed stones. On the palate it’s balanced, with restrained alcohol levels (13% abv) and a pleasant finish. 

Life's complicated enough – your wine doesn’t need to be. So do as the Portuguese do and just chill. If I have learned anything from my travels to Portugal it’s to not sweat the small stuff and just be in the moment. You may experience feelings of saudade after tasting this one. My suggestion is to open another bottle of wine. Saúde!  — AP

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