One of my fondest memories of our trip to Portugal and Spain during June was sipping a glass of house red at a small bar along the riverside in Porto. Served in a large Burgundy-style glass, the wine tasted better with every sip. Noting my enjoyment, the waiter showed me the bottle: Grao Vasco Dao. "Good wine, low price," he said. And I agreed. We paid two Euros a glass for at least ten Euros worth of enjoyment. I also remembered some Grao Vasco wines I had enjoyed during the late 1970s and early 1980s--good wine, low price (less than $2 a bottle at that time!)
Since that time, I have been looking for Grao Vasco or any similar Portuguese red, and I think I have found it. This Portada is not from Dao, a mountainous area with a temperate climate in northeastern Portugal, but from, "the wine region of Lisboa...where the low rolling vineyards lie between the Tagus River and the Atlantic Ocean."
Deep, dark ruby. Similar to the Grao Vasco in its floral, red berry aromas. Cranberries, sour cherries, almost tart on the palate but fattening up with aeration. Gets better and better as fruit emerges. What I like most is the black pepper finish, warm and spicy. This doesn't come from alcohol; it's only 12.5%. Great balance of fruit, acid, alcohol.
The Wine Enthusiast liked this wine, giving it 90 points and ranking it #8 among the magazine's Top 100 Best Buys for 2014. I like it, too, and the price ($5.99 at Costco) makes it even more appealing.