What we Torontonians see on the shelves of our provincial liquor monopoly from Portugal in terms of red wine is the Douro region leading the pack but the Alentejo and Lisbon are catching up but the poor Dão lags way back in the pack. As quality goes there is not much rhyme and reason for this as all three of the laggards produce excellent red wines. If there is any “fault” here it would be a conscious decision of wholesale buyers to favour the Douro based on safety and profitability. We see the same situation here domestically with the wines ex-Niagara virtually ignored by our liquor monopoly. So few wines from British Columbia and even less from Quebec and Nova Scotia. Big Brother knows best it seems.
Lisbon reds are not afraid to blend non-indigenous grapes with indigenous ones as with this Quinta de Pancas 2018 Reserva in addition to 40% Touriga Nacional has 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Alicante Bouschet which have aged for 12 months in French oak barrels.
Aroma: The oak is generous but is far enough in the background to maintain respectability. Granted there is some gentle vanilla making an appearance the blackberry, cassis and black cherry are in charge. Despite the oak and this rich black fruit the wine retains steady firmness at least so thinks the nose.
Palate: The firmness as suggested by the nose transcends into the palate with moderate tannins and highly disciplined black fruit. Despite all this firmness and discipline the wine has a light and almost dainty finish. What a chameleon!
Personality: If I was a movie I would be the 1989 film “Drugstore Cowboy” all, serious and dark until Tom the Priest appears played by Edgar S. Boroughs adding a twist of macabre lightness. Of course my finish may be “light and dainty” but it isn’t macabre. Geez understand?
Food match: The best quality EU beef! Vegheads need an ultra rich mushroom and parsnip ragout over polenta.
Cellarbility: Will glide into 2028 and will improve along the way.
Price: $25 (Ontario).
RKS 2023 Wine Rating: 91/100.
(Quinta de Pancas Reserva 2018, Vinho Regional Lisboa, Quinta Pancas, Portugal, 750 mL, 14.5%, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 37663).