Península de Setúbal, directly south of Lisbon, is a Portuguese wine region known for its classic sweet, fortified Moscatel de Setúbal wines, yet the region is proudly showcasing its crisp, bright whites and powerful reds.
White wines are made from the Fernão Pires, Moscatel de Setúbal, Arinto, Alvarinho and Verdelho grapes, while reds are dominated by Casteãlo, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Aragonez, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
The wines are a great value – look for them next time you are wine shopping and give them a try. And for sure, if you enjoy dessert wines, pick up a bottle of the young Adega de Pegões or aged Alambre Moscatel de Setúbal. Seriously so delicious.
Here are some of my favorites from a recent Setúbal wine luncheon and tasting at The Bonneville, which did a magnificent job on the menu. I am still dreaming about the dark chocolate, caramel and hazelnut parfait.
White wines paired with a crispy cod cake (did you know Portugal is one of the biggest consumers of cod?)
JP Azeitão White 2018 – Citrus, tropical, floral and perfume notes with hint of salinity on the finish (my favorite of the whites)
Dona Ermelinda White 2018 – Apple, citrus and oak notes
Quinta de Camarate White 2018 – the “sheep wine,” it had notes of pear, bruised apple with salinity on the finish
Rosé and reds paired with a grilled pork loin
Fernão Pó Rosé 2018 – a 100 percent Casteãlo rosé, this pretty little number smelled like it came from Provence, with strawberry, raspberry, herbal notes. With bright acid, it dances on the palate with a slight spritz
Vinhas de Pegões Touriga Nacional 2018 – this 100 percent Touriga red offered notes of red cherry, black cherry, herbs and leather
Vinha de Valentina Premium 2018 – a blend of Syrah, Casteãlo,, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet, this wine was very much a New World style with ripe fruit notes of black cherry and black berry, vanilla and cola
Reds paired with roasted sirloin
ASF Red 2016 – also in a New World style, this blend of Casteãlo, Merlot, Touriga Nacional and Tannat expressed dark fruit notes of black cherry and blackberry, leather, smoke and tobacco
Quinta de Bacalhô Red 2015 – one of the older wineries represented, with this wine first being made in 1979, this big red had notes of cherry, black cherry, blackberry, anise and leather
Dessert wine paired with dark chocolate hazelnut parfait
Adega de Pegões Moscatel de Setúbal – this fresh dessert wine exploded with notes of orange marmalade, honey and flowers (OMG!)
Alambre 20 years old – the “20 year” notation indicates the youngest wine in the bottle, with this dessert wine including some 1911 wine. This was a beautiful sweet wine that expressed its age with orange, hazelnut, coffee, caramel, clove and cinnamon notes. I wish I could have taken this bottle home!
Thank you to the Península de Setúbal for including me in this tasting. Always great to see and share new wines with my fellow wine friends!
Certified Wine Educator, WSET Advanced, Certified Sommelier, French Wine Scholar, Les Dames D’Escoffier Austin
Phone: (512) 587-5879