Read about my experience discovering Portuguese wines from Vinho Verde to Alvarinho at the Vinícola Portugal wine festival in Vancouver and my top wine picks from the event.
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Vinícola Portugal wine festival, a local Vancouver event celebrating Portuguese wines, held at Heritage Hall on Main Street. With over 70 wines to taste, a small shop to purchase your favourite wines, and an Arc Iberico Imports stand offering delicious charcuterie boards with Iberico ham, it was a truly enjoyable experience. This event was organized by Justin Isidro, known as the Off The List Somm, and the General Manager of Kissa Tanto, an Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant located in Chinatown. Justin's inspiration for this event stemmed from his Portuguese roots, and he aimed to create a unique wine experience that allowed attendees to explore the wine world beyond the conventional wine varietals and regions. I can say he definitely succeeded in delivering his objective and I found this event to offer a truly distinctive experience by celebrating Portuguese wines.
Discovering Portuguese Wines
Vinícola Portugal introduced me to many varietals I had never even heard of before, offering a fresh perspective on the world of wine. I had the opportunity to taste numerous Vinho Verdes (wines from the Northern Portuguese region, predominantly young and white wines), Alvarinhos (same wine varietal as Albariño, but Portuguese), wines from the infamous Duoro Valley, as well as indigenous Portuguese varietals and natural wines. The event was so authentically Portuguese that even some of the wine pourers struggled with pronouncing the varietals!
Was Vinícola Portugal Worth It?
All in all, this festival provided fantastic value, considering the variety of wines available to taste, and provided ample time to taste every wine with its 4-hour duration. As a travel lover and part-time nomad, I enjoyed experiencing the cultural element discovered through exploring these wines. It brought me back to my trip to Portugal discovering their wines, particularly Port. In the end, I took home two exquisite wines in a beautiful box, along with a perfect pairing of Iberico ham.
Top Wine Picks At Vinícola Portugal
You’re probably wondering what’s my favourite wines from the event. Here's a list of my recommended wines to try.
Casal Ventozela Vinho Verde Loureiro
Quinto da Murta Bucelas Arinto 2017
Quinta Das Cerejeiras Grande Reserva – Chardonnay
Vale dos Santos Alvarinho 2021
DAO Casa de Mouraz Encruzado 2019
AIR Antonio Lopes Ribeiro Vinho Verde 2020
DAO Casa de Mouraz 2016
Vallado Tinto 2019 – Douro Valley
Oscar’s Quevedo Red Douro 2020
Fiuza Touriga Nacional 2020
Oceanus Touriga Nacional Alicante Bouschet Reserva 2020
Herdade do Rocim Alicante Bouschet Tinto 2021
Bojador Alentejano Tinto 2020
Bojador Vinho de Talha Alentejo 2020
Most of these wines can be found or ordered at Sutton Place Wine Merchant. If you get to try any of these wines, let me know in the comments which ones you like. As well, be sure to support your local sommelier, Justin, by following him on Instagram to get updates on when his next event will happen. I hope you find some great wines here and Happy Portuguese Wine Tasting!