Exploring Portugal’s Tejo wine region (5) tasting the wines

This was a large tasting of Tejo wines, many of which had scored highly at a large competition in the region. These are my notes and scores. The wines were tasted sighted.


Lapa Vinho Espumante Arinto QL Cuvée 2019 Tejo
12% alcohol. Traditional method, with 32 konths on the lees. This is rich and toasty with some hazelnut and spice notes. Citrussy and vivid with nice density and also some grip. 88/100


Ode Winery Naturalmente Viognier 2022 Tejo
13% alcohol. Bright, fresh and textural with focused citrus and pear and apricot. There’s a linear quality with a nice stony edge, and good acidity. A fresh, focused version of Viognier. 90/100

Casal des Aires Fernão Pires Vinhas Velhas 2020 Tejo
11.5% alcohol. This is from sandy charneca sandy soils and 81 year old vines, made by Joana Pinhão. This spends 10 months in used 500 litre barrels. Very fine. Mineral, taut and fresh with lovely citrus fruit and a hint of pear, and a nice crystalline, slightly saline quality. Very fine and expressive with good concentration. Has a tapering finish with such lovely balance and focus, showing real precision. 94/100

Encostas do Sobral Reserva Branco 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. This is a blend of Gouveio, Viosinho and Viognier. 40% new French oak and new Acacia, 30% used French oak and 30% stainless steel. Fine, precise, lemony and spice with a slightly smoky, spicy, woody note on the fringes from the acacia, as well as notes of pepper and mint. Distinctive with a nice savoury twist. 92/100

Quinta do Lagoalva Arinto & Chardonnay Reserva 2022 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. This is quite dense and powerful with sweet citrus fruit and some peach and pear fruit richness, as well as some spice from the oak. Nice density here, combining richness with typical Tejo freshness. Mouthfilling, with a slight saltiness on the finish. 89/100

Casal de Fonte Abaladiço Fernão Pires Reserva 2019 Tejo
14% alcohol. Full yellow in colour this is a rich, powerful wine with some toast and nut, and some wood spice, as well as ripe pear and peach fruit. It has lots of flavour and some freshness, but the savoury woody notes are quite intrusive. 85/100

Quinta do Casal Branco Fernão Pires 2021 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Juicy, bright and lively, this is a lovely focused, bright wine showing crisp lemon and grapefruit characters with a slight saltiness. Really expressive with nice pure fruit. A lovely wine: simple but well executed. 88/100

Quinta do Lagoalva Grande Reserva Fernão Pires 2021 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Grandly packaged in a heavy bottle with a wax seal. Powerful but fresh with lovely intensity showing a salty edge to the sweet pear and citrus fruit. There’s oak in the mix but it’s not obtrusive, and a very subtle creamy edge. Intriguing and quite complex, but retaining balance and with the fruit driving the palate, not oak. 92/100

Fiuza Reserva Sauvignon Blanc Premium 2021 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Includes 5% of previous vintage aged in barrel. Nice concentration of sweet pear and citrus fruit with some spicy characters in the background. Has a fresh acid line, with a direct quality to the fruit. Quite sophisticated: not overtly Sauvignon in character, more about pure, ripe fruit backed up with a keen acid line. 89/100

A.C.A Fernão Pires 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. From the Adega Cooperativa de Almeirim. Full yellow colour. Rich, spicy and toasty with bold peach and table grape fruit. Pure, ripe and exuberant in character with a savoury, woody edge to the ripe fruit, but it still has freshness. Very forward in style, this is a crowd pleaser. 87/100

Quinta do Côro Arinto & Verdelho Reserva 2021 Tejo
13% alcohol. Full yellow colour. Nice presence here with bold but balanced pear and citrus fruit with some fine spicy notes in the background. Has a lovely fresh acidity with some stony mineral notes and a long lemony finish. Impressive and well balanced. 92/100

Detalhe Branco Reserva 2021 Tejo
13% alcohol. This is a blend of Verdelho and Sauvignon Blanc from the Cartaxo sub region. This is linear and bright with pleasant pear and citrus fruit, but it’s slightly crudely hemmed in by some savoury woody notes. Has freshness, but it’s a little angular. 86/100

Conde Vimioso Reserva 2020 Tejo
13% alcohol. From Falua, this is a varietal Arinto aged for 10 months in oak. Full yellow colour. Bold and ambitious with some oak supporting the lively bright citrussy fruit. Nice acidity here and quite ambitious, but the oak is prominent and a bit of a distraction. 88/100

Badula Colheita Seleccionada Branco 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Alvarinho and Arinto, part barrel fermented. This is so lively, juicy and bright with intense citrus fruit and a fine spiciness. The oak is quite well integrated but you can spot it in the mix, and the main feature here is the vivid fruit with bright acidity. Very impactful. 90/100

Hugo Mendes Branco 2021 Tejo
12% alcohol. Full golden yellow colour. Bold skin-ferment style with lovely freshness and weight. Has lemon and apricot fruit with nice acidity and a wonderful texture, showing a bit of tannin but no astringency. Really impressive stuff with real appeal. 93/100

Joana da Cana Branco by Rui Franco 2021 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Arinto, Fernão Pires and Moscatel. Lively, fresh, fruity and grapey with nice brightness and good acidity. Simple, bold and fruity with nice weight. Pure. 87/100

Varandas Branco Grande Escolha 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. 55% Arinto, 45% Chardonnay, sandy soils, partial barrel ferment. Bold and quite intense with some structure behind the pear and citrus fruit, with some nut and peach notes. Lots of flavour and palate weight here, finishing fresh. Pure, with a hint of mint on the finish. The oak is a little angular. 88/100

Lagoalva Sauvignon Blanc 2022 Tejo
11.5% alcohol. Bright, zippy and tart, with a hint of green alongside pear and passionfruit notes, with some pink grapefruit on the finish. A convincing Tejo expression of Sauvignon Blanc capturing lots of freshness and with nice zippy acidity. 90/100


Quinta do Casal Monteiro Rosé 2022 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. Very pale pink. Fresh and bright with sweet strawberries, some cream and some rose petal hints. It’s a little odd, with an almost confected quality to the flavours. 84/100

Bathoreu Rosé 2021 Tejo
100% Castelão. Very pale pink in colour. This is fruity and delicate with nice balance, showing juicy citrus fruit and a touch of green apple and cranberry. Fine and expressive. 90/100

Hugo Mendes Rosé 2021 Tejo, Portugal
12% alcohol. Bright and textural with lively pear, apple, lemon and cherry fruit. Has nice depth and some appealing sappy notes, as well as a hint of creaminess. 92/100

Quinta da Alorna Touriga Nacional Rosé 2022 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Pale but vivid pink in colour. Juicy, fresh and sappy with nice bright cherry fruit and good acidity, with a pleasant green hint. Nice fruit here. 89/100


Quinta do Côro 5 Castas Reserva 2020 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Petit Verdot. Bold, vivid and structured, yet fresh, with lots of black cherry, blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. This is all backed up by lots of spicy oak, and firm tannins. Nice density here with good freshness, although it is slightly angular. 91/100

Zá da Leonor Reserva 2021 Tejo
14% alcohol. Made by Felipe Sevinate Pinto. Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. Dense and vivid with lovely focused blackcurrant and black cherry fruut as well as some nice cherry notes. This is dense and tannic, with sweet fruit but also some nice structure. Vibrant, elemental and grippy. 93/100

Companhia das Lezírias Senhora Companhia Vinho Novo 2022 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. A hat tip to Beaujolais nouveau here. Bright and vivid with a peppery, savoury twist and just a hint of lift from the volatile acidity (present but not a problem). Has a nice sweet strawberry and raspberry character but also some savoury, spicy notes. Shows good concentration and drinkability, with a hint of savouriness. Really interesting. 91/100

Vale de Lobos Touriga Nacional Reserva 2019 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. Spicy, intense nose with woodsmoke, mint and sweet black fruits. The palate is ripe and fruit-driven, with good freshness, but also a slightly overpowering minty/eucalypt character. Distinctive, but somewhat out of balance, although I like the freshness. 85/100

Alma de Tejo Premium Unoaked 2019 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh and vivid with sweet blackcurrant and cherry fruit, together with some good tannin and bright acidity. Lovely intense fruit is the focus here: it doesn’t need any oak. Well structured and expressive. 90/100

Casa da Atela Merlot 2020 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. 20 year old vines in sandy soils, spends 9 months in new French oak. This is fresh and supple with nice berry fruits combining quite effectively with spicy oak. Classy and well balanced, although the oak takes over a bit on the finish. 88/100

Conde Vimioso Reserva Tinto 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. Lots of spicy wood on the nose with sweet blackberry fruit. The palate is fresh and lively with the wood combining well with the fleshy black fruits, and a sense of brightness on the finish. Impressive stuff, albeit made in quite an oaky, crowd-pleasing style. 91/100

Bridão Private Collection 2018 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. 50/50 blend of Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional from the Cartaxo sub region (made by the Cartaxo coop). Dense, slightly old-school red with bold, sweet black fruits as well as some slightly murky oak. It’s has some oxidative hints, but it’s also mellow and quite smooth if you like your reds in this lush, slightly jammy style. 86/100

Cabeça de Toiro Grande Reserva Privada Alicante Bouschet 2018 Tejo
15.5% alcohol. 12 months in French oak. Inky and intense, this is a real mouthful of a wine with bold but fresh ripe berry fruits and some spicy oak in the background. Really concentrated, and wears its high alcohol quite well. There’s amazing intensity of fruit here, and nice purity. An impact wine, for sure, but well done. 93/100

Falcoaria Tinto 2020 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. 20-60 year old vines, Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, partially foot trodden and fermented in lagar, then 12 months in French oak. Deeply coloured, this is vibrant and fresh with blackcurrant and blackberries, good acidity, nice structure and a bit of fleshiness. The oak adds a bit of structure and a fine, spicy veneer. Really stylish. Don’t be misled by the old fashioned label: this is a really good, modern-style wine with some ageing potential. 93/100

Quinta da Alorna Reserva Touriga Nacional Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 Tejo
13% alcohol. Winemaker is Marta Reis Simoes. Supple and fresh with an understated character. Has cherry and plum fruit but also a savoury, slightly woody edge and some dried herbs. A little muted in its expression but fresh and well balanced. 88/100

Quinta da Alorna Touriga Nacional 2020 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. From the Campo. Floral blackcurrant and black cherry on the nose, with some dried herbs, Textural with fine green hints on the palate and lovely supple black fruits and a plump berry fruit quality. Supple and delicious. 92/100

Cabeça de Toiro Syrah Reserva 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. Sweetly fruited with a savoury, spicy, woody imprint. Shows nice fleshy cherry and berry fruits but the oak is a little high in the mix. Appealing, though, in this style. 87/100

Companhia das Lezírias 1836 Grande Reserva Colheita 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. Old vine Alicante Bouschet. Has a spicy, minty overlay to the bold black fruits on the nose. The palate is fresh and lively with vivid black cherry and plum fruit as well as some blackcurrant notes. It’s all about intense, vivid, pure fruit. Such depth, with good structure and balance, and a fresh finish. A little stern at the moment, perhaps, but with potential for development. 93/100

Quinta do Lagoalva Dona Isabel Juliana Grande Reserva 2018 Tejo
14% alcohol. Grandly packaged in a heavy bottle with a wax seal. Dense and structured, this is an ambitious wine that combines bold fruit with a savoury structure and some spicy oak influence. It is slightly old fashioned, with some oxidative hints from a long barrel regime, as well as lots of tannin, but it retains some freshness. Very traditional in style, it should have a long future ahead of it. 91/100

Vale de Lobos Tinto Reserva 2019 Tejo
14% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Tinta Roriz, aged in French and American oak. There’s a woody, spicy edge to the nose. The palate shows fresh, fleshy black and red fruits, with some woody notes from the barrels and a hint of tar and mint. The fruit is slightly faded. 85/100

Cabeça de Toiro Bull’s Temptation Reserva 2020 Tejo
15% alcohol. Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. This is a real crowd pleaser with some spicy vanilla oak flattering the lush, sweet blackberry and cherry fruit. Finishes quite woody. A clever commercial wine with the wood and pure, sweet fruit delivering immediate pleasure – a vinous equivalent to fast food. 87/100

Espargal de D. Luis Castelão Golegã 2021 Tejo
14% alcohol. Made by Felipe Pinto. Fresh, bright and juicy with sweet cherries and berries, with a nice sour cherry twist to the finish. There are also some savoury woody hints too. It has drinkability, but also a bit of structure. 88/100

Casa Cadaval Reserva 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro and Merlot. Nice fresh black cherry and blackberry fruit with some support from the oak. A vivid, classically styled red based on marrying fruit and oak, although it’s the latter that wins out a bit on the finish, making the wine seem quite angular. Lovely fruit, though. 89/100

Casa de Atela Syrah 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. 20 year old vines in sandy soils. Nice bright, vivid fruit here, but the savoury woody notes from the oak regime are a bit overpowering. There’s a nice freshness to the fruit, and this could be really good if the winemaking were more attentive to the vineyard, rather than imposing a style on it. Could develop in interesting ways though, as there’s good structure and freshness here if the wood ever integrates and settles down. 87/100

Quinta S. João Batista Grande Reserva 2019 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. Ambitiously packaged in a very heavy bottle, this wine is only made in certain years. It’s a dense, concentrated red with a savoury, spicy undercurrent to the sweet blackberry and cherry fruit, with some flesh, good bright acidity, and some structure. There’s balance here, with all the elements working together. A big, slightly old school wine, but with the potential for graceful development in the bottle. 91/100

Quinta da Alorna Reserva das Pedras Castelão 2017 Tejo
13% alcohol. Charneca. Fresh and structured, with a savoury twist to the sweet berry fruits. Has some spicy character, too. An ambitious take on this variety that works quite well, in a slightly faded savoury style. 88/100

Quinta de Santo André Reserva 2019 Tejo
14% alcohol. Syrah, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Minty with some woody notes, and a dry palate of cherries, strawberries and plums, finishing spicy and savoury. The fruit has been beaten by the oak. 85/100

Colete Velho Premium 2022 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Touriga Nacional. Juicy and bright with cherries, raspberries and plums, showing good freshness. But there are some oxidative hints lurking, with a touch of apple. Simple and very drinkable, but the oxidative notes are a problem. Is this a badly prepared sample? 81/100

Casa Cadaval Trincadeira Preta 2019 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. 60 year old vines. Slightly faded nose with dried herbs and stewed plums. Hints of mint and spice on the palate with some bright cherries and plums. There’s good balance, but the fruit is somewhat muted. Old school winemaking? 86/100

Quinta da Atela Reserva Tinto 2019 Tejo
14% alcohol. 20 year old vines in sandy charneca soils, aged 12 months in French oak. Nice bright, vivid fruit that’s quite direct, but the oak regime makes its mark felt all too keenly, adding savoury sterness that clashes a bit with the fruit. 85/100

Terra Chã 2021 Tejo
13% alcohol. Castelão, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. Supple, bright red cherry and plum fruit with a liqueur-like sweetness and weight on the palate. Juicy and quite fresh, but has some savoury woodiness lurking in the background. Nice bright fruit is the key here. 89/100

Encosta do Sobral Reserva 2020 Tejo
14% alcohol. Syrah, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. Schist soils near Tomar in the north. 18 months in French oak, 50% new. Combines bright, direct fruit with good acidity and some spicy, woody notes. Has a slightly stern personality, but I really like the focused fruit, and this should age well. 90/100

Bathoreau Selection 2021 Tejo
14% alcohol. 60% Touriga Nacional, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is very bright, lively and fruity with exuberant cherries, strawberries and a twist of blackcurrant. It’s a fresh style with no evident oak, and the bright fruit really shines here. High dissolved carbon dioxide also adds to the sense of freshness. 90/100

Companhia das Lezírias Herdade de Catapereiro 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alicante Bouschet. Lovely bright, vivid direct fruit here with a juicy edge to the cherry, plum and blackcurrant fruit. Such presence and balance here, showing good acidity and appropriate structure. Very nicely made. 92/100

Quinta da Badula Grande Reserva 2015 Tejo
15% alcohol. Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional and Syrah. Traditional in style with some savoury woody notes as well as dense fruit subdued into a structured, dense whole by extended barrel ageing. Should develop in bottle for a long time, and very well done in this old fashioned style, which has its place. 89/100

Bridão Reserva 2018 Tejo
15% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Tinta Roriz and Syrah. Old school Reserva with complex spicy, woody, savoury notes as well as dense, ripe berry fruits. It’s a big, layered wine, almost Amarone in style. 88/100

Quinta de Santo André 2021 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Touriga Nacional. Sweetly fruited and easy with juicy cherry and plum fruit as well as some green hints, but there’s an odd spicy spritz here that marks the finish, and some almond notes that don’t fit in very well. 81/100

Campo de Tejo Fernão Pires

Campo de Tejo is a new project, looking to develop a shared brand, making light, fresh delicious expressions of Fernão Pires. I tried three of these early adopters.

Batistas Campo de Tejo Fernão Pires 2022 Tejo
12% alcohol. Juicy and bright with lovely juicy, grapey, lemony fruit. Fresh and direct with lovely fruit. So bright, but with flesh. 88/100

Casal Monteiro Campo de Tejo Fernão Pires 2022 Tejo
11.5% alcohol. Lively and tart with nice fresh citrus and pear fruit, showing good acidity. Nice precision here. Good acidity. 88/100

Lagoalva Campo de Tejo Fernão Pires 2022 Tejo
11% alcohol. Juicy and fresh with lovely clean, pure citrus fruit and some grapey hints. Has nice purity and balance, with lovely fruity flavours and good acidity. 89/100

Sweet wines

Compania das Lezírias Séries Singulares Colheita Tardia 2021 Tejo
13% alcohol. Bright and sweet, with lovely grape, apricot and melon fruit. Has nice flesh and a wonderful texture, balancing the sweetness with nice acidity. Very fine, pure and beautifully balanced, this is superb. 93/100

Quinta da Alorna Fernão Pires Abafado Vinho Licoroso 5 Years 2016 Tejo
17.5% alcohol. Fortified. Complex and very sweet with pear, apple, honey and raisin, showing a little warmth and spiciness. Nice weight, finishing very sweet. Has real appeal and good balance. Stylish. 92/100