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Portugal’s top-scoring red wines: 15 to try

Red wines from the Douro and Alentejo had standout success at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020. Discover the wines that impressed the experts most...

‘A bling, bling Platinum & Gold year for Portugal’ is how Sarah Ahmed, DWWA Regional Chair for Portugal, described results from the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards.

In total, Portugal received an impressive five Best in Show, 11 Platinum and 25 Gold medals across all styles of wine, and while fortified wines Port and Madeira tend to perform well year on year, it was Portugal’s top-scoring dry red wines that greatly impressed.

Scroll down to see the 95+ point Portuguese red wines from DWWA 2020 and tasting notes

Showing top quality at every price point, both value and premium red wines topped the list with two Best in Show, seven Platinum and six Gold medals – all from the Douro and Alentejo. In comparison, at the 2019 competition not one red wine received a Platinum medal, and only one red from the Douro and two from Alentejo received a Gold.

In a recent regional profile on Alentejo, Ahmed writes, ‘Year in, year out, much like its reliably sunny climate, Alentejo’s red wines shine at Decanter World Wine Awards. Together with the Douro, the southern Portuguese region is the country’s most consistent Gold and Platinum medal winner.’ This is particularly apt of 2020 results.

Receiving a minimum of 95 points, with a majority scoring 97 points, below discover the competition’s standouts…

Portugal’s top-scoring red wines: 15 to try


Carmim, Monsaraz Reserva 2017

Best in Show, 97 points
Alicante Bouschet is a teinturier (red-fleshed) variety, so the saturatedly dark colour of this Alentejo wine will come as no surprise. What might surprise Alentejo wine lovers is the fresh aromatic lift of its aromas, which surely owes much to its Touriga component, and the overall exuberance and zest of its flavours, which sees Trincadeira lend a helping hand. The result is another outstanding Value entry to our Best In Show selection: a keenly priced wine which not only delivers a huge wealth of flavour and texture, but which does so in balanced, even, nuanced style. It will make great drinking for the winter nights to come, but if you wanted to keep a bottle or two for half a decade, you might be in for yet another pleasant surprise.

Comenda Grande, Reserva 2014

Platinum, 97 points
A brooding blockbuster of dried red cherries, coffee and ripe plums with a luscious minty core; lavish and rich with lithe tannins, a gorgeous dollop of sumptuous caramel oak and a lengthy cocoa dusted finish.

Herdade do Peso, Trinca Bolotas Alicante Bouschet-Touriga Nacional-Aragonez 2018

Platinum, 97 points
A fabulous blend of fresh blackberry, tobacco and dark chocolate aromatics with enticing mille-feuille tannins leavening the layers of red and black fruit compote which line the juicy palate; incredibly smooth and rich with a lingering, spicy finish.

Herdade dos Lagos, HDL 2018

Platinum, 97 points
Bursting with mouth-watering blue and red fruit aromatics underpinned by a delicious dried herb and tapenade persistence; concentrated and hearty with soft, savoury tannins, a juicy bite of acidity and a long, focused finish. A gentle giant.

Tiago Cabaço, Blog 2017

Platinum, 97 points
An explosion of intense blackberry, raspberry and blackcurrant fruit layered with sweet cinnamon, dried mint and savoury tapenade notes; opulent and weighty with plush, melting tannins and an underlying cedar and tobacco oak warmth. Stunning!

Bojador, Aragonez-Touriga Nacional-Trincadeira 2018

Gold, 95 points
An explosion of blue and red fruit with a lovely grassy minty kick and lift of tobacco; structured and complex with smooth, chalky tannins and a long finish.

Quinta do Paral, Reserva 2017

Gold, 95 points
Impressive, delivering at every point: elegant aromas of cedar, plum, tobacco and bitter chocolate with a supple, fruit-filled palate with rich tannins and a long, savoury finish.


Secret Spot 2016

Best in Show, 97 points
This dark, innately complex red wine is a testament to the astonishing potential of the Douro valley’s schist soils – and to the genetic old-vine patrimony which lies hidden there, deeply rooted and just waiting for sensitive vinification in order to find expression. That’s exactly what this wine has had. It’s not pretentiously oaky or shimmering with ambition; the fruited aromas, indeed, are almost gentle and discreet. The more you look, though, the more you will find. On the palate, too, the wine is relatively light-bodied and nimble on its feet, without a massive tannic presence. It’s that fruited complexity, once again, which hallmarks the wine’s quality, and which emerges with slow and meditative examination in the glass. This is a Douro classic of great purity and finesse.

Palato do Côa, Grande Reserva, Superior 2014

Platinum, 97 points
Flamboyant dark chocolate, liquorice and black cherry aromatics with a delicious savoury black olive caponata undertone; velvety and smooth with melting tannins and a touch of warming spice adding to the complexity. Long and beautiful.

Quinta da Pedra Alta, Pedra a Pedra 2017

Platinum, 97 points
Evoking a great sense of place with sumptuous layers of blackberries, blueberries and redcurrants permeated by a delicious core of schistous minerals and savoury elegance; with a rich, opulent texture, fine-grained tannins and a very long, intense finish.

Rui Roboredo Madeira, Quinta da Pedra Escrita 2017

Platinum, 97 points
A masterpiece of typicity with perfumed rosemary, thyme and lily aromatics interwoven with sour black cherries and blueberries and a firm clasp of oak. Concentrated and youthful with a vivid backbone of acidity and a long finish.

Asda, Extra Special 2017

Gold, 96 points
Unbelievable value! Vibrant violets, blackcurrants and plums with a core of savoury spice, supple, smooth tannins and a lush, creamy texture. Delightfully fresh and lively.

Quinta De Curvos, Prova Cega Reserva 2017

Gold, 96 points
An exquisite blend of ripe, juicy plums, violets and liquorice spice with distinctive graphite undertones; compelling and structured with graceful tannins and an elegant piquancy to the finish.

Quinta de Valbom, Reserva 2015

Gold, 96 points
Sumptuous milk chocolate laced cherries on the nose with a bursting sensation of unctuous mouth-watering fruit on the palate; textural with silky tannins and a long tobacco finish.

Quinta Vale D. Maria, Vinha da Francisca 2017

Gold, 96 points
A superb concentration of vivid black cherries, blueberries and fresh mint with a luxurious dust of warming cacao; hedonistic and flamboyant with velvety tannins and a long finish.

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