As I strolled through the wine aisles at Costco, I was looking for something that was unique, but that still fit into the AJ Wine Series criteria. At last! I arrived at a wine from the country of my ancestry: Portugal!
Many don’t realize that the country of Portugal is, and has been for centuries, producing some excellent red wines. Only now are they starting to gain notoriety in the United States, even though they have been making wine since before the reign of the Roman Empire! In 1758, Portugal established the Regiao Demarcada do Douro, one of the earliest country protected designation of origin systems to protect Portuguese wine (Port) produced in the Douro Valley (similar to Champagne and Bordeaux in France). But it wasn’t until the late 20th century that Douro Valley (the largest wine producing area in Portugal located in the north near the Douro River) red wines received their own designation of origin.
Red wine grapes native to Portugal are not common to the rest of the world, or grapes your average Joe would recognize. The most common red wine grape in the Douro Valley is the Touriga Franca. The 2009 Duorum Tons Douro Red is made from the Touriga Franca varietal.
The Tons was watery with good clarity, but deep red in color. On the nose was very pleasant, mild black cherry. The flavors were nondescript, but the wine tasted dry with mild alcohol and soft, lingering tannins. I tried this wine with baked brie and strawberry and goat cheese bruschetta appetizers and grilled chicken, corn, and fruit salad entree and sides. All pairings made for pleasant combinations, making it a very versatile dry red wine. The four of us drinking it were all very satisfied. Of the common grape varietals known to the Average Joe, I would say it is most similar to a cabernet sauvignon. This wine purchase at Costco was $9, but if you come across any wines in this price range from the Douro Valley, expect them to be similar and give them a try! I give this wine an Average Joe rating of 4 glasses!