Portugal has been an important center for wine production ever since the Phoenicians and Carthaginians discovered that the many native grape varietals that grow in the country could be cultivated for making excellent wines. After all, Portugal has something of an ideal wine producing climate and terrain; lush green valleys, dry, rocky mountainsides and extremely fertile soil helped by long, hot summers and Atlantic winds. Today, such a climate and range of terroir produces an impressive variety of wines, with the best wines said to be coming out of the Douro region, the Alentejo and the Colares region near Lisbon. Portugal has an appellation system two hundred years older than France's, and much effort is made by regulating bodies to ensure that the quality of the country's produce remains high, and the wines remain representative of the regions they are grown in.
Sassy and alluring, the Broadbent 10 Years Old Verdelho Madeira shows that fortified wines are about more than just body and sweetness. This wine, with a mostly dry impression, shows just a bare hint of sweetness. The wine's complex flavors?dried fruit, complex earthiness, and mineral?combined with its tangy and salty finish, pair well with gravlax, lightly smoked cheeses and toasted almonds. (Tasted: November 10, 2016, San Francisco, CA)