Rule of Thumb: You can’t go wrong with Portuguese wine.
I heard so many good things about this wine for years from friends and family. I don’t know why it took me so long to try it, but I finally got a chance to taste it this week. And it was DELICIOUS. It was smooth, well-balanced and was very light on tannins which I love. Oh, and did I mention it was only $8? That’s why this week’s Wine of the Week is Casa Santos Lima Lab Tinto.
What Is It?
When I first tried this wine, I had no idea what it was. It couldn’t have been Cabernet because it wasn’t bold enough. It wasn’t Pinot Noir because it wasn’t sweet enough. But all the bottle told me was that is was “tinto”. So my best guess was that it’s a red blend and I was correct! Here’s the actual breakdown: Castelao (35%), Tinta Roriz (25%), Syrah (25%) and Touriga Nacional (15%).
All About Casa Santos Lima
This family-owned business of Portuguese wines ships their products to over 50 countries. Their current headquarters is 45 km north of Lisbon, the nation’s capital, in an estate that has been in the Santos Lima family for 5 generations!
The business was started way back in the 19th century by Joaquim Santos Lima who was already experienced as an exporter and producer of Portuguese wines. However, the Casa Santos Lima brand we know today is all thanks to Joaquim’s great-grandson, José Luís Santos Lima Oliveira da Silva, who relaunched the brand in 1990. I dare you to say that name 5 times fast. Anyways, José put in a lot of back-breaking work to rejuvenate the family wine business. He replanted vines, implemented new farming technology and used modern faming techniques. And it worked.
Casa Santos Lima is now not only known for their great quality wines, but also their unique corporate vision that revolves around price-quality ratio. Meaning, they want their wines to not only be great quality, but also super affordable.
What The Critics Say
Reviewers absolutely love this wine. It’s overall agreed that this wine is super easy to drink, is soft on tannins and is well-balanced (psst…remember my article from last week? The better balanced the wine, the higher the quality!). It has prominent red fruit flavor, with notes of cherry, strawberry and raspberry, as well as plum. It has a smooth and spice-like finish, plus some veggie/earthy notes in the mix. Overall, there’s nothing offensive about this wine. This is one of those wines you can bring over to someone’s house and everyone will enjoy.
Casa Santos Lima knows their wine. Still don’t agree with me? Maybe their 1,000 wine awards will change your mind. Yup, you read that right. And those are just awards won in the past 5 years.
Lab Tinto itself has won Gold for 12 of these awards. These awards were won at tons of different international competitions, including Prodexpo Wine Competition, China Wine & Spirits Awards, Concours Mondial de Bruxelles, Sydney International Wine Competition, Asia Wine Trophy, Austrian Wine Challenge, Portugal Wine Trophy, and Sélections Mondiales des Vins.
If I had seen Lab Tinto at the wine store and known nothing about it, chances are I wouldn’t have picked it up. The official note breakdown mentions licorice which is an absolute no-no in my book (and thankfully when I tasted this wine, I did not detect even a whisper of licorice. Whew!). Plus its only $8 which is typically another iffy sign. However, this is just another example that we can’t judge a wine by it’s price! If you haven’t tried this award-winning, affordable wine…what are you waiting for?