I can’t remember ever drinking a wine from Portugal — until today. My sweetie and I were browsing in the SAQ — a government-run liquor board outlet — and came across a red wine called Fonte do Nico in the “new arrivals” section. The back label on the bottle describes it as “a young wine (2014) designed to appeal to a new generation of wine drinkers.”

It goes on to say the wine is “made exclusively from the indigenous Portuguese grape variety Castelão, and offers a new taste experience to those in search of something different.”

It says the grape is grown in a sandy soil in a Mediterranean climate, and recommended dishes are meat, fish and cheese. It also says this: “Keep at maximum 6-7 years.”

With such a promising label, how could we resist, even if it isn’t a California wine? And the price was excellent — on sale at $8.50 ($1 discount) — and further proof that good wines can be found for less than $10.

I chilled it first, because the back label recommends Fonte do Nico be served at 16-18C and it was 27C in the house today.

So, how does it taste: rich, and richer still as it lost the chill. This wine has a lot of character and depth, and stands up well on its own. It’s semi-dry, not sweet. I found myself savouring it in my mouth longer than you normally might with a wine.

Yes, the label lives up to its promise. This is a different taste experience, and I will buy another bottle or two to put away in my wine cupboard. But have no fear: it won’t be staying there for 6-7 years. I doubt it will make Christmas.

— Jillian