United States


    Appointed as the Portugal wine reviewer for The Wine Advocate in 2006, Mark Squires is coming up on 11 years of covering this wine region. Squires recalls that he had been interested in Portugal’s wines long before he officially started reviewing them. 

    His interest and pursuit of wine dates back to the mid-1990s, “when I had my own website…what would now be called a blog.” Squires says he eventually gave up on the idea at the time because he wasn’t sure there was enough interest, and he was also still working full-time as a lawyer. “I didn’t really have the ability to start taking off and going to Portugal all the time.”

    Luckily—for all of us—things have changed a lot since the mid-1990s. Just looking at Portugal, Squires now has over 6,000 wine reviews logged in The Wine Advocate’s archives and has been featured in several Portuguese wine magazines. Most recently, he was featured in the July issue of Revista de Vinhos—A Essência do Vinho, which roughly translates to Wine Magazine—The Essence of Wine. You can watch a short video of the interview here. (Just select English subtitles in settings.) 

    In anticipation of his Portugal reports that will be published in the upcoming August Issue of The Wine Advocate, we’ve turned the spotlight on Mark Squires here as well to get his views and insight on the current state of Portuguese wine.

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Mark Squires, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  25 Wines  from  2 Producers 

Luis Pato Branco Vinhas Velhas 2016 is a roughly equal blend this year of Bical, Cerceal and Sercialinho, unoaked and coming in at 12.5% alcohol. This simply coats the palate and seems full bodied, rich and very dense this year. So, too, was the 2015, but this might be even deeper. It may not have quite as much of that tightly wound feel and energy as the 2015 did, but they are two fabulous back-to-back values. This, while a little easier to read than the 2015 when I first saw it, does not lack for structure. As it airs and warms, it shows controlled tension on the finish, too. As with the 2015, this will likely show better with a year more in bottle, around the summer of 2018. It should age beautifully, perhaps better than indicated. I suspect the 2015 will eventually win out, when both have shed their baby fat, but at the moment, this shows better. At the pricing provided, there is no way you can go wrong with either. They are both super bargains.

1y 7m ago

Mark Squires, Wine Writer (United States)  had a tasting of  27 Wines  from  6 Producers 

The 2017 Niepoort Vintage Port is a field blend from old vines (80 to 100 years old). It comes in with 89 grams per liter of residual sugar. This was set for bottling in two weeks, but it was the final blend. Even when open for a couple of days, this was still tight, muscular and concentrated, grabbing the palate and never letting go. On opening, it was fragrant and delicious, but even then, there was plenty of muscle and evident concentration. The concentration and power merely improved as it aired out—unlike a lot of 2016s (which year Niepoort did not declare). Tasting it after several days open showed that it shut down and closed up in terms of expressiveness, but it definitively proved that it's an old-school, long-haul wine. Dry, stern and long on the finish, this is brilliant. It is hard to think of any basis on which this is not perfection just now—Niepoort says it is the best he's ever made. It's certainly the best I've seen from him, and it is a leading candidate for "Wine of the Vintage," although certainly not the only one. Finally, this is going to require patience. Nothing about it says "drink me now." It should age brilliantly. If you lack a cellar and patience, look away.

If you're wondering where the Bioma that I spoke of last year is, it is still not bottled and still not the final blend (so, not reviewed). It will be bottled in January. 99-100 points

1y 9m ago

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