Screw Portuguese wine… but in a good way!

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Qunita de Azevedo 2010When you think of Portugal what springs to mind? If you asked Mr Bouquet he’d say golf and sand, if you asked Brother Bouquet he’d say stolen wetsuits and surfing. And if you’d asked me even a couple of years ago I’d have said Mateus rosé and post A-level sun. But for most in the wine-know, unsurprisingly, they’d say Port and corks, and with good reason. The country’s cork trees account for 50% of the world’s total cork production, and of course, Port can only be labelled as such if it’s made in Port-ugal!

Without doubt, in terms of growth in reputation and excitement Portuguese still wines have become the next big wine thing in the UK. Their popularity and an increase in general understanding of what was previously quite an unknown beast is unrivalled for an old world wine producing country this side of the year 2000. And yet for such an up and coming category the mix between great wines for drinking now and the economical and ecological reliance that some regions have on the cork industry, the wine trade seems to me to be in a bit of a conundrum.

Tagus Creek shiraz+trinc 2010 bottle shot_smAt a recent tasting of the country’s northern white wines only a handful of these youthful delights were closed with screwcap, and I was nearly laughed off one producers stand when I asked whether he would consider using screwcap in the future. What a shame, because without doubt the hype surrounding these in vogue wines is quite rightly attached to its drinking-well-now wines that are synonymously enjoyed most often with the ceremonious crunch of an opening screwcap.

If you’re not put off by the exotic sounding names here are two of the country’s must-try wines worth putting in your basket and crunching open. Quinta de Azevedo 2010 Vinho Verde, Portugal, widely available at Majestic, The Wine Society and Waitrose (RRP £7.29) A retro combo of lemon sherbet on the nose and raspberry refreshers on the palate and a refreshing lime rind zing on the finish.

For a red that sounds more Australian than maybe it should, try the award winning Tagus Creek Shiraz/ Trincadeira 2010, Alentejano, Portugal. Wonderfully aromatic on the nose; violets, lavender & Garrigae herbs are followed by dried cherries, dried herbs, and cocoa powder tannins. A perfect complement to end of the summer sun style Mediterranean dishes. High street stockists include Tesco and Asda (RRP £5.99-£6.29)

This article has been published in the Sept/Oct 2011 issue of The Notebook, Kensington & Chelsea

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2 Responses to “Screw Portuguese wine… but in a good way!”

  1. Andrew says:

    So much good stuff from Portugal at the moment… let us hope all those obscure grapes dont put off people trying them!

  2. Gerry Price says:

    We sell over fifty Portuguese wines at our shop, Wines @ West End and in our pub, The Inn @ West End. Try the Giesta Touriga Rosado from Dao by the glass with a bowl of kedgeree – yum!