It’s time for more Portuguese wine. These three fine examples show that many of us may have been missing out by underrating Spain’s nearest neighbour.Because there is more to Portuguese wine than Mateus Rose.
Of course, younger readers probably won’t have experienced the cheerful’glonk glonk’ sound Mateus Rose makes when it’s poured, or ever turned the empty bottle into an attractive candle holder covered in wax.
For a very long time though, it was what Portuguese wine was all about when discussed outside of its home country.
Today proper wine fans don’t dismiss the wines of Portugal, and with good reason as there are some excellent wines to be had.
First up was Casa do Homem Branco – £8.63 – The Drink Shop, a Vinho Verde.We have all heard of Vinho Verde, of course, one of Portugal’s most famous wines (after Mateus Rose, of course).
Quintas do Homem is a family run business dating from only 1985 and this wine is made from their Loureiro and Arinto grapes.This is what one would definitely call a zesty wine.
Very citrusy and fresh and perfect for summer drinking in the sun. Lots of acidity, floral notes and a lovely bright colour. Perfect on its own or with shellfish and a conversation starter when with your vin loving buddies.
Next up, another white wine this time from Great Western Wine, the QL Flowers Loureiro – £9.75.The QL stands for Quinta da Lixa, and this Vinho Verde comes in a cheerful floral labelled bottle, and while I’m not a fan of labels that try too hard to be quirky, here the label does reflect the qualities of the wine inside.
It’s very modern, floral and fruity, reflecting the skills of the Meireles family who only seriously moved into wine production in 1986.
This wine has the classic spritz and adds a slice of apple and some mild, rounded, citrus notes for a pleasing, medium bodied wine with a palate-cleansing acidity at the end.
A crisp salad with chicken and croutons would be good with this.
And finally, our favourite, because we love a red wine. Sino da Romaneira 2014 – Lea and Sandeman £15.95.
From the Douro valley, as you might expect, and Quinta da Romaneira. The semi-abandoned vineyard was renovated and upgraded in 2004 and is now one of the elite producers of the region, with gorgeous steep slopes that head vertiginously down to the river Douro.
This red is in fact slightly lighter than we expected, all the better on a hot day, but had lost none of the classic floral and spicy notes of the Douro region, nor the characteristics of the quintessential Douro grape varieties of Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz.
A fat and juicy wine, it cries out to be drunk with meat and pork was our choice, the wine perfectly complimenting thin slices of pork roast, slightly pink and smokey from 90 minutes inside a charcoal-fuelled kettle BBQ.
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Casa do Homem Branco – £8.63 – The Drink Shop
Sino da Romaneira 2014 – £15.95 – Lea and Sandeman
QL Flowers Loureiro – £9.75 – Great Western Wine