Roz Crowley

Food, wine, travel, music

Portuguese wines – a quick look

Nicolas from O’Brien Wine presented an excellent selection of Portuguese wines. Below are my highlights.

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Prova Regia Arinto, Lisboa 2012Arinto refers to the native Portuguese grape grown in the Vinho Verde, Tejo and Bucelas regions. Bucelas is part of the Lisboa AOC. You can usually expect this grape type to have quite a citrus flavour, but here it is mollified, being left to ferment on the lees and acquire a subtle yeastiness which is interesting and satisfying.  There is a touch of minerality there too. Good with fish dishes from simply fried fillets to more complex sauced ones, and with tapas. Also worth enjoying on its own. Nice acidity, good length, good value @ €13.49 on line.

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Quinta Foz Arouce. VR Beira 2010. Just 1,500 bottles of this wine were made this vintage and how worth the trouble it was. Light honey in colour, French oak is used to vinify the local Cerceal grape variety, added to in this vintage by other local grapes grown on schist soil. The result is plenty of fruit, several layers with clever oaking giving a gentle butteriness. Good length. Like a good Burgundy. €17.49 on line.

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Quinta dos Aciprestes Douro 2008 reserva. This wine seemed a bit green on first sip, but improved hugely in the glass. Definitely will benefit from decanting. The winemakers moved from the typical port making of these exceptionally scenic region to make this red from Tinta Roriz, full of ripe fruit,with

Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional, also typical of the region. 14-16 months in oak.

Peceguina Alentejano 2011. You can stay and eat in this winery and tuck into dried ham and organic pork. A new kid on the block with lots of great ideas, the organic ethos shows in the wine. The organically grown Alicante, Aragonese (Tempranillo), Grenache and Cabernet grapes are carefully handpicked and placed in small baskets to preserve their shape while waiting to be crushed in the winery. The wine is aged for about six months in old French barrels. The result is a lovely, fresh, clean taste, slightly meaty and interesting. My favourite of this tasting. Well worth its price tag of €21.49.

Smith Woodhouse 10YO Tawny port comes from a company bought by the Symington family, who own some of the best properties in Portugal. A lovely balanced alternative to dessert wine, not too sweet, warm, good with cheese, dried figs, raisins. Great as gift. €29.99 is a fair price for this treat.

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