Portuguese Wine making

By BigHospitality Writer

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Wine

The days when Portugal was known only for fortified wines, fizzy pinks and tannic reds that remained undrinkable for years are long gone. It shares, with Italy, the blessing – and handicap – of a variety of grapes that, mostly, no one ...

The days when Portugal was known only for fortified wines, fizzy pinks and tannic reds that remained undrinkable for years are long gone. It shares, with Italy, the blessing – and handicap – of a variety of grapes that, mostly, no one else has. But until recently, it lagged behind in wine making and image. Today, a new generation is turning out delicious whites and reds (and dry rosés!) for short-term drinking and reds for longer-term cellaring. It is easy to lump Portugal in with its larger Iberian neighbour; while there is limited overlap, not only will neither country thank you, it won't help you understand. Apart from the grapes, Portugal is hugely influenced by the Atlantic, unlike most of Spain. Amid more familiar regional names, like Douro, others deserve better representation.

Budget:

  • TR Beiras Aliança 2004 Made from a couple of Port grapes, this robust red is a touch baked on the nose, big in the mouth but juicy. Great value. £4 per bottle, ex-VAT, Boutinot, 0161 908 1300
  • Quinta da Lagoalva Catelao/ Touriga, Ribatejo 2004 Good, honest, fruity wine. Red fruits in the mouth, with good acidity and firm but very ripe tannins. As the weather warms up don't serve too warm. £4.60 per bottle, ex-VAT Clark Foyster, 020 8567 1589

Thursday night special:

  • VR Beiras Luis Pato 2005 One of my favourite Portuguese winemakers. Earthy, fruity and youthful, this summery quaffer has soft, easy tannins and a modest bite of acidity. £8.55 per bottle, ex-VAT, Raymond Reynolds, 01663 742230
  • Ensaios Branco Beiras 2005 Lively and tangy, this refreshing, dry white offers summery flavours of watermelon and citrus. £6.53 per bottle, ex-VAT, Clarke Foyster, 020 8567 1589

Big Night Out:

  • Niepoort Vertente DOC Douro 2002 Rich, firmly structured, with juicy acidity and firm ripe tannins. Modern not flash. Classy. £12.80 per bottle, ex-VAT, Raymond Reynolds, 01663 742230
  • Quinta do Riberinho Beiras ‘Pefranco', Luis Pato 2005 Seriously structured, almost Nebbiolo-like, with power and finesse. Masterful use of oak to season, rather than flavour. Very good. Soon to be released. £63.80 per bottle, ex-VAT, Raymond Reynolds, 01663 742230

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