What to drink this week
Portuguese white wines might sound like a truly obscure subject—the canny choice of an experienced Mastermind contestant, perhaps— but don’t switch off: I’ve been finding some genuinely interesting latesummer selections from the western shores of Iberia. They range from the light, prickly and tangy to the seriously intense.
They may be an adventurous choice, but Portuguese whites are worth trying, advocates Harry Eyres
Why you should be drinking them
Portugal’s great attraction has always been its dowry of indigenous grape varieties. The problem used to be lack of investment and know-how in the winery, leading to a dull cardboardiness and a lack of freshness and fruit. Now, however, ambition and skill are much more in evidence. In the Douro, Portugal’s premier wine area, results can be spectacular.
What to drink
Portugal’s Alvarinho is the same grape as Galicia’s Albariño, grown a little further north, and the wines have similar freshness and saltiness, at a reasonable price. Casal de Ventozela Alvarinho 2015 (£9.99; www.majestic.co.uk) is ripe and soft, but has some structure and minerality—good value. Morgadia de Torre Alvarinho 2015 Vinho Verde (below, £11.99; www.majestic.co.uk) is firm, dry and elegant. Go inland up the Douro valley and you find seriously exciting stuff. Niepoort’s Redoma Branco 2014 (£18.90; www.tanners-wines.co.uk), made from a cocktail of local varieties, is pale, almost whitegold and subtly scented; a soft, fleshy entry leads to a middle palate of intense crunchy fruit and a long, minerally finish. Brilliant stuff. More quirky is Cottas Grande Reserva Douro Branco 2011 (£14.99; www.waitrosecellar.com): big, limey, oaky and intense, it reminds me of an aged Sémillon from the Hunter Valley.