PORTUGAL is a fantastic wine destination – and one that we don’t explore enough in Scotland. Quite apart from the fortified wines – which are excellent – their whites and reds are diverse and cool and very food-friendly.
The winemaking predominance is for indigenous varieties, but don’t let that put you off. These are wines that would grace your dinner table, and impress your friends without overly affecting your finances.
Here are a few excellent bottles for you to try this weekend:
CH by Chocapalha 2013
(Inverarity One to One, £29.49). OK, so this one is expensive, but trust me. It really is worth every penny. Made entirely from the Touriga Nacional grape, the wine is aged in French oak barriques (small barrels which hold 225 litres) for 24 months before a further period of ageing in bottle.
This translates into your glass as a massive fruit bomb swathed in leather with a floral (violet) note to add balance and restraint.
It is one of my all-time favourite wines to have with lamb (especially a leg of lamb with garlic and rosemary and new potatoes).
If you don’t fancy spending 30 quid, head to Majestic and grab at least two bottles of their Porta
6 2016 (Majestic, £8.99). This is an absolute bargain, and perfect fodder for the last barbecue of the year.
For a crisp, clean and interesting white, try the Flor de Crasto 2014
(M&S, £11). I’ve been selling wine for more than 20 years, and I’ve never before heard of the grapes that make up this wine (Rabigato, Codega do Larinho and Viosinho). Enjoy this one with scallops. And finally, if you’re feeling more traditional, grab a bottle of the
Kopke Fine Ruby Port (Inverarity One to One, £12.99).
From the oldest Port house in existence, this is a real treat with a nice, rich Stilton at the end of the night.
Kopke are, of course, better known for their excellent tawny ports (and their white port is a brilliant aperitif), but this wee ruby is a delight. Cheers!