Think Portuguese wine and the mind instantly thinks of Port. Then there’s that sweetish rosé in the curiously shaped bottle. But confine yourself to the fortified wines of the Douro Valley and the odd rosé, and you leave many treasures undiscovered.
By Hansi Baumann – Manager of Majestic Wine Marylebone
Portugal’s varied landscape and climate, not to mention the myriad of indigenous and international grape varieties grown in the country, adds up to real diversity in the end product. This diversity is elevated by Portuguese vintners’ use of both traditional and modern methods, which maintains a link with the past while allowing a better reflection of the regional terroir.
Regions in focus
Spain’s Duero River cuts through granite mountains as it enters northern Portugal, forming the schist-bordered Douro Valley. Portugal’s fortified wine capital it may be, but light wines make up 55% of annual production.
The Dão region is surrounded on three sides by granite mountains, providing shelter from the Atlantic. Vines thrive in the predominantly sandy soils thanks to long, warm summers and abundant winter rainfall.
Aromas of citrus and ripe tropical fruits with hints of minerality, lead to an elegant, medium-bodied and vibrant finish.
Malvis Douro Tinto 2007
￡6.99 or ￡5.59 when you buy 2 bottles*
Red berry aromas with hints of spice, earth and oak, leading to a silky, ripe red-fruit palate with soft tannins and a lingering finish.
Aromas of autumnal plums, red cherries, wood-smoke and spices with a harmonious balance of ripe, rich red fruits, mineral acidity and tannins.
Quinta dos Carvalhais Colheita 2008, Dão
￡9.99 or ￡7.99 when you buy 2 bottles*
Intense red fruit, black cherry, clove, oak and mineral aromas. Soft tannins, very ripe red fruits and a long spicy finish provide a rounded mouthfeel.
Churchill Estates 2007/08, Douro
￡10.99 or ￡8.79 when you buy 2 bottles*
*All prices valid until 1st November 2010 unless otherwise stated.