We recently found a new white wine of choice that I only picked up due to its price and rather attractive label.
People who don’t live in Portugal may find it hard to believe that I purchased a 2.50€ wine as a Friday night treat, but this is in fact quite true. We have regular mid-week
wine choices that can be had for between 1.29€ and 1.60€! If you visit us and get given a bottle in the 4€ range then you are truly a distinguished guest!
Anyway, this tasty white is from the Douro region, and goes by the name of Porca da Murça. It has the trademark tropical / gooseberry taste of a really good Malborough sauvignon blanc – something I miss greatly from the UK. Finding this is a great result for me, as it’s better than most of the supermarket sauvignon blancs available back in England, that, needless to say, come at a far higher price.
For those that know their Portuguese wine, I would describe this as rather like white Fonte de Nico (one of our regular budget wines), but one that is a little more grown-up, oaky, and sophisticated. It tastes far more expensive than it is, and that’s always good! Highly recommended, and spotted in Continente as well as a couple of small local stores.
Now, this was a surprise. We were already familiar with the Fonte de Nico brand because of their low calorie, low alcohol rose, which helped us nicely through Weightwatchers.
When we picked up this €1.50 bargain in Pingo Doce we expected something drinkable, but it was really purchased more for reasons of pre-Christmas economy than to tickle the tastebuds.
Imagine then, the delight, when we popped the cork and found something really rather close to good New Zealand sauvignon blanc – something I really miss, as although NZ sauvignon blanc is found all over in the UK, is hard to track down in Portugal, and prohibitively expensive when you do.
The wine is a wonderfully light colour and gives off the trademark gooseberry aroma. It tastes fruity and is off dry whilst remaining fresh. It’s perfect for fish but also went down surprisingly well with pork and apple sauce.
In the interests of not being too rose tinted about this cheap wine, I had another bottle a couple of days later (as you do!) I did discover on the revisit that it really needs to be served ICY cold – a room temperature glass was a bit cloying.
Although I was perhaps not quite so blown away the second time, this is still a seriously interesting discovery at the price. It’s certainly joined our list of favourites, and at €1.50 a pop we will be seeing a lot more of it!
A rather exciting parcel arrived this morning. Dogoyaro, a loyal reader of Food and Wine Portugal recently recommended Garrafeira Nacional, a large Lisbon wine and spirits store which has a web ordering facility.
Armed with a number of suggestions given to us by the kind people on the Expats Portugal forum, we placed an order for some Christmas drinks, including a number of these wine recommendations. Reviews and write ups will follow as we try these seasonal treats!
From left to right, here is a run-down of what we have in our Christmas drinks box:
Offley Rose Port – It’s taken us a while to try this new-fangled pink port idea. We plan to mix it up Pimms-style with soda water and fresh raspberries.
Moscatel de Bacalhoa 2004 – Portuguese moscatel is a wonderful honey-sweet addition to rich Christmas desserts, and it’s ludicrously cheap too. This boxed bad-boy cost €4!
Tio Pepe Fino Sherry – This classic accompaniment from just over the border will accompany any Spanish tapas that find their way into any Christmas celebrations.
Havana Club Rum – After overdoing this during a night out in Seville earlier this year I had vowed I wouldn’t touch it again, but six months on the memory of the Havana-hangover seems to have dissipated. Now I’m just thinking along the lines of lemongrass mojitos.
Raposeira Bruto Super Reserva – A very popular sparkling wine which, in all honesty, I can’t distinguish from “proper” French champagne….which is a good thing when you consider the state of the economy and the fact that this stuff costs €7 and Veuve Clicquot costs €57. This is what our guests will be enjoying on Christmas Eve.
Luis Pato Touriga Rose – A random choice of pink fizz. On Christmas morning it has to be pink.
Marques de Borba 2009 – This very popular Portuguese red is one of those wines that always seems to make someone at the table say, “ooh, this is lovely wine.”
Quinta de Lagoalva 2009 – A rose randomly selected by my wife on the basis of colour and label design…and why not?
Quinta de Bageiras 2007, Tinto Anfora 2007 and Grao Vasco Red and White – All Christmas wine recommendations from forum members, which we can’t wait to try.
Now all we have to do is remember that we are not supposed to touch our Christmas wine until at least 1st December….but I’m not making any hasty promises.
If anyone else has any Portuguese wine suggestions for the festive season, please leave a comment.