Portugal is an adventurous drinker’s dream, covering a huge range of styles. Along the edge of the Atlantic ocean you can find crisp, refreshing white wines and low tannin reds, perfect for drinking on a hot sunny day. Further inland, the hotter, drier climates are well suited to concentrated red wines. If you’ve a lover of natural wines, Portugal is home to traditional winemaking techniques, with Amfora aged wines being a popular option.
Then there are the varieties. Portugal mainly uses its indigenous varieties, meaning these wine styles aren’t produced anywhere else. Arinto, Fernao Pires and Antao Vaz produce white wines ranging from light and drinkable through to oaked and textural. Whereas Touriga Nacional, Castelão and Touriga Franca produce great everyday wines to age worthy reds.
Partly due to the use of indigenous varieties and partly due to the wines not being produced in the same volumes as neighbouring countries, Portugal represents amazing value for money. In both our shops, and the restaurants we wholesale to, Portuguese wines are often some of the most affordable options. A good Portuguese red as a house wine will please most drinkers of Rioja or Southern Italian reds.
The value scale is magnified when you get to the more special end. The Cabriz Special Edition may retail at £22, but it easily has the quality of a £35 wine from Italy or Spain. We’ve also had some fantastic Sparkling Wines from Portugal that offer the same value and style as a great Cremant from France.
The Pairing Ability
As anyone who has been on holiday there will agree, the food in Portugal is amazing. Unsurprisingly their wines have great scope for food and wine pairing. Red wines made from Touriga Nacional or Aragonez pair fantastically with red meat, especially when cooked over an open flame. Whilst White wines made from Avesso work great with oily white fish (Vinho Verde with Fish and Chips is a beautiful pairing). I find that in the same way Italian wines do, Portuguese wines embrace that simple and slightly rustic style of cooking. This makes them great for comfort food or family style cooking (like Sunday Roasts).