For such a small country, Portugal has an incredibly rich vinous landscape. Its two hundred and fifty native grape varieties are vinified most often as blends - with each other and the occasional 'international' variety such as Syrah or Viognier. And with infinite opportunities for experimentation by winemakers; to the consumer, Portugal is all about discovery. From the big, beefy reds of the Douro, to the critically acclaimed wines of Alentejo. From the summery spritz of Vinho Verde, to the complex Branco wines of Bairrada. Portugal is about more than just fortified wines, and we think that's something to get really excited about.
Terra d'Alter Alfrocheiro, Alentejo
Produced by Aussie winemaker Peter Bright, the wines of Terra d'Alter exemplify the quality and variety that Portugal's Alentejo region is capable of. Bright is firmly committed to bringing a new world sensibility to this old world region, and produces fruit-forward, approachable wines. This bottle is produced from Alfrocheiro - known as 'the Pinot of Portugal'. Light in colour and filled with cherries and other red fruits, this wine shows a gentle spice and great balance.
Quinta dos Roques Tinto, Dao
Quinta dos Roques are a small, family-run estate. But what they lack in size, they more than make up for in ambition. They are known as one of Portugal's most dynamic producers, and have been pivotal in bringing the region of Dão to the world's attention. This wine is made from 50% Touriga Nacional alongside Jaen and Alfrocheiro, and spends six months in new French oak. It has a stunning ripe, herby nose with some exotic caramel and menthol notes from the new oak. The palate is rich and tannic with spicy oak and a dry finish.
Quinta do Soalheiro Alvarinho
Quinta do Soalheiro were the first to produce Alvarinho in Portugal's Melgaço, the northernmost point of the country. They planted their first vines in 1974, and since then have gained an international reputation for the quality of their wine. Soalheiro credit the local microclimate for their success, citing a long diurnal range as well as ideal levels of rainfall and temperature. This wine has a wonderfully generous aromatic style, with notes of red apple and stone fruit. It shows fantastic concentration, and a well balanced, long finish.
Ai Galera Mistico, Tejo
The previously undervalued Tejo region, lying to the south of Lisbon, is capable of producing wines of enormous value and character - something that is captured by Ai Galera. Inspired by the long, and sometimes extremely colourful history of the region - most notably the life of literati Marchioness Leonor of Távora, Ai Galera's arresting imagery and even more arresting wine quality demands your attention. Incredible value, intriguing indigenous varieties and supreme drinkability all add up to wines that thrill. This wine comes from vineyards around Lezíria & Charneca. Golden yellow in colour, with plenty of ripe fruits on the aromas. This is a fresh and gentle wine with a pleasant finish.
Churchill's Dry White Port
Despite its thoroughly traditional-sounding name Churchill is the newest of the British-owned Port companies, founded in 1981 by Johnny Graham. As the name Graham would suggest, Johnny's family has a background in the Port trade: his family owned Graham, one of the most well-known of the Port houses which was sold to the Symingtons in 1970. Situated at 1,200 feet above sea level, the vineyards in the Pinhão valley are perfectly suited for the Malvasia Fina grape, providing it with all the necessary acidity and balance. This is a White Port that makes a statement. Full flavoured with a dry nutty finish, its naturally rich, golden colour is the result of 10 years ageing in wood. The extent of extra ageing gives the white port a balance and smoothness which puts it firmly in a class of its own.