FOR a country steeped in winemaking history with more than 300 grape varieties and a cornucopia of vineyards it’s surprising how little Portuguese wine we drink.
Famed for its beautiful beaches in the Algarve, pristine golf courses and Moorish architecture, Portugal’s port is the picture postcard that comes to mind when our holiday memories recall lazy, hazy days and a liquid souvenir.
This dark and powerful fortified wine from Porto is also the most recognisable and straightforward name to pronounce, with easy-drinking vinho verde a close second.
Modern winemakers, keen to fuel our thirst for their unpronounceable varieties and styles of wine from a region not known for its chardonnay and cabernet, have started blending these classic grapes with their own – a quality result which could increase their popularity further than the sunny coastline.
To re-capture those holiday moments, try Tagus Creek Chardonnay Fernao Pires, 2009 (£5.99, Tesco), which pens its name from the Tagus River in the south. Fresh and fruity with a melony richness, it’s a perfect casual drinker and an ideal partner with summer salads.
From the spectacular Douro Valley and home to Portugal’s most famous export, try Taylor’s Quinta de Vargellas Vintage Port 2001 (£24.99, Majestic). Decant this purple-black nectar and inhale the opulent and exuberant nose before sipping a mouthful of fleshy black fruit ... then savour the lingering blackberry flavours.