Wine Filter: Portugal

Monte Cascas Malvasia de Colares

Here is a massive insider tip. It’s going to be harder to buy Chablis for the next few years as the harvests have been tough. But switch to Colares Malvasia like this gorgeous wine and you’ll have plenty of intense, minerally, slightly iodine tang fun in the same style. Awesome with shellfish, gorgeous with hake.

Graham’s 30 Year-Old Tawny Port

This is a ‘summer’ drink. Chilled and served in the evening before or after supper. That’s what Port producers do in overlooking the Douro after a hard, hot day in the vineyards. It brings a freshness to the dried fruits, wood spice and lightly honeyed style of the wine. This is an average of 30 years-old blending some younger, fruitier wines with older, spicier and more venerable barrels.

Churchill’s Douro Red 2012

In the late 17th Century, ¾ of all wine sold in England was Portuguese – fortified Ports and unfortified wines like this. Well, perhaps not with the delicious, wild-berry fruit and clean spice. Churchill’s have been working hard to create a modern, rich, hearty style that’s perfect with game dishes, barbecues and roasted vegetables.

Sandeman Vau Vintage 2001

This is the Port that got a lot of us into Port. Vau Vintage was controversial when it was launched (in the 80’s) as it’s a ‘real’ Vintage Port but made in a fruitier, earlier drinking style. There’s the classic sweet opening, followed by raspberry and cherry and aromas of Dundee cake and spice. It’s also staggeringly good value. You can match it with puds too – one of the few wines to go with chocolate.

Taylors Port Vintage 1985

I stand by the assertion that you will find no better value ‘fine wine’ than vintage Port. Luscious, aromatic, complex and endlessly rewarding. It’s not ‘declared’ every year – only the good ones. And each is different. This is good to go now but will live on. 1985 was a fragrant year rather than a blockbuster with supple structure. Enjoy it on its own or with a world-class cheese board.

Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas Tinto 2013

Pronounced ‘Ramoosh Tint’ with just a hinted aspiration at the end, here another great Port house makes a glorious dry, unfortified red. This has the herbal quality to the dark cherry and damson fruit that evokes memories of the brush covered hill sides in the beautiful Douro Valley. Have this with grilled vegetables and cheese (like Halloumi) for a great night in.

Altano Douro 2013

We all need something hearty in our lives. And this fits the bill with bold, richly-fruity aromas and a spicy palate. But don’t expect some crass bruiser of a wine, this has the charm of the rustic Portuguese farmer, perfect with sausage casserole, a slow-cooked lamb shank or rich tomato sauce. One of the best value wines of the series.

Vida Nova Syrah/Aragonez Rosé 2014

Cliff Richard put Algarve winemaking on the map for most people. And he’s surprised people by not just making a juicy, bright, fruity rosé packed with red fruit but winning awards and plaudits at the same time. It’s a surprisingly versatile wine with everything from salads to salmon.