Wine of the Week: Two Portuguese Stars (at £11 a bottle)

From our Premier Crew Wine Consultant, James Wills:
Last week I hosted a fantastic sold-out Portuguese tasting for our Premier Crew at Blacks Members Club, where we were lucky enough to be joined by two of our wine makers from Portugal’s Douro and Beira regions for the evening (see photos here).

Both wine makers were an absolute pleasure to meet and interview – eloquent, passionate and good fun (see the video above for proof). More importantly, their wines showed beautifully on the night – so beautifully, in fact, that I couldn’t go past one from each grower as this week’s Wines of the Week.
What Tom Harrow, Honest Grapes Wine Director says about Portugal:
"We are all learning that there is much more to quality Portuguese wines than just Port, with an extensive variety of indigenous grapes and lesser known regions contributing to a rich vinous landscape. In terms of value for money “Portugal is the new Austria” (good dinner party gambit)."
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Lavradores de Feitoria Douro Branco 2013 What the Wine Maker Says...
"The Branco is mostly Rabigato with a mix of other Douro white grapes, and is slightly floral with a touch of lime, good weight but never less than fresh, especially on the crisp finish.  Lovely on it’s own but a versatile food wine too."

Rui Madeira at Vinhos de Altitude Beyra Tinto 2012 What the Wine Maker Says...
"This wine's soul results from an unique combination of Alfrocheiro, Tempranillo, Jaen and Touriga Nacional native grapes, grown in granitic and schist soil with high amounts of silex in the basin of the Douro river, at an average altitude of 700 meters."
What I Say... beyra_tintoThese wines are an excellent introduction into Portuguese wines generally, and their regions more specifically. The Beira Interior’s terroir –vineyards at 700 metres above sea level - is on show in the Tinto’s acidity, while the Branco’s blend of white grapes is in keeping with Portugal’s wine traditions and the Douro’s old mixed grape vineyards.
Plus, Tom’s right - at almost-bang-on 11 quid a bottle for either, these wines – made by passionate, artisan producers with obvious emphasis on quality over quantity - are both excellent value for money.
For food matches, look at Iberian cuisine (tapas in Spain or petiscos in Portugal). The Tinto will work with spicy options like chorizo and piquillo peppers, whilst the Branco’s crispness will work with anything prepared with a generous dash of olive oil (boquerones, artichoke hearts, even just bread and oil).