By Patrick Stuart [email protected]
Just recently winemaker David Baverstock wrote a very interesting article that appeared in this newspaper about wines made from foreign grape varieties here in Portugal. He pointed out that these wines are rarely exported, as importers naturally prefer to champion Portugal’s indigenous varieties. But many of them are readily available at wine shops and supermarkets here in Portugal and some are worth exploring.
Over the next few weeks, I will be concentrating on these wines made from foreign grapes on Portuguese soil starting with Sauvignon Blanc this week, and three of the wines mentioned by David in his article.
Our two Douro’s – Quinta de Cidrô from Real Companhia Velha and Três Bagos from Lavradores de Feitoria – are similarly priced at around €8 in Apolónia Supermarket whilst Fiuza Sauvignon Blanc from the Tejo region to the north of Lisbon is considerably cheaper at around €5.
What struck me comparing the three wines alongside each other (tasted blind) was that none of them really expressed the essence of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.
The best of the three, in my opinion, is the Três Bagos which although fairly nondescript on the nose follows through with great freshness in the mouth, solid acidity and a long finish. It would seem to be the better made of the three wines and was the only one that really reminded me of Sauvignon Blanc.
The cheaper Fiuza came in second place with good upfront citric fruit notes on the nose let down by loose acidity, but all the same a very quaffable wine and good value for money.
The Quinta de Cidrô is the most exuberant of the three with bounds of fruit, good acidity and a full rounded flavour in the mouth, but this wine has been oaked, something that is really not called for in my opinion when it comes to mainstream Sauvignon Blanc. I found the oak a little overpowering but if you like a touch of wood in your wine this may appeal.
So summing up, I have yet to try a Sauvignon Blanc made here in Portugal that can express the variety the same way as similarly priced wines from France and New Zealand, and the best buy is probably the Fiuza.
Apolónia special prices for Algarve Resident readers (prices valid for week January 31 to February 7)
■ Fiuza Sauvignon Blanc 2012
– PVP 3.99€
■ Quinta de Cidrô Sauvignon Blanc 2011 – PVP 6.99€ (Quinta de Cidrô Sauvignon Blanc 2010 out of stock)
■ Três Bagos Sauvignon Blanc 2011
– PVP 8.99€