A taste of Old Blighty

I enjoyed a meal last weekend at a rather good restaurant in the UK and one of the wines served with our tasting menu was the white Gusbourne Guinevere shown here. It was served with a ceviche of the freshest mackerel and a fritter of smoked eel, and proved to be a stunning match for the dish.

It must be around 10 years ago that I was first introduced to high quality English wine, in the form of sparkling wine, which at the time was selling for a higher price than most mainstream Champagne.

Over my dinner I got chatting to the sommelier (not a Brit by the way) who lamented the fact that even the English are reluctant to pay good money for English wines. But the fact is that producers such as Gusbourne in Kent are producing premium wines to a very high standard (especially sparklers) and starting to be taken very seriously.

As far as I know, there is no English wine on the market here in Portugal so why, you may ask, is it the subject of my column this week? Well, as a Brit who has lived here in Portugal for nearly 40 years, I have something of an adopted patriotic fondness for Portuguese wine.

I take great pride in introducing my friends in the UK and elsewhere to the pleasures of lesser-known Portuguese wines such as a good Baga from Bairrada or one of the many good wines produced here in the Algarve these days. So maybe it’s time for us Brits, when back in Old Blighty, to remember to pack a bottle or two of good English wine in our luggage to bring back here to impress our Portuguese friends.

Having been greatly impressed myself with Gusbourne’s Guinever, a Chardonnay with a zesty citrus finish produced in very small quantities, I will be on the lookout for their Pinot Noir on my next visit, a wine which I am told can give many decent mid-range Burgundies a run for their money.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]