One day last week I was chatting with José Avillez, Portugal’s most famous Portuguese chef who won his first Michelin star last year at his Belcanto Restaurant in Lisbon. José was telling me about a white Douro wine I had never heard of that continually impresses visitors to his restaurant, not just for its quality but for its outstanding value for money.
I jotted the name down and the next day ventured to Apolonia Galé to find it and had almost given up when I looked at the bottom shelf of the Douro white section and saw a few bottles priced at €6.49 sitting next to Sogrape’s mass produced but very drinkable Planalto.
At this stage, I had done no research on the wine and tasted it at face value. I was impressed and soon discovered that this is, in fact, the work of one of Portugal’s greatest wine producers, the man behind Vale de Meão and Quinta do Vallado –Francisco Olazábel.
Made from three of the typical Douro white grapes – Códega de Larinho, Rabigato and Viosinho – grown at over 600 metres altitude, this is an unoaked wine with good body and a wonderfully fresh finish.
On the nose there are gentle floral and citric notes with a nice touch of minerality. Full and rounded in the mouth, there are layers of fresh herbal and tropical fruit flavours. I would go as far as saying that for under €10 there are few wines on the market as good.
Promotional price at Apolónia supermarket (valid from November 21 to November 27)
QUINTA DE PORRAIS – DOURO WHITE 2011: €5.49
(retail price €6.49)
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]