Last weekend I visited my local and recently expanded branch of Garrafeira Soares in Carvoeiro. As a distributor to the trade and a retailer to the public, they can always be relied upon for value for money.
My local shop, until recently, stocked only a very limited range of wines, but having now more than doubled their shop-floor space in Carvoeiro, they now offer a reasonable selection, as they do at their larger stores elsewhere in the Algarve.
In fact, the Garrafeira Soares shops along the Algarve are a pleasant surprise for anyone who knows what wines cost in most supermarkets, especially when considering that their outlets are always located in the thick of the tourism muddle.
A friend, who I know appreciates a decent tipple, recently told me how they had enjoyed a bottle of this Beyra white at a restaurant in Lisbon and when I saw the price of just €3.95 at Soares, I decided to give it a go.
I will not go into detail here due to lack of space but what I discovered was a clean, fruity and crisp white in the Douro style, produced just south of the Douro in the Beira Interior, that hit a lot higher than its price tag.
Impressed, I went back and bought a bottle of each of the rest of the range stocked at Soares. The rosé, a tad more expensive at €4.75, was extremely enjoyable. OK, it did not boast the trendy salmon pink hue of the Provence-style rosés that are flying off the shelves everywhere else at around three times the price, but it was dry, perfumed with hints of red fruits and silky smooth – a wonderful quaffer that went very well with some fried garlic/piri-piri prawns on Saturday evening.
As for the reds, it was the non-reserva, run-of-the-mill version, priced the same as the white at €3.95, that impressed me – a truly easy drinking, medium-bodied and unoaked red that would be a great wine to chill and serve with BBQ meats on the terrace once the weather warms up.
As for the Reserva red, this is a more concentrated wine, still very reasonably priced at €5.95 but a little over-oaked for my own taste, given the body and structure. But for anyone who likes an oaky/silky red, it would be hard to beat for the money.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]