Great value from Beira Interior

There was a tasting going at Apolónia Supermarket in Lagoa a couple of weeks ago of some of the wines made by Rui Roboredo Madeira, specifically the Beyra label.  
Rui Madeira is one of the most respected winemakers of the upper extremes of Portugal’s Douro, where he producers the Castelo D’Alba wines, and is also winemaker at CARM, part of the family business.

A little further south, in the region known as Beira Interior, his Beyra winery has made a name for itself over recent years, mostly for its great-value-for-money, entry-level wines costing around €4 in shops and often seen as house wines in restaurants carrying the simple Beyra label in red, white and rosé.

I had not, however, tried any of their higher quality wines until now and was curious to see that they have launched varietals from Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, both priced at €11.95 in Apolónia and the Reserva Quartz white shown here, priced at €7.99.

The Sauvignon Blanc, I am sorry to say, was a disappointment; quite flat on the nose and lacking in any real flavour or substance to justify the price tag.

The Chardonnay, however, is a very classy wine, reminiscent of a nice Chablis, being un-oaked with fresh white fruit notes on the nose, a slightly creamy texture and tropical fruit flavours in the mouth. I would say it compares favourably with other Chardonnays in this price range.

The star, however, is the less expensive Reserva Quartz, made from 60% Fonte Cal (a local variety exclusive to Beira Interior) and 40% Síria, the variety known as Roupeiro down south. This is a wine of considerable complexity, from fermenting and ageing on the lees, having only just been released after six months of further bottle-ageing.

The wine is a pale straw colour with citric fruit and slightly smokey notes on the nose, full and flavoursome in the mouth with great acidity and a nice clean finish. This is a better wine even than the Chardonnay, in my opinion, and costing €4 less per bottle represents outstanding value for money.

By Patrick Stuart
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