Browsing through the shelves at my new local Apolónia supermarket last week, on the lookout for something new, this bottle of Portuguese bubbly from a producer I had never even heard of caught my eye. It may have been the price, as at €27.97 this is getting close to entry level Champagne prices.
I would have been reluctant to part with this much money had it not been for Apolónia’s wine man himself, Arlindo Ribeiro, noticing my interest and telling me it was one of the best Portuguese sparkling wines he knows of – and having tasted it, I have to agree.
A particular pink Champagne came to mind on the nose and palate and that was Laurent Perrier Rosé Brut. Even though the colour is a much paler shade of pink, there are ripe strawberries and raspberries on the nose, with a fine bubble and creaminess to it in the mouth and that touch of residual sugar on the finish that make LP Rosé Brut such a favourite with the ladies.
But there is nothing at all French about this espumante made from two of the most proudly Portuguese of red grapes, Baga and Touriga Nacional in the Bairrada region. Available at Apolónia Lagoa and Almancil.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]