Pacheca – great value from a great name

Anyone who knows Portuguese wine will be familiar with the name Quinta da Pacheca. This family-owned winery in the Douro Valley has been producing wine under the label for over 100 years and it is something of a household name in Portugal.

Last weekend at Apolónia there was a tasting taking place of this entry level white and red, along with a couple of the mid-range labels.

Having been familiar with these wines for many years, I would not have usually considered them for this column as I am normally on the lookout for something new or, in some way, unusual to share with our readers.

But this means that I am guilty of often missing the excellent work being done by many of Portugal’s long-established producers.

It was the white that really stopped me in my tracks. Priced at €5.99, it is a blend of typical white Douro grapes including a touch of Muscat (Moscatel Galego Branco) lending a subtle floral note to the nose, married with grassy and fruity aromas from the other varieties.

In the mouth, it is dry and fruity with a good clean finish. If I owned a restaurant, I would definitely consider this for my house white.

And the red, also priced at €5.99, could well be my house red. This is a very well-made and extremely versatile wine, produced from a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa and Tinta Barroca, trodden by foot, fermented in traditional stone tanks and aged for three months in French oak barrels.

This is a lot of winemaking for an entry level label and it shows. There are rich black fruit notes on the nose with a touch of spice and in the mouth it is medium-to-full bodied with soft, well-rounded tannins. This easy-drinking profile, without the obvious presence of oak, makes for an excellent summer red, ideal for chilling down to enjoy with grilled meats out on the terrace.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]