What we have here is a superior offering from a major brand – a bit like those airlines that offer a class between business and economy with wide seats, more legroom and a few additional frills. This wine may not be a truly premium product, but as is always the case from Fiuza, it represents outstanding value for money. I’ve praised Fiuza a few times in this column for their standard range of varietal wines, which really are hard to beat around the €5 to €6 price range, but it was not until I saw this Premium label red and white being offered for tasting at Apolónia a couple of weeks ago that I realised they have something more sophisticated.
Fiuza is one of the larger wine producers in Portugal with an annual production well over two million bottles, but whilst their mainstream varietals are produced in quantities of 70,000 to 100,000 bottles and their budget wines as much as 400,000, they produce just 8,000 bottles each of the Premium in red and white.
Of the two, it is the red that impressed most, made from 100% Alicante Bouchet (one of the few red grapes that is actually red on the inside). It is a deep purple red colour and jammy on the nose with intense berry and plumb aromas, full, rounded and lusciously fruity in the mouth with well integrated tannins from eight months ageing in new French and American oak.
This is a classy new world style red that hits far above its €7.99 price tag at Apolónia, excellent with roast or BBQ lamb and equally well suited to a juicy steak.
As for the white, also priced at €7.99, this is a Sauvignon Blanc fermented and aged in a mix of new and used oak, pale straw yellow in colour with tropical fruit notes on the nose and a slightly buttery texture in the mouth.
The oak is well integrated and hardly noticeable but, overall, I found this wine to be a little flat and uninspiring. In fact, I would rather be drinking Fiuza’s mainstream Sav Blanc priced at €5.59.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]