Sir Cliff’s 75th birthday bubbles

If you are a Cliff Richard fan, chances are you will have heard about the launch of this wine last year and hot footed it down to the winery near Guia to grab a few bottles. I’m not a fan myself when it comes to the music but I am a fan of the winery and what Sir Cliff and his business partners have achieved to help put the Algarve on the map as a wine producing region.

In the early days, there were mixed reports about the quality of the wines being produced at Adega do Cantor (the winery of the singer) but anyone who has tried their wines over recent years, especially the excellent Viognier and Syrah varietals, will agree that they deserve all the praise they have received. A few years ago, they launched a very decent pink sparkler, a wine that was well received on the market, but it was not until last October that their first white bubbles was launched, specially for Cliff’s 75th birthday bash at the Royal Albert Hall.

The wine is not available in the shops and here in Portugal the only place it can be bought is directly from the visitor centre at the winery (located behind Algarve Shopping in Guia), priced at €16. This price may seem a little steep for a bottle of Portuguese bubbles but this is a high quality espumante produced with great care from the estate’s best lots of Arinto grapes.

There are fine and persistent bubbles whilst fermentation on the lees (without the use of oak) results in a creamy texture in the mouth and good expression of the mineral, white fruit and citric notes on the nose that are typical of the Arinto variety. A few years of further bottle-ageing may well produce some pleasant surprises.

By PATRICK STUART [email protected]