Summer reds from Quinta de Cidrô

With the extreme temperatures we have been experiencing here in the Algarve over the last couple of weeks, well chilled dry rosés and crisp fresh whites tend to be the call of the day. But even on the hottest summer afternoon, a nice medium-rare BBQ steak needs a red wine. This can be a difficult call in Portugal as much of the wine produced here is fairly heavy and at least full bodied, so not well suited to chilling.

What I look for when selecting a red to chill down is something fruit driven, with soft tannins and little or no detectable oak.

I was already familiar with this Quinta de Cidrô Pinot Noir but not with the Rufete, the first varietal I have ever seen made from this almost unheard-of Douro grape. I knew this Pinot would work well, mostly because it is not the style of Pinot Noir I usually prefer.

Good Pinot Noir should, of course, never be chilled as the subtle aromas and silky texture would be lost, but this one, with lush fruit on the nose in the Californian style, is absolutely perfect for the ice bucket (€12.99 at Apolónia).

The Rufete is something altogether different. On the nose it reminded me of a good Beaujolais with bundles of fresh red fruit, the structure in the mouth firmer than the Pinot with a long fresh finish. Priced at €10.95 at Apolónia I would say it is the better value-for-money of the two wines but both are well-suited for chilling and great matches with BBQ meat.

By Patrick Stuart [email protected]