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Wine of the week

By Patrick Stuart

Sauvingnon Blanc

This column would usually be reserved strictly for Portuguese wines but this week we are bending the rules in homage to a Portuguese winemaker who went to the other side of the world to produce something that simply could never be done here.

Rita Marques Ferreira is well known in Portugal for her Contraste and Conceito whites and reds from the Douro. But this young oenologist has been travelling the world over recent years working as a consultant wine maker, most notably in New Zealand, where she decided to produce 25,000 bottles of her own label Sauvingnon Blanc and ship it all the way back to Portugal.

Conceito Sauvingnon Blanc is a typical good quality New Zealand white, from the south island where the cooler climate allows the Sauvignon Blanc grape to reach its full potential.

It is, of course, very different from the great Bordeaux whites made from the same grape and in the new-world style there is nothing shy about the expression of fruit; notes of gooseberry and green melon bound to the front balanced by solid acidity and a nice dry finish.

It is difficult to find in shops but is stocked at Baptista in Praia da Luz and the Almancil branch of Apolónia. Many of the Algarve’s best restaurants, however, carry it along with other wines from the same producer. Expect to pay between €25 and €30 for a bottle in restaurants, not cheap by any means, but it is comparable in quality to some of the big-name New Zealand Sauvignon Blancs like Cloudy Bay which costs a great deal more. The supermarket price is around €16.