A trio of (ugly?) beauties
Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder and, personally, I find the label design of these wines from Quinta de Bella in the Dão region quite hideous.
They really are a bit bling-bling for my taste and, as a result, even being a die-hard fan of both Dão and Pinot Noir, I had not until now been tempted to pay the usual price of €20.95 for the red or rosé (both made from Pinot Noir) or the Sauvignon Blanc.
But all three wines last week were on special offer at Apolónia, down to €15.69, so I decided to pick up a bottle of each without even researching to find out anything about the winemaker.
It was only after opening the white and being very impressed that I looked at the small print to discover that these wines are made by Ideal Drinks. I doubt this means much to most of my readers, but it does to me as it means they come from the same people responsible for outstanding wines such as Quinta da Pedra (Alvarinho) and Royal Palmeira (Loureiro).
If you are familiar with these wines, you will know that they come in beautifully designed bottles with attractive labels. What you may not know is that Ideal Drinks is the winemaking project of a very wealthy Portuguese businessman by the name of Carlos Dias, who sold his Swiss watch brand for the Richemont group some years ago and started investing heavily in Portugal, at a time when the country was in dire need of money.
All of the wines that they produce are excellent and I am sure that the company is not short of funds to pay for decent graphic design.
Anyway, the Sauvignon Blanc is one of the best Portuguese wines made from this variety that I have tried, with well-balanced notes of fresh-cut grass and honey-melon on the nose.
The rosé is equally good, a wine that is subtle on the nose but full of flavour, easily as good as any Provence pink costing similar money.
The red Pinot Noir has the potential to be outstanding, but I am surprised here by the fact that this producer released the wine to the market so early. This is the 2021 vintage, and it is simply too young and “green” to be enjoyed unless decanted and given a good few hours to breath.