Thanks in large part to the tireless work of wine importer and distributor Bill Godley of Prime Wines in Almancil, the selection of foreign and especially New World wines available to us here in the Algarve has grown apace over recent years.
Bill has always championed the wines of his native South Africa, but after tying up with UK-based wine distributor Bibendum last year, his portfolio has expanded to include not only more New World wines from the likes of Chile, Argentina and New Zealand but also some serious wines from the likes of France and Italy.
Many of the wines imported by Bill can be found in Apolónia, with the best selection in Almancil, but also a decent choice at the Galé store. And in the Almancil area, most of the better restaurants stock at least a few of his labels to complement their Portuguese offerings.
There are of course still those who disagree with the promotion of foreign wines here in Portugal, arguing that we should support national producers, hence avoiding the carbon footprint of wine flown in from the other side of the world.
But I have always considered this to be somewhat narrow-minded. Yes, Portugal has great wine but so do many other countries around the world. Portugal imports a mere dribble of wine compared to the amount it exports, so as far as I see it, the more foreign wines on the market, the better!
Just recently I have sampled a few of the new wines Bill is supplying to Apolónia and was impressed both by the quality and value for money. Here are some whites to look out for:
Two new Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc labels to complement the ever-popular Simonsig are The Game Reserve from Graham Beck and Stellenrust both priced at €9.95. A little more pricy than the Simonsig at €7.99 and generally quite similar in style, the Stellenrust stands out as being the more elegant of the three but the Simonsig is still the best value for money.
From one of the top producers in Chile, the mainstream Sav Blanc from Valdivieso is an exuberant wine with loads of upfront citric and green fruit notes on the nose. Good value at €7.99.
Awarded with a gold medal in London last year Spee-Wah Crooked Mick Viognier priced at €9.95 comes from one of Australia’s oldest Viognier vineyards. Peachy notes on the nose and citrus fruit flavours with a long finish.
Blanc de Blanc Bubbles
I’ve long been a fan of the sparkling wines from South Africa’s Graham Beck winery and this Blanc de Blanc is another fine example. With subtle toast and nutty notes on the nose and a creamy texture, this is a lot of bubbles for the money at €17.95.
By PATRICK STUART [email protected]