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Bang for buck Portugal: naturally speaking

Portuguese wine’s bang for buck is often referenced.  At both Select Indie Dinners in London and Manchester, leading independent retailers remarked on it.  And, in this highly competitive market of ours, UK importers are great at spotting it.  Take Les Caves de Pyrene, who promote wines with a respect for nature.  They recently held a Bang for Buck tasting to show off wines from around the world “which we believe punch well above their price point.”  Both Portuguese wines were crackers.  

Here are my notes:

Aphros Loureiro 2015 (Vinho Verde)

The bucolic view from the gate at Aphros

Aphros are one of Portugal’s leading Loureiro producers and they are certified biodynamic to boot.  When young, this entry level Loureiro is very clean and crisp, yet firm and intense, with delicate lime blossom lift and great line to its stony, mineral palate.  With age, you can rely on it to become more textural and complex à la Riesling or Hunter Semillon.  Check out my notes on the 2009 tasted in 2010 and again in 2013 to see how it develops in bottle.  So it’s a great each way bet – for now or ageing.  11.5% £12 at D&D Wine Shop

Vale da Capucha Gouveio Branco 2014 (Lisboa)

Jurassic limestone – fossils at Vale da Capucha

A visit with winemaker Pedro Marques confirmed to me that he is one of Portugal’s rising stars.  With jurassic limestone soils, whites are very much a strength so it’s great to see him pushing the boundaries with individual varieties to see what they can do.  And in the case of this Gouveio, it plainly has much to offer on this terroir.  An orange peel edge to the nose hints at richness on the palate, yet the organic estate’s zesty acidity – slightly mouth-puckering even – takes a hold on the attack and keeps firm hold going through.  Long, very well focused, with that sweet orange peel note deliciously woven into its fabric.  The finish is chalky (of course!) – delicately textural/mineral.  Very good.  In a word, energetic.  13%  Contact Les Caves for stockists/prices (or buy from them direct).

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