How the other half drinks

by Matt Walls
Is there a quicker way to get to know someone than by flicking through their music collection or browsing their bookshelves? Both feel like a little glimpse into their soul....
93

1998 Fonseca, Guimaraens Vintage Port, Douro Valley

( £27.99, 20.5%, Waitrose )

Mid-way between a single quinta and not-quite-a-vintage Port, this is rich, sweet and easy to drink, but with more structure and concentration than is immediately apparent. Spicy, peppery and showing a little bit of fiery spirit, this has dark, creamy fruit flavours and a complex, chocolatey finish. 

Drinking window: 2016-20Similar Wines: £20-£30, 91-95, Portugal, Fortified
94

NV Taylor's, 20-Year-Old Tawny Port, Douro Valley

( £35, 20%, Amazon, Fortnum & Mason, Selfridges, The Wine Society, thedrinkshop.com )

Taylor’s isn’t as well known for its Tawnies as some houses are – its LBVs and Vintage Ports are up there with the very best – but it should be, based on the quality of this 20-year-old release. Figgy, sweet and complex, with beautifully integrated spirit and notes of umami and orange zest. One of those Ports that you don’t want to pass to your neighbour. 

Drinking window: 2016-30Similar Wines: £30-£50, 91-95, Portugal, Fortified
88

2011 Falua, Terius, Touriga Nacional, Tejo

( £8, 13.5%, Marks & Spencer )

The Tejo is not the first place you’d go in search of Touriga Nacional (a grape that’s more often associated with the Douro and Dão), but this is excellent value and packs a real punch at the price. Full bodied, firm and concentrated, it’s floral and perfumed with appealing balckberry fruit and good underlying structure, relying on fruit rather than oak for its appeal. 

Drinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, Red, Touriga Nacional

Don’t forget your corkscrew

by Matt Walls
There’s a point at which you can tell that a passing interest in wine has turned into something more involved. You don’t notice it at the time; it’s not a...
90

2013 Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde

( £7.25, 11%, The Wine Society )

The price of this eminently gluggable Vinho Verde has crept up in recent years (although it’s sometimes on a deal at Majestic), but it was almost too cheap before, given its quality. It’s light and refreshing, with appealing spritz, a whiff of the Atlantic and delicious peach, guava and citrus notes. Just as good as many more expensive Spanish Albariños produced on the other side of the border. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, White
90

2012 João Portugal Ramos, F'Oz, Alentejano

( £8.49, 14%, Waitrose )

João Portugal (yes, that’s his name) Ramos makes some of the best value reds in Iberia. This southerrn Portuguese blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Castelão is well up to his usual high standards, combining flavours of blackberry, bramble and orange zest in a wine that’s fruity, refreshing, yet substantial enough to serve with red meat. 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Portugal, Red, Castelão, Tempranillo, Trincadeira
92

2013 Filipa Pato FP Branco, Beiras

( £11.75, 12.5%, Oddbins )

Filipa Pato is one of the most dynamic winemakers in Portugal right now, crafting wines that are every bit as good as those of her father, Luis, albeit in a different, more modern style. This blend of Arinto and Bical, this is tangy, sappy and refreshing, showing the Atlantic influence that colours the wines of Portugal’s coastline and flavours of fresh herbs and citrus fruit. Just the thing to drink with a seafood platter, especially if you’re in Portugal. 

 

 

BuyDrinking window: 2014-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Portugal, White, Arinto, Bical

Madeira quake

by Matt Walls
I always find it strange how fortified wines – Sherry, Port and Madeira – are so often portrayed as drinks for vicars and old ladies. The reality is these are...

Spend less, drink better

by Matt Walls
The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than bookstores. When it comes to wine we’re no different; most of what...

Supergrapes vs. Evil Greegeo

by Matt Walls
Whenever I hear about a new graphic novel based around wine like The Drops of God or The Initiates, I get excited. They tend to be fairly grown-up affairs, but...