A couple years ago, I realized that there was a huge gap in wines available to Prairie consumers. For a country that has produced wines for 3000 years by some historical estimations, has been in the top 10 wine producers in the world and has over 100 varieties of grapes, I knew we had a problem being limited to a 2 or 3 bottles in the Portugal section. Ports are well supplied, but wines were almost non-existent.
When Nuno, the son of a small wine producer just north of Lisbon (Alentejo region), approached me with their Terras de Paul White and Terras de Paul Red, I was intrigued. Using their own 40 hectare vineyard for the grapes, their red (2006) was matured for 12 months in oak barrels, and their white was a delightfully full, new-to-me flavoured experience……make this one your summer white. And the prices were crazy low for the quality! No wonder wine columnist, James Romanow (yes, Saskatchewan’s very own Dr. Booze) labelled the Terras de Paul, the province’s best value wine.
In front of a 15th century cathedral, a monument to this Portuguese 13th century hero – celebrated for beating off the Spanish invaders, near the home town where Terras de Paul is bottled and packaged.
The search continued and continues. We found olive farmer and winery owner, José Duarte’s Quinta da Esperanca 2005 from the Alentejo region (double Gold medal winner in Germany and Montreal), and from the famous Port producing region of Douro, DFJ’s Vega 2007.
The world is bigger than Cabernet Sauvignon
Start trying to pronounce and get acquainted with some of Portugal’s star grapes, like the red Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, and whites like Antao Vaz and Verdelho. There’s a world of exciting flavour profiles in quality Portuguese wines. And the beat-up Euro means that you are getting amazing value – prices often dropping on these wines every month.