Once upon a time the wines of Vouvray were “ever present” on the wine shelves – and sold well.
Likewise, at the same time, sturdy but standard Portuguese red wines often involved something from the numerous co-operatives of Bairrada or Dão.
Gradually, however, other regions and countries usurped their once prominent positions, relegating both areas to the wine producing equivalent of “bin ends”.
More recently, though, with modern minded growers and winemaking (coupled, for Vouvray, with climate change), things have altered appreciably.
Both parts of the world now produce fresher, more subtle and more attractively balanced wines.
Here are two examples that reinforce the point forcefully.
Fortunately, however, prices in both regions are still modest and that, of course, adds to their current desirability.
Try them out to see the results for yourselves.
Once again, pictures and hyperlinks are included where possible to make it easier to track down the wine in question.
First then the Dao
2021 The Best Dao Red (See below for pricing details at Morrisons, but 13% abv):
Once merely home to simple, dull wines, Portugal’s Dao region now produces cultured and tasty reds like this.
Using the lively mencia grape (called jaen in Portugal), this example is centred around smoky prune and bramble flavours.
Good acidity, firm tannin and violet aromas embellish those flavours nicely, as do the wine’s touches of clove, cocoa and contrasting minerality.
NB: While this wine has a list price of £9, it is discounted by around £2 in different parts of the UK, and for different time periods – so carefully check the situation in your local store.
Then motor north east to the mid-Loire
Despite losing its popular “drink anytime” status many years ago, Vouvray (made from chenin blanc grapes in France’s Loire Valley) can still delight.
Off-dry with attractive red apple aromas, this example delivers smooth peach, pear and honey flavours.
Those elements are accompanied here by lively, sherbet influenced, lime acidity and a creamy depth.
Join me again on Thursday when I start the first of my four-part reviews of wines for Christmas with a look at sweet wines and their fortified counterparts. See you then.
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