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Terrific Top Tip from Portugal

A very warm welcome to the latest Top Tips post which – as ever – pinpoints wines that I consider represent exceptional value for money.

In these (or any) inflationary times, finding reliable, well-made wine at modest prices becomes increasingly difficult for wine lovers with restricted budgets.

And the see-saw that comes with general inflation often means that where prices do not go up, quality frequently comes down.

So, as a helping hand through the increasingly challenging “wine aisle maze”, today’s post highlights a Portuguese red many MidWeekers will remember as providing stand-out quality for its price.

As one extra bit of assistance, hyperlinks and pictures are provided to ensure that you are buying the correct wine.

So, re-visit an old friend.

I have raved over this red from Portugal’s Lisboa region over several years so am delighted to be able to commend it once again since its consistent quality makes it a great value purchase – especially at less than £6.

Bright and bold with subtle hints of sweetness, Rabo de Gala Vinho Tinto (£5.95 at Iceland and The Food Warehouse) delivers medium bodied, yet intense, cherry blackcurrant and prune flavours complemented by good acidity, firm tannin and hints of clove and mace.

See you again on Thursday folks with the latest news on a range of supermarket promotions.

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Eddie Walker

Morning Brian. I think your most important point with the Rabo de Galo is the fact that the quality has been consistent over the last 4 years or so of Iceland stocking this wine, and indeed sticking with it as well, something that they and other high street outlets have not done with some other excellent below £6 bottles I can name, that have been dumped for whatever reason the retailers see fit. Certainly not by reason of any of those wines being of poor quality when last I tried. Fingers crossed that Iceland don’t do the same thing with the Rabo de Galo as they did with their even better Colossal Reserva, also from Lisbon/Setubal, but if they ever did a slightly more expensive offering from Sainsbury’s from the same location, in the shape of their Our Winemakers Lisboa provides an excellent comparison. As does the ubiquitous Porta 6, also from that mid coastal area of Portugal, since James Martin gave it a heads-up on Saturday Morning Kitchen all those years ago! I can’t get enough of Portuguese reds when they offer so much value as you describe. Cheers Brian …

Brian Elliott

Greetings Eddie – great, as ever, to get your input. I agree that long term deals are often the best way of securing consistent wines but, obviously, raised supplier prices and quality issues from vintage variation may be a factor in retailers’ decision making. Lisboa has been impressive for several years, as you say, but am I alone in thinking that the current vintage is half a point or so below previous ones?

Eddie Walker

On that particular point Brian you may well be right. I’d offer the same applies to the Porta 6. After trying earlier vintages I detected later it wasn’t quite so exciting as when first discovered. So maybe more recent bottlings of different wines, but from the same district are being similarly affected by growth conditions from one year to the next. The Lisboa I have on my shelf just now is the 2019.

Brian Elliott

Vintage variation is one of the pleasures of wine that make it all the more joyous when everything is aligned and a superstar emerges. Even at a notch below the optimal level, these Portuguese reds remain great value options.

David Cronin

Hi Brian/ Eddie
Haven’t tasted the Rabo for a while now so can’t comment on the current vintage, but I remember enjoying it when I did. Another Iceland wine worth considering is the ‘Marques Del Bravo’ a blend of Tempranillo & Bobal, from Utiel- Requena near Valencia again for a bargain £5.95, thought it was very good for the price.

Brian Elliott

Thanks Dave not tried that Bravo so will seek it out and see whether it can be featured on the site.

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