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Portugal’s Magnificent 7

Portugal’s Magnificent 7

As part of our Project Portugal season, we have highlighted a few of our favs with some tasty serving recommendations, to give you the full gastronomic, Portuguese experience! - Bom proveito!

Soalheiro Terramatter (Minho, Vinho Verde)
The Soalheiro vineyards were established in 1974, not far from Melgaço, in Alvaredo; Portugal's most northerly town which overlooks the Minho River. Since then, this very special terroir has allowed Soalheiro to forge its reputation as the very finest producer of the Alvarinho grape variety in Portugal.

This is a concentrated and complex wine made with organically grown Alvarinho. The grapes are harvested early and undergo partial malolactic fermentation in chestnut barrels.

The resulting wine has a pleasing vegetal character. An elegant and fresh wine with an intense mineral expression. It’s a beautiful wine for simple seafood or baked white fish dishes, simply grilled sardines …or delicious tinned ones! 

Monte de Peceguina Branco (Alentejo) 
Herdade da Malhadinha is a large estate surrounded by stunning hills and mountains, in the Beja province of Low Alentejo. Here the Soares family are making fabulous wines which have become firm favourites at Butlers. 

Their white blend (Antão Vaz 44%, Arinto 27%, Verdelho 21%, Roupeiro 8%) is a modern white made with fruit from young vines, fermented in stainless steel.  Fresh and aromatic, dominated by orchard and tropical fruits with a clean minerality.

A versatile food wine but works well as an aperitif or with some quality charcuterie.

Portugal has the same breed of black pigs that the Spanish use for their Jamon Iberico. At Malhadinha these Portuguese piggies can be found on their Estate, eating the acorns and grazing the pastures. You will also find their friends, the Alentejana cow, the Merino sheep, not to mention the pure blood Lusitano horses on their stud farm!

Raza Rose (Minho, Vinho Verde) 
Quinta da Raza is a family run wine estate, situated in Basto, a subregion of the Vinho Verde DOC. Here they benefit from an unusual micro climate, enjoying warmer conditions than is typical for their northerly situation in Portugal. 

This cheeky little rose is made from three indigenous red grape varieties: Vinhão, Padeiro and Espadeiro. There is intense fruity freshness and the naturally occurring, signature spritz of the Vinho Verde wines.

Brilliant barbeque wine! The ripe fruitiness of this wine would pair perfect with Piri piri chicken Pinch Seasonings of Hove will do all the hard work for you. They create freshly ground and perfectly balanced organic spice blends - This one certainly packs a punch! Visit their site for a simple Piri Piri marinade recipe.

Aliança Bairrada Baga 2015 
From one of Portugal's largest and most progressive producers with 600 hectares spread across estates in five regions from Douro in the north to Alentejo in the south.

There is great value in their mid range wines which celebrate regional identity.  Their Bairrada red is 100% Baga which spends 14 months in new French oak barrels.

Rich black fruit with aromas of star anise, clove and smoky oak. Ripe bramble fruit and plum flavours are backed by well-structured tannins and a touch of dark chocolate. Bairrada is Pork country. They particularly like the sucking kind, which I imagine will divide opinion. So here is the most delicious Portuguese rice recipe which can be served with roasted pork… or roasted vegetables!

Portuguese Baked Rice
1 cup of Basmati or long-grain portuguese rice
2 cups of water
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Bay leaf
1 Clove of garlic
1 tsp Salt

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in an ovenproof casserole dish. Add a clove of garlic split in half and fry until golden.
Add the rice and cook until it is opaque and smells nicely toasted.
Add the water and 1 tsp of salt, add a bay leaf and bring to a vigorous boil.
Add lid turn down to very low heat and cook for 10 mins.
Remove the lid and place in preheated 180c oven and bake for 10 mins.
Remove from oven, and place clean tea towel over the dish and leave to stand 5 mins before serving. 

Herdade Sao Miguel Tinto (Alentejo)
Herdade Sao Miguel is owned by the Relvas family who are striving to make eco-positive wines, striking a balance between investment and social and environmental sustainability. 

The blend of grape varieties for this wine changes slightly for each vintage, depending on what grows well. This one is a blend of Portuguese grapes Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional, topped up with the French varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah.
The portuguese pair give warming, spicy fruit, and opulence, the french influence provides freshness and structure. The wine is aged briefly in oak just to add toasty hints.

This would be lovely with a lunchtime steak sandwich. ‘Prego’ is a Portuguese sandwich made with grilled beef, brushed or studded with a garlicky marinade and served in a ‘papo seco’ bread roll. In Lisbon it has a reputation for being served as ‘dessert’ after a seafood meal.

Ramilo Tinto (Lisboa)
This is a modern, organic wine made from a blend of Aragonez, Touriga Nacional and Castelao. The grapes are foot trodden in traditional granite lagars, they are fermented in stainless steel and bottled unfiltered and unfined. They are bottle in an ultra cool light bottle with a stencilled label, this saves on paper and does not require a plastic capsule, we like this forward thinking approach.

The Touriga and Aragonez provide punchy, punchy full flavours and the addition of Castelao adds a super freshness. The resulting wine has pure berry fruit flavours, and a fine elegance, making it very drinkable. It feels a little like a quality Portuguese Beaujolais in style, if you can imagine such a thing!

This wine would be delicious with Portuguese Pork Rissoles - think croquettes, delicious crispy, deep fried breadcrumbed parcel with succulent, peppery pulled pork inside. 

Niepoort Vertente (Douro)
‘Vertente’ means ‘aspect’ or ‘hillside’, representing the steep sloping terraces of the Douro Valley. This wine is typically a right mix of indigenous grape varieties.
Vertente uses the young, 25 years old vineyards of Quinta de Nápoles, on the slopes of the river Tedo, where Touriga Franca and Tinta Amarela are predominant. Another parcel of older vines (60 years plus) include Tinta Roriz and other varietals make up the blend, contributing an elegance to this wine.
The wine has a profile of fruits of the forest with notes of graphite, spice, leather and beautifully integrated wood. The tension, structure and acidity in this wine suggests great aging potential but it is lovely right now!

The ‘BEE’ Label celebrates Niepoort's 175 year anniversary - A collaboration with London-based artist Louis Masai.

‘Francesinha’ is a sauce-covered Portuguese sandwich made with bread, Portuguese sausage, ham, and steak. It’s covered with melted cheese and topped with a fried egg! The whole thing is sopped in a beer and tomato sauce! Often served with chips! The Vertente offers bold fruity flavours for this hefty dish but also the much needed acidity and structure to help you finish it!

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