Text Ilkka Sirén
It’s no secret that most Portuguese wine regions are still unknown for most people. They are even quite unknown for people working in the wine industry. Portugal has gained some fame in the past few years as a wine country of good quality wines that doesn’t kill your wallet. This being said Portugal has every opportunity to produce wines of such stature that they probably will kill your wallet. That much we know. Still, as a hopeless romantic I’m just a tiny bit scared that mysterious wine country I once fell in love with is becoming more and more mainstream. Such is the burden of a genuine wine hipster, I guess.
But I needn’t worry. Portugal with its kazillion native grape varieties will keep the busy soccer mom away from the ever so confusing variety names like Touriga Nacional and Tinta Pinheira, just to name a few. Many of my friends who have travelled to Portugal went in completely unaware of Portuguese wines but they left as huge fans. As did I.
I personally like to use wine when I’m cooking. Not in the food necessarily but as a source of inspiration. As I started slicing the spicy chorizo for my pasta I suddenly, but not surprisingly, got thirsty. One of Portugal’s strengths is definitely the good value for money wines which can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. Easy-going, quaffable and affordable wines of different styles flow in and out of glasses with considerable ease.
While preparing the spicy shrimp and chorizo “Surf n Turf” pasta my mind wandered towards Bairrada. A cheeky little blend from Bagaland is just what the doctor ordered. I got my hands on Torre de Coimbra 2012. A blend of Baga, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Pinheira made by LusoVini. An export wine for sure because in all my travel in Portugal I’ve never seen a wine with a screw cap. I’m sure there is some it’s just not very common a country where the cork trees almost sacred. We in the cold north wouldn’t recognize a cork tree from a palm tree so screw caps are a very popular choice of closure.
The wine itself was, hmm, what is the scientific term for it…”just OK”. Well, considering that it’s less than 10 euros from the monopoly shop over here it wasn’t too bad. A very straightforward, fruity wine with a touch of oak. It might come as a surprise but finding a decent bottle of wine under 10 euros in Finland is easier said than done. We get plenty of polished techno-wines that are everything but interesting. This bugger from Bairrada actually resembles a proper wine hence it is a proper wine. I’m not going to lose sleep over it but I could see myself drinking more of this. If not else just as a source of cooking inspiration.
Lusovini Distribuição, SA
Avenida da Liberdade nº 15, Areal
3520-061 Nelas, Portugal
Tel: +351 232 942 153
Fax: +351 232 945 243