Portuguese wines – some (The) Capital food and wine matching!

Presented a superb tasting at The Capital in Knightsbridge yesterday for Waitrose Food Illustrated readers.  Lots of positive comments about the wines, surprise about how good even modestly priced Portguese whites now are (take a bow Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2008 & Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita White 2007) and some capital, of course,  food matches, exquisitely cooked.  Here are my highlights:

An amuse-bouche of rabbit terrine with Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2008 – had a heart attack moment when I arrived and discovered that there’d been crossed wires about the amuse bouche  – should have been a classic shellfish match and the terrine was paired with picallili, guaranteed to strip the wine and rob it of its delightful freshness!  Fortunately the chef was happy to dispense with the picallili and, to everyone’s delight, the Vinho Verde went very well with the terrine – the body to support its richness and the freshness to work with its delicacy and cleanse the palate, nicely demonstrating how far Vinho Verde has come.  Even at £6.49, modern Vinho Verde is by no means thin and acidic and, for me, the Azevedo is benchmark stuff.  So watch out, this is one of Portugal’s most exciting regions and not just for the big hitting single varietal Alvarinhos and Loureiros!

A starter of tiger prawns with Tarbais beans and confit pork with Periquita White 2007this aromatic, spicy blend of Moscatel de Setubal and Arinto proved a great match with this rich, heady and unctuous dish, its residual sugar complimenting the sweetness of the pork and Atlantic freshness cleansing the palate.  Currently priced at £3.99, this wine is a steal!

Tournedos of rib-eye beef with potato cake, red wine jus with Quinta do Vallado Touriga Nacional 2006 - the beef was seared on the outside and pink on the inside and texturally, made a great match with the well-structure, persistent and complex Vallado, a terrific wine with wonderful minerality so a great foil for this dish.

Guanaja brownie with vanilla ice cream and almond froth with Bacalhoa Moscatel de Setubal 2002 & Blandy’s Alvada Madeira - you spoil us ambassador!  Both fortifieds worked brilliantly with the chocolate, the vanillin from Alvada’s shaved oak barrels particularly good with the ice cream and the Moscatel’s orange peel lifting the chocolate, though I must say for me the ultimate match with Moscatel de Setubal is pasteis de nata – Portuguese custard tart!

The wines are all available from Waitrose, though the current vintage of the Moscatel de Setubal is the 1998 which is limited stock and the Periquita is now a bind end, so best to check availability first.

All best

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective

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