My July Wines of the Month are two Portuguese wines to which I was introduced at Julia Harding MW’s 50 Great Portuguese Wines. Both have really stayed with me and, great news, the red is perfect summer-drinking and a bit of a bargain – thank you Julia!
Dominó Monte das Pratas Branco 2010 (Vinho Regional Alentejano)
This is an exceptionally interesting and atypical white wine from Alentejo - a field blend of Alicante Branco (Palomino Fino), Fernão Pires, three types of Muscatel, three types of Arinto, Rabo de Ovelha, Pérola. It makes sense that it hails from the elevated, cool northern outpost of Portalegre, whose varieties have more in common with its northerly neighbours than the rest of Alentejo. Seemingly channelling the Palamino, Fino style, it’s bone dry, savoury and textured, with struck match toasty minerality/reduction to its terse green apple and steely grapefruit layered and persistent palate. Harding says it looked good after a week open in the fridge and I can believe it of this tensile, inwardly focused wine. It’s made by Vitor Claro, a Portuguese chef/winemaker. 12%
Valle Pradinhos Porta Velha 2009 (Trás-os-Montes DOC)
Bright ruby, with lovely freshness and florality on nose and palate, at £7.95 (The Wine Society), this blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Touriga Nacional is my kind of summer red. If you like Cru Beaujolais, give this red fruited, silkily tannined vin de soif a go. Love the lick and lift of white pepper too.