Lancashire Times
Weekend Edition
Nathan Lane
Wine Correspondent
1:02 AM 4th November 2023

Portuguese Wines Plus Port & Tonic

Image by Frank Nürnberger from Pixabay
Image by Frank Nürnberger from Pixabay
There is a lot to be said for grabbing some autumnal sun. A weekend trip to Porto delivered temperatures in the mid-twenties (centigrade) and some fantastic wines. It’s a city that shouts its passion for wine from the rooftops, where port houses are integral to its history.

Purista Alf 2021.

Former architect, Ana Cardoso Pinto set out to make low-intervention wines. The Purista Alf 2021 Vinho Tinto is a strawberry, candy-coloured wine that almost looks like a rose in the bottle.

On the nose, it offers a burst of red fruit that is fresh with a touch of bramble funk. Swirl it around your mouth, and you get a hit of cherries and cranberries with a hint of menthol and spice. Unlike the heavy reds that you expect from the region, this wine is light, fruity, and very moreish.

A lot of love and care goes into the Purista Alf. It is made with Portugal's Alfrocheiro Preto grape, harvested at night, and destemmed without crushing. The grape is most frequently used in the Dao region. It may also be found in the surrounding vineyards of Bairrada and Douro, where it is occasionally referred to as Tinta Bastardinha.

The wine will pair well with vegetarian dishes, pasta and fish.

Available online from £24.

Casa Burmester Reserva 2021.

The Burmester Reserva delivers everything you want from a Douro red. It is full-bodied and robust while offering a complexity and sophistication that you’d expect from an expensive Rioja.

Decant this wine and let it breathe for a while. On the nose, you will be treated to a depth of fruit and spice that almost smells like a port. When tasting the wine, it opens up to reveal layers of oak and tobacco with blackcurrant and plum fruit.

With a short finish, it doesn’t have lots of oak and leaves a little liquorice on the tongue. This wine is wonderfully smooth and round. It will pair well with beef and game. It’s a true winter warmer that will bring some sunshine on a dark, wet British weekend.

Available online from around £20.

And finally…

It is impossible to walk around Porto without noticing the locals drinking white port and tonic, often quite early in the day!

It’s a refreshing alternative to gin and tonic with lower alcohol, which helps when you need to squeeze in a mid-afternoon port tasting. All the main port houses offer a white port option, with Cockburns, Taylors and Grahams all available in supermarkets from around £10.

To make a white port and tonic, simply pour 3 ounces of white port into a tumbler filled with ice and add tonic. You can garnish with a slice of orange and some rosemary. It’s summer in a glass.

Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane
Our wine enthusiast Nathan lives in Leeds and runs PR and marketing company Campfire PR