Tom over at Reserve Mackie Mayor needs no encouragement to talk about his very favourite Portuguese wines and the fantastic value and variety the country represents. Next time you're popping in for a drink, just ask him!
In June, he'll be hosting a series of tasting evenings at Mackie showcasing some of his top picks in our collection. Here's a little bit of the backstory as to where it all started...
I first visited Portugal in 2017, when I was invited to a wedding in Quinta dos Vales. It was a real treat - being put up in a 13-bed villa for a week on a vineyard and winery in the Algarve, just as I was only really starting my journey into the wine world. I'd recently enrolled into WSET 3 and I realised that I should be working in the industry if I wanted to learn more. While I was traveling, I was also arranging an interview for a job with Reserve.
Within the week I spent on this trip, I fell in love with the country. Not just the wines. Although it's ingrained in the culture there, I was still very green at this point. But it was everything else - the whole package. It is an incredibly beautiful place, the people all polite and welcoming, the food… you have never had seafood or pork - or sometimes both at the same time! - as good as what you will find in Portugal. I promise.
Now 5 years on, let me ask you a question:
What kind of wine drinker are you?
The wine world can sometimes feel stuffy and old fashioned, only concerned with the most age worthy wines of provenance. At the other end of the spectrum, we're seeing a new wave of wine drinkers who want 'modern', 'no nonsense' 'Natty' (natural) wines, which are cool and Instagram-able and come from producers that no one has ever heard of.
Do you like the traditional, well-honed whites of Burgundy? The complex, yet Rustic reds of Piedmont? Or are you a fan of those low intervention, “natural wines” that have become oh so popular over the last few years?
Or perhaps for you it's a little more simple - you'd like to just be able to open a bottle with friends or family that’s easy to drink but everyone asks you about it the day after.
You can find all of that in Portugal and more - age worthy wines reminiscent of those of the most famous regions of Europe right through to foot-trodden, as natural as you can get wines, aged in amphora. Portugal have been doing this forever - in fact, Douro DOC is the oldest demarcated wine region in the world.
You might not immediately recognise the grape names, regions or producers but it’s all there, and often at really good value for money.
If any of the above resonates with you and you would like to learn more about this amazing wine country and taste some of the wines it has to offer, please join me at Mackie Mayor for a tasting, where we will explore 6 wines from 6 different regions and producers that really shows off what this country has to offer.
Tom Green, Reserve Mackie Mayor