Choosing from a list?

If Paul Roger is Pol Roger then probably that. Or, I like Luis Pato as a wine maker but haven’t tried his fizz so maybe that as a money saver. However, I’m picking those as I don’t recognise much else!

Where are you Paul?
Pintas Character is a solid Douro field blend.

And also makes me think of Briggs in No Man’s Land, or pick your own favourite from the great man’s plays
The cheapest Vinho Verde, on the grounds that it is a wine that is at its best at its worst. Or possibly one of the local wines hoping for something drinkable, just for the sake of it. If they were also listing a Pol Day that would be another choice.
I hesitated to post this answer. Oh well.

My first answer is what I would do. See the low prices, recognise none of the wines, and do what I'd never do in England - simply choose the most expensive in each category. Or, if I feared I was just paying for new oak, go one or two down.

But then I recalled your admirable discipline and willingness to dispose of wine when the alternative was to drink too much, and your wonderful perspicacity. On this basis I think you should pick the top three in each (or even one) category and let us know the results!
Yeah, the alvarinho for me too (depending on what I'm eating, of course).
Have you tried restaurant Kampo? There are some fun wines at Beef & Wines (opposite Savoy Palace).
We'll have to check out Olivia, given that our younger daughter has that name and will be coming with us in April.
Another vote for Soalheiro Alvarinho, an old favourite of mine, and great with fresh seafood. TWS used to sell it, was a regular buy for us at ~£15. I realise this isn't on your list, but their Primeiras Vinhas cuvee is stunning if you ever come across it.

Meandro is decent for a red - made by Quinta do Vale Meao, and not too oaky. Ideal style for those rich Portuguese stews e.g. Tripas.

€75 would be very fair for Pol Roger, assuming that is what it is.
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It’s always good to come up against a list where you only know a few wines.
I chose a fish main course. I would have opted for the Soalheiro (boringly safe selection I know) … but I hadn’t seen the Brejoeira in years … a wine that used to be almost culty at one time. It was ok, just a big pedestrian … I think it is fuller and has less cut than one would hope and I note 13%. Maybe less would be more …
the Soalheiro might have well been better (and cheaper).

I find Portuguese table wines quite hard to get a handle on. I guess there’s quite a lot going on. And coverage in English is patchy. Sarah Ahmed is perhaps the most reliable source but one has to make an effort to fill in all the gaps. How much do you know about Talha wines, say? There’s now a book just on them in English by my friend Paul White … an old tradition revived and growing.

My general bias is that there is a fair amount of well priced stuff, but there is insane local inflation for some “top” wines, led by Barca Velha. If I’m being honest, I have never had a really, really great table wine from Portugal, Barca Velha included.


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I've drunk one splendid Barca Velha ('85? TN not to hand) & couple others were no more than OK.
I do find Portuguese table reds a struggle: Fonseca Garrafeira (various designations) were always interesting & VFM; Chryseia (& its PS) v. good but prices rose; current fave producer Quinta de Sant'Ana. Also on lookout to retry Conceito Bastardo.
When in Portugal I basically accept that I am clueless and go with the "house offering". Paul Day makes an interesting point about how Portuguese wines sseem difficult to get a handle on. I generally have enjoyed the wines and the modest end of the spectrum.... but have no idea what I am drinking. Its like being a newbie again.
Today’s choice … I only wanted a half bottle. Industrial but sort of ok.
Perfect weather and lovely view to sit outside. And fish was ok!







Serious wine starts tomorrow (carnival holiday today and wineries are closed) but in the meantime it’s ok being a tourist … Forget wine, Madeira’s most successful export:


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Gosh that fish looks good. Duas Quintas used to be what I drank some 20 years ago. It's a rich red good with food, a bit spice. Not sure it would be your kind of thing though. It was pretty cheap when I drank it (partly because a production editor where I worked as able to get it at wholesale price).
I find Portuguese table wines quite hard to get a handle on. I guess there’s quite a lot going on. And coverage in English is patchy. Sarah Ahmed is perhaps the most reliable source
I seem to remember that Our Glorious Leader was Portuguese Wine Journalist of the year not that many decades ago. As was Dr Goode.
I’ll try and answer several questions.

I haven’t been to Terroir, but I was looking at Macanita the other day in Blandy’s wine shop in Funchal. They are imported into the UK, but I’ll probably grab a bottle to go back if there is room in the suitcase. The more expensive Porto Santo wines are €60, and I don’t understand the range yet: some are likely to be very oxidative.

Local is often a good idea. Sometimes not. The table wines of Madeira were originally introduced to stop all table wine being imported. The goal was to supply about 10% of local requirements.
I doubt quite a few years later if that is the case as the wines are expensive. Historically, they weren’t very good, and on first consideration the climate doesn’t seem to favour table wine production although there are some interesting (and pricey) efforts from producers like Mancanita and Barbeito. I’m seeing Ricardo at Barbeito tomorrow so I will be interested in his take on the matter.