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The Rise and Rise of Portuguese Wine

Portuguese wine - robust reds

There is no doubt that Portuguese wine is establishing a growing international reputation. At the 2013 Challenge International du Vin in France, Portuguese wines swept the board, taking home a total of 145 medals: 50 golds, 32 silvers and 63 bronzes. Entrants were from 38 different countries, yet Portugal alone walked away with over 11% of the total medals awarded.

Those who live here have long known how much Portuguese wine has to offer. The huge variety of decent brands and the low prices make wine here an essential item, rather than a luxury. In additions to reds, whites and rosés, green wine (vinho verde) and rosé green wine (vinho verde rosé) provide fresh, slightly sparkling alternatives to accompany light meals and seafood dishes or just to enjoy while sitting in the sun.

Although port enjoys a well-known reputation around the world, non-fortified Portuguese wine used to be quite hard to track down for those outside of the country. While living in England some four years ago, we were limited to only one option when trying to buy Portuguese wine in the supermarket, or perhaps three or four alternatives if we went to our local Laithwaite’s shop.

These days, Laithwaite’s stocks an impressive 32 varieties of Portuguese wine (excluding port) and Waitrose’s offering has reached double figures. The enthusiasm of figures such as British TV presenter and wine expert of Olly Smith, who recently announced his 50 favourite Portuguese wines has certainly helped to spread the news of how good Portugal’s wine is beyond the country’s borders. It was also great to see that our personal favourite – Marquês de Borba – topped Olly’s list of the reds he most enjoyed.

So if you are in the UK and have yet to experience Portuguese wine, make a point of seeking it out next time you go to the supermarket. And if you are already enjoying Portuguese wine – either here or elsewhere – then you can be comfortable in the knowledge that you are part of a growing scene with a rising international reputation for excellence. Why not share your favourite Portuguese wine with us by leaving a comment below?


Image credits: Wikimedia