I have just returned from 4 days of bliss in Lisbon.....no kids, non stop sunshine, great friends and a continuous flow of wonderful food and wine. The food was amazing, from the incredibly moreish Pastel de Nata (custard tarts) which I had never eaten until this weekend to the freshest seafood I have ever had, all enjoyed with great wines that really cost very little indeed.
I am a very lazy tourist. I choose my destinations based on wine and cuisine and this makes the basis of my holiday planning. This weekend was a girls weekend with some of my dearest and closest girlfriends. We are all very similar, we all love a drink, a good meal and a good time. We spent 4 wonderful days meandering the city in the sunshine and stopping in cafés, bars and restaurants to sample the local fare. Lisbon is a city designed for this, with its old and winding streets, incredible views and a somewhere to eat or drink at every turn. Rather than tourist sites, I had a checklist of food and wines to sample which I am very pleased to say I achieved; Pastel de Nata (SO good!), cataplana - incredible fish and seafood stew cooked in a copper pot (why have I waited until now to eat this?!), grilled sardines and bacalhau (salt cod). We ate in an incredible seafood restaurant on Saturday, Cervejaria Ramiro, where we tried another local delicacy of goosefoot barnacles, which I have to be honest about and say I probably wouldn't repeat in a great hurry!
Portugal is probably one country I need to know more about in terms of its wine. Despite always being associated with Port, there are some serious wines produced and at cracking prices. It's most famous wine is 'Vinho Verde', which despite what people think is not just white wine but a classification of young wine (hence the translation of 'Green Wine') which applies to red, white and rose. Being a pretty warm climate means powerful red wines which are often a blend of grapes with their most prized black variety known as 'Touriga Nacional'.
It seems fitting to review two Portuguese wines these week, both tremendous value and well worth a look out for. Saude!
In the fridge
Vicente Faria, Animus Vino Verde
Where to buy: Aldi £4.79
I have to say that this wine a serious find for summer! Oozing alfresco daytime dining and drinking and frankly far too easy to drink. It has the very typical slight effervescence that is common in vinho verde and which I love. Gorgeous peach, lemon and apple and super fresh. Perfect for a sunny afternoon at only 11% abv too. I am definitely going to be stocking up!
On the rack
2015 Casa Santos Lima, Gran Passo Classico Tinto
Where to buy: Waitrose £5.99 (currently on offer from £7.99)
I regularly buy this wine as it is such fantastic value. A blend of Touriga Nacional and Shiraz, this is a powerful and full bodied wine but with surprisingly soft tannins. Ripe, rich and packed full of plum, cherry and blackcurrant. Made for a BBQ!