As the director of Portuguese wine importer Oakley Wine Agencies, Nick Oakley has been seeking out Portuguese bottles for over 30 years. So what did he make of the standard of wines from Portugal entered into the IWSC 2021, when he was participating as a judge for the competition?
‘These Portuguese wines were a joy, and it was nice to see a spread of both red and white wines, from the north to the south of the country,’ he said.
Oakley picked out Adega Cooperativa de Palmela’s Premium Reserva and the Sivipa Soc Vinicola de Palmela, Paço do Bispo as his star wines from his stint as a judge, both said to be boasting rich plum and damson notes. ‘Perhaps people have started to expect high quality to be coming out of the Douro, so it was pleasing to see Palmela [near Lisbon], doing so well with its traditional native red variety Castelão. This variety seems so at home on the area’s sandy soils,’ said Oakley.
Herdade Tinto e Branco, Quinta Do Paral Colheita Selecionada was Oakley’s top-performing red from the Alentejo region, a blend of Alicante Boushet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. ‘The wine is a feather in its regional hat,’ said Oakley.
He picked two white wines for his top eight, too: Quinta Do Gradil, Gradil Reserva from Lisboa and made of Chardonnay and Arinto, and Vinhos Borges’ Quinta da Soalheira white blend, featuring indigenous Portuguese varieties Viosinho, Rabigato, Côdega de Larinho and Gouveio. ‘That there were two excellent whites in the selection also points to the direction of travel for Portugal – we are seeing an increasing number of very smart white wines from coastal Atlantic climates as well as further inland. Portugal is not as hot, viticulturally, as people imagine. We will see a lot more wines with freshness and vigour in the future, I am sure.’
Read on to discover Nick Oakley’s pick of Portuguese wines from the IWSC 2021.