Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Portuguese Vegan Wine Rack 2015

When you are living in a van for almost a month, especially with a 6’ 2” surfer, two surf boards, all the resulting surf paraphernalia and enough food for two food loving vegans, you learn to get creative with space.  I’m a naturally tidy person anyway, which helps, and hate to live with unnecessary clutter.  Everything, in my eyes, should have its place.

Wine certainly has its place in our time in Portugal.  It does not count as clutter either but does however require creative thinking when it comes to storage within the van.  It should be on hand, kept at the right temperature, on view to us for aesthetic and ease of choice reasons and most of all immune from the dusty, bumpy single tracks of back of beyond Portugal.  What better place therefore to locate our van ‘wine rack’ than nestled between our yoga mats just behind the front seats. 

We’ve had some new additions to our Portuguese wine rack this year, having discovered so far five new unfiltered tintos as well as enjoying a few discoveries from previous years.  The trick to searching out these wines is to look on the label for an indication that the wine has not been filtered (hence none of the nasty non vegan stuff they use to clear the sediment).  We don’t speak Portuguese (yet, but we are learning) but we find it pretty easy to read and decipher the labels.  Some even have English translations on them.  There is one example in the photo which translates as ‘Wine not filtered, subject to creating a deposit’.  We’ve actually been surprised at how many we have found just by taking a little time reading the labels.

So on to the vegan wines we have discovered this year; which are all red I’m afraid due to our preference for such.

Monte Alentejano 2010 - from the Alentejano region - around €3
The cheapest offering we found and one that was marked as 'natural wine that may develop some sediment'.  We were a bit dubious at first thinking that the price may have meant it was a bit rough around the edges (what snobbery!).  It was however surprisingly 'quaff-able'. See photo of bottle at bottom next to the Quinta Do Barridas.

Fuzeta 2012 - from the Algarve - around €5
At €5 it is a bargain but is a bargain always good?  Well yes; again this Algarvian red was very acceptable and smooth.......unless that is the wine talking.

Monte Do Alem 2010 - from the Algarve - around €9
Another Algarvian offering (well you have to keep it local don't you?).  Phil said "Yeah it was nice.  It had hints of toasted oak, 7 year old mulberries, blackberries, a hint of Madagascan vanilla" and other things he dreamt up whilst under the influence, or took from descriptions on the labels of various bottles.  I really enjoyed it but, like Phil, I'm no expert either.

Quinta Do Infantado - from the Douro region - around €9
We had actually seen this in the UK (in Wholefoods in Cheltenham) for considerably more (a 2008 Reserva was £28.99).  This was a lovely smooth wine that we enjoyed on more than one occasion.  There is also a port (pictured) from Quinta Do Infantado that is unfiltered and therefore vegan so quite obviously (although we are very recent port fans) we had to secure a couple of bottles of this for the purposes of research once home.

Quinta Do Barridas 2012 Selecao - from the Algarve - around €9.50
We only had this wine once as it must have been on a deal when we got it first time.  After that we only saw it on sale for at least €14.00 which is pushing the boundaries of vino snobbery for us!  Needless to say we must have expensive tastes as we really enjoyed this.

Our favourite however remains a discovery from last year and a wine found not only in supermarkets in the Algarve but also in a health food store!  It is Monte da Casteleja Classico and it was around the €10 mark.  Classico by name and classico by taste too!  

For details on other wines we have enjoyed in the past follow this link.

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