Olly Smith parades Portuguese value

Wine presenter Olly Smith highlighted the “great value” offered by Portuguese wine and the “tremendous opportunity” this offers for consumer satisfaction as he unveiled his 50 Great Portuguese Wines.

Olly SmithFollowing a focus last year by Julia Harding MW on promoting Portugal’s native grape varieties, Smith’s selection aimed to flag up the good value offered by this country’s wines across a broad spectrum of price points.

“Consumers in the UK have had a really tough time in the last few years so it’s no secret to say they’re looking for great value,” he told the drinks business to explain this choice of theme.

With the 2013 selection ranging in price from £7 to £30, Smith picked out the £7.49 Aliança Bairrada Reserva 2011 as a “benchmark red”, before going on to stress Portugal’s “jaw dropping great value” at around the £10 mark.

Moving further up the price scale, Smith praised the “finesse and quality” available from Portugal at £15-£20, while at £30 he argued: “It would be incredibly hard to find wines of such quality elsewhere at this price point.”

Summing up the value and appeal offered by Portugal, Smith observed: “All these wines offer a sense of flair, something that leaps out of the glass and is just so attractive to consumers.

Moreover, he suggested that the country’s stylistic diversity offered a competitive match to a wide variety of higher profile regions and varieties. “Whatever part of the compass you come from, Australian Shiraz or South African Sauvignon Blanc, there’s something that will appeal here,” he promised.

Picking out some particular revelations from the tastings that led to this final selection, Smith remarked: “A place to watch for the future is Beira Interior; there’s some incredible quality and value there.”

Among the wines representing this region was the Síria/Fonte Cal white blend Beyra Quartz, part of a recently established venture by winemaker Rui Roboredo Madeira.

Likewise, while suggesting that within the UK’s current Portuguese offer “the Douro and Vinho Verde are well represented,” Smith maintained: “We’ve got to see more Dao wines.”

In terms of grape varieties, he urged people to look beyond Touriga Nacional. “It’s a great variety but there’s not actually a lot of it. What about Trincadeira? And then there’s Portugal’s great tradition of blending – it’s like drinking the greatest hits of your favourite band,” Smith enthused.

With 19 white wines in this year’s selection – the highest proportion in the nine years that ViniPortugal has organised this compilation – Smith summed up the quality and range here as “amazing,” with “incredible appeal to different palates.”

As reported previously by db, this latest installment of the 50 Greatest Portuguese Wines will now play a central role in ViniPortugal’s 2013 UK marketing strategy, which has a particularly strong consumer focus.

In addition to a sell-out consumer tasting on the same day these wines were unveiled, the selection will feature at this year’s London International Wine Fair, UK-wide events by the Three Wine Men and ViniPortugal’s restaurant and independent merchant-focused “Discover a World of Difference” activities.

ViniPortugal is also rolling out its 50 Greatest model to other markets this year, including the US and Brazil.

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