We have been a big fan of Portuguese wines for a while now, and with the bailout out expanding to our Iberian friends maybe its time we tried a few of their excellent wines. Portugal like Italy has many indigenous varieties and makes full use of them.

Most people are familiar with Port the fortified wine produced in Northern Portugal from vine yards along the Duoro/Duero river. And many people have tried cheap and cheerful Vinho Verde while on holidays there but Portugal really does have some classy wines produced in regions like Douro and the rather expansive and hot Alentejo region.

The Alentejo is the heart of Portugal, centrally located with rolling hills pushed up against the border with Spain (who may yet Join the bailout gang). This broad, relatively sparsely populated region has historically, been an agricultural region so the lands were ready to be switched over to vines. The area is a blend of modern techniques and ideas with tradition still to the fore front. Indigenous grapes like Argonez and Touriga Nacional grow side by side with Syrah and Cabernet, and all are used together to produce some impressive and robust reds, perfect for your Average Irish spring, with both rain and sunshine playing hide and go seek.
 
Our recommendations is the excellent Herdade dos Grous Tinto, a blend of 30% Alicante Bouschet, 35% Argonez (Tempranillo), 20% Touriga Nacional and 15% Syrah. The wine is aged in oak barrels for 9 months.