Week 4/8 of wine tasting – Italy, Spain and Portugal

This week has (surprisingly) been my favourite week so far. I have fallen in love with a few white and red wine grape varieties this week, but hadn’t heard of before. My relationship with red wine has been purely a dinner affair sticking to the deep French grape varieties such as cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. Big reds for big steaks!

To begin – whites:


My first sight at this grape was a Vesevo Beneventano, Falanghina IGT, Campania, Italy 2016. A white wine that was well rounded, although a little acidic. Slurp sells this fir £10.15 – so go go go.

A grape variety to watch out for is Falanghina, found in Southern Italy, it ripens late so it is complex in nature. It has a fresher style, as it often has no oak. This promises to have a bright future ahead of it.


The wine we tried was a Quinta De Azevado Vinho, Verde DOC, Portugal, 2015. A very simple wine but fun because it has a light spritz to it. Only enjoyable at a cold temperature – so chill for a good few hours before serving. It gets to a max of 11.5% volume so perfect as an aperitif, especially with the light sparkles. A bargain at £8.49 from Waitrose Celler.

Now onto red wines:

This is where I really was ‘wowed’, some fantastic gapes that I think are underrated but I will be looking out for in the future- trust me.


Nebbiolo grape variety is found in moderate to hot climates. Recognisable as it has high acid, high tannins and full bodied. This wine ages very well.

I loved the smoky tannin of this garnet wine. It is best aged and as a rule, high in everything – tannins, acidity and body – just how we like it. This red we tasted was from Streatham Wine House as was a San Silvestro Nebbiolo d’ Alba DOC, Piedmont, Italy 2014.


OK, so this is my absolutely favourite of the night, make that the how course so far. This red wine I could drink on its own, on a summers day, oh hell, on a winters day by the fire. Just so so good.

We tried the Alpha Zeta ‘R’ Valpolica Superiore Ripasso DOC, Veneto, Italy 2014. It was delicious. It was like drinking nectar and dissolved in the mouth. With high acidity and medium tannins, this wine would be perfect with food – but as I said I could drink this whenever. A snip at £12.00 from The Drink Shop.


We tried a Tempranillo – which is found in hot to medium climates, with low acid and high tannins. It is often oaked to mature. A Vina Pomal Rioja Reserva, Rioja DOCa, Spain 2012, this ruby red was oaky, full leather nose and was peppery. With reduced tannins, it really allowed the fruit to shine. This one was from Majestic at £10.99

Tempranillo is one of the 4 main grape varieties:

  • Tempranillo – for its bouquet, acidic and aging properties
  • Garnacha – for body and alcohol
  • Graciano – for freshness and exotic flavour
  • Mazuelo – for colour tannins and ageing ability

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