Ben’s Wine & Tapas News

Ben’s Wine & Tapas is settling down nicely and we’re moving things on with a series of themed wine evenings, please click here to view our events page. As I’ve said, I love my wine and the plan was always to concentrate on the liquid element. The great thing about the world of wine is the more you know the better it gets.

There is so much more to it than buying a bottle of supermarket Pinot Grigio or Merlot but I’d be the first to admit that it can all be pretty intimidating. So the plan is to pick an area, producer, grape or general topic of interest and, through tasting, expert presentation etc introduce you to wines that you might not otherwise be tempted to pick up and buy.

Our first effort, on May 3rd, was an evening of wines from the Douro, Alentejo and Minho in Portugal. Wine importer extraordinaire, Liberty Wines have just taken on the agency for Sogrape, a family owned company who have stellar properties throughout Portugal and their man was there to introduce the wines. Next up will be a visit (metaphorically speaking) to Domaine Begude in the Languedoc on May 17th. Proprietor and winemaker, James Kinglake, will be at BWT to tell us more about his fantastic Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays etc that have been going down so well in shops, wine bar and box scheme over the last year. After that, it’s English Wine Week and Sharpham on May 31st.

I’m pretty keen on Portuguese wine and, as well as the above, we have a couple of new organic wines from Quinta dos Maias in the Dao. The white (branco), a blend of Malvasia Fina and Encruzado has lovely clear citrus flavours coupled with the full body and mouthfeel characteristic of so many Portuguese whites. The tinto is 40% Jaen (Mencia in Spain) and punches way above its weight and price. Medium bodied with a good balance of fruit (blackberry and cassis) and soft tannins. It will improve for several years but don’t let that stop you opening a bottle now – just give it a chance to breath before moving on to mouth to mouth resuscitation. Both are an introductory bargain £9.99 and are highly recommended by pundits more expert than myself.

As a country, we import more Portuguese table wine than any other country, apart from, you’ll never guess – Angola. I don’t think first place is out of reach.