PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 March, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 March, 1998, 12:00am

Wine: Palha-Canas Grape: Various Portuguese varietals Region: Estremadura, Portugal Vintage: 1995 While the Douro is the pace-setting wine-producing region for both Spain and Portugal, other areas are also getting their act together.

Superb wines are being produced in Spain and Portugal and sold at reasonable prices. It is time to buy now before the wine world catches on to these bargains.

Palha-Canas is made at the Quinta da Boavista winery in Estremadura by the talented winemaker, Jose Neiva.

He uses only the native grape varieties of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Periquita and Camarate.

Interestingly, after fermentation in stainless steel vats the wine is aged in Portuguese oak barrels. Portuguese oak looks to have a good future judging from its effect on Palha-Canas.

The Palha-Canas 1995's colour is a deep yet bright magenta.

Its nose is full of aromas of vanilla (from the oak) and spice.

The wine has rich flavours of blackberries and cherries, is quite tannic with a long finish, and will benefit from ageing.

At this price, it is an excellent wine to buy and keep for a few years.

Drink it with roast lamb.

Where To Buy: Direct from Cellar Connoisseurs Club (Tel: 2791-6332) at a retail price of $140 but only $112 to members.