I met Portuguese wine critic Joao Paolo Martins recently at the Macau Wine and Dine Event at the Venetian, where he spent an entire day lecturing on his native wines.
The event was similar to Hong Kong’s wine and dine event, bringing together wine merchants and restaurants and allowing attendees to sample several hundred wines, as well as Portuguese hams and cheeses and even Indian curries.
Martins shared some tips about trying wines from the other end of the value scale, as Portuguese wine can be intimidating to the uninitiated.
The country claims to have the greatest biodiversity in Europe and that includes 250 grape types, many with long, unfamiliar names.
Martins, who writes an annual 700 page guide to 5,000 Portuguese wines, ranking them after tasting 6,000, recommends a couple of easy options to start with.
Start with whites from the southern Alentejo region and reds made from the country’s iconic Touriga Nacional grape, the basis of most port.
The easygoing whites are made in an international style but from local grapes. “Meandro is an example of good value for money,” he says of a red from the Duoro valley.
Don’t be put off by the country’s reputation for producing wines very high in alcohol and full of complex flavours, as not all wines are like this.
The country’s rosés have also developed far away from their former naff image.
Martins had another great tip - Portugal’s current trendy cocktail is white port and tonic with a slice of lemon.
Also picked up at the event was the rumour that newly rich Angolans are buying up all of Portugal’s top vintages, just as mainland Chinese are accused of doing with all the best Bordeaux and Burgundy.