I conduct a random but fairly intensive tasting of Spanish albariño and Portuguese alvarinho each year. This is done over the course of the summer by raiding the various supermarkets and delis of western Spain and Portugal.
As you can imagine, it is important for me, while I am on my hols, to retain an air of professionalism – my work never stops! So the challenge for the Jukesys on Tour is to award a prize to the finest version of this grape.
Granted, Portugal has its fair share of fascinating cheapies – scented, lean, raspy and aperitif-shaped. We found a few lovely examples and interestingly, more often than not, the less expensive wines (€5-€6) looked better than ‘reserve’ labels.
The Spanish wines are always oilier, richer and more main course-y. We saw too many wines that were musky, chunky and forced – not a good look for this sensual grape, and they were all dearer than their Portuguese counterparts.
The winner, by a kilometre, was 2013 Fillaboa – an epically balanced wine with more finesse than a mixed case of the rivals combined. You could spend an hour contemplating the glorious violet and wild flower nose. Or you could drink it.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (www.matthewjukes.com).