2016 A Touriga Vai Nua, Unoaked, Fitapreta Vinhos, Alentejo, Portugal (£15.80, LayWheeler.com).
I know Portugal pretty well and the Alentejo region, to the east of Lisbon, in particular. I have even made wine there a few times, so when a wine comes along that turns an established region, and the Queen of all Portuguese red grapes, on its head, I sit up and listen. Literally “naked touriga”, this wine uses Portugal’s most famous red grape and strips it of any clothing.
This is inspired because touriga, so often, relies on oak for succour. Vai Nua takes its fruit from infertile, rocky schistous soils, lets it ferment naturally and then only spend three months in steel tanks before bottling it with all of its flavours still raging. This tactic captures all of the vital essence of this variety like never before. Even the alcohol is a shock – a lowly 13%, which is bizarre considering that this grape forms the backbone of the finest vintage ports ever made.
Only 9,900 bottles were made and only a fraction of these have made it to our shores, so phone Lay & Wheeler immediately if you would like to taste this wine. Winemaker António Maçanita knows what he is doing and I feel that he might change the paradigm for touriga nacional, because this rose-petal, fresh-blood and liquorice-scented wine is sheer heaven. It is what Nosferatu would drink before a night of light slaughter, and he was a creature of exquisite taste.
• Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (MatthewJukes.com).