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TOP 10 
Portuguese wines,
£10 and under

Here's my selection of 10 Portuguese wines available in the UK for £10 or under, many of which are fairly easy to get hold of from major retail outlets, as of July 2009

Churchill Estates 2007 Douro, Portugal
A blend of Touriga Nacional (40%), Touriga Franca (30%) and Tinta Roriz (30%). This deep coloured wine shows beautifully focused, fresh dark cherry and blackberry fruit with a lovely spiciness underpinning the pure fruit. This is fresh and complex with a nice balance between the fresh, ripe fruit and the savoury structure. Quite a serious effort, and brilliant value for money. 90/100 (£8.99 Majestic)

Niepoort Drink Me 2006 Douro
Dark, spicy and a bit earthy with some cherry and blackberry fruit on the nose. The palate is savoury and dense with attractive earthy, spicy notes, as well as good acidity. Fresh and quite complex, with lots of personality (perhaps a hint of Brettanomyces, too, but it works well in the context of this wine, which is delicious). 89/100 (£10 Noble Green Wines, Fareham Wine Cellar, and other independents)

Waitrose Quinta de la Rosa Douro Reserva 2007 Douro, Portugal
Meaty, dark and intense with focused sweet plum and blackberry nose, leading to a fresh, spicy, slightly olive-tinged dark fruits palate with good acidity and some tannic structure. I really like the savoury freshness: this is an authentic expression of the Douro. 89/100 (£9.99 Waitrose)

Sogrape Pena de Pato 2005 Dão
From Portugal's Dão region, this is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro, and it's just delicious. Deep coloured, it has lovely violet, dark cherry and blackberry aromatics, with hints of spice and meat. The palate shows fresh, bright modern fruit with some peppery structure and lovely fresh acidity. There's perhaps a hint of jamminess to it, but overall this is a beautifully fresh, cherryish, fruity red wine with lovely definition. A great introduction to the new Portugal. Pena de Pato translates 'duck's feather'; there's no relation to Luis Pato of Bairrada fame. 88/100 (£6.99 Majestic, Waitrose)

Arco de Esporão 2008 Alentejo, Portugal
A blend of Syrah, Aragonez and Touriga Nacional, made by David Baverstock. Deep coloured. Some subtle meaty, savoury notes here alongside the sweet dark fruits. The slightly floral aromatics are really appealing. Nice balance with a spicy savouriness countering the sweet dark fruits very effectively. A delicious fruit-driven style that’s focused and less spoofy than some of the riper-styled Alentejo wines. 89/100 (£9.99 Waitrose)

Quinta de Saes 2006 Dão
Beautiful stuff. It's dark and intense with a lovely aromatic nose of dark cherries, raspberries and spice. Pure fruit dominates. The palate is concentrated with dense spicy structure and good acidity adding a savoury complexion to the bold, sweet, pure fruit. A vivid, expressive and rather primary wine of immense appeal. 90/100 (£8.29 Cheers Bottle Shop Braunton, Laymont & Shaw, Castas, Vignerons de St George and other independents)

Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde 2008 Minho
Pale and lightly spritzy, this is beautifully delicate with a hint of pithy bitterness, some floral notes and delicious citrus notes. The high acidity keeps things very fresh. This is a lovely summer wine. 87/100 (10.5% alcohol, £5.99 Majestic, Waitrose)

Tinto de Anfora 2006 Alentejo
From Bacalhoa, this seductive red over-delivers at this price point. Very rich, sweet, blackcurrant fruit nose leads to a dense palate with lovely bold, forward fruit supported by spicy oak. A big, in-yer-face style. 88/100 (£5.99 Sainsbury’s, Waitrose)

Marco de Pegoes 2007 Terras do Sado
This is a delicious, robust, fruit-driven red from Terras do Sado - a wine region in the Setubal peninsula near Lisbon. It's quite meaty, dark and spicy, with lovely plum and dark cherry fruit with a strongly savoury core. There's a pleasing bitterness offsetting the sweet fruit. Dense and quite structured, with a hint of attractive rusticity, this is superbly food friendly and over-delivers considering its inexpensive price. 86/100 (£5.99 Majestic)

Duas Quintas 2006 Douro
Lovely vivid pure sweet raspberry and blackberry fruit dominates here, and it flirts with jamminess. The palate has nicely dense berryish fruit with an attractive spicy edge and some chocolatey richness. It's quite pure with nice balance between the primary fruit and some spicy tannins. 88/100 (£9.15 Nicolas)

[I realise this list is a bit light on white wines: one that came close but didn't make the final list is the Tagus Creek Fernao Pires Chardonnay 2008, available from Tesco for £5.49.]

My rating system explained. Use www.wine-searcher.com to locate a stockist in your area and my directory of UK wine merchants for details of those listed here. See also: the wineanorak's shopping list - recommended wines from each of the main UK retail outlets. These recommendations are truly independent: I don't accept payment or other favours for inclusions, nor do I sell wine. Previous months' recommendations: June 2007 | July 2007 | August/September 2007 | October/November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March/April/May 2008 | June/July 2008 | August 2008 | Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec 2008

E-mail me with your recommendations or suggestions at jamie@wineanorak.co.uk