“I don’t like the summertime because everyone goes to the beach…What’s the deal with the beach? It’s where dirt meets water, is it that fucking amazing to you? Maybe I’m just jealous; everyone’s got tanned skin, white teeth. I’ve got white skin, tanned teeth. NOT my environment. You put me under a neon beer light, I look pretty cool.” Bill Hicks, Philosophy.
Quinta de Bons-Ventos 2005 Vinho Regional Estremadura 12.5% alcohol £4.99 Oddbins
Pack your black lace veil rather than your bikini. Like the traditional Portugal – where women dress in black in the harsh midday sun and where fado singers tell mournful sea ballads about lost sailors – there’s a lot more to the Quinta de Bons-Ventos than a cheap holiday made for the British market. Taste the sunshine, but like the locals, take refuge in the cool shade.
What adds to the dark allure of this wine is it is a blend of ancient Portuguese grape varieties: Castelao (Periquita), Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Touriga Nacional. My palate could not decipher it at first, and it felt like I was drinking a red wine from another planet. If you are bored drinking the same varieties all the time, this is a very exciting buy. And you support indigenous grape varieties not wiped out Mondovino style by the major grape varieties such as Shiraz and Cabernet.
Recommendation? If I have to go to a funeral, I’m taking a bottle of this wine to the wake. Celebrate life going on. Have a glass with your old friends, remember old times, and smile through the tears. It’s a dark wine but also full of cherry-delicious joy. Excellent value.