Tuesday, 15 June 2010

World Cup Wines. Day Five. Ivory Coast vs Portugal


Africa is not a continent much given to winemaking except in the extreme south and north. Bangui is the name given to Palm wine in the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, the Ivory Coast. The 'tapped' sap of the palm - whihc is about 10% sugar - ferments naturally within hours. Unfortunately it's not very stable as the fermentation is continuous so the 'wine' quickly becomes vinegary. Consequently any that goes unrunk or unsold may just be poured away (see World Cup Wines. Day Three. Serbia vs Ghana)

Portugal's most famous wine export is Port but for a drink with the football you'll want something slightly less post-prandial. Not that you need stray far from the home of Port, the winemaking region of Douro, and neighbouring Dao and Bairrada. This is where many of the better red wines of Portugal are made, whose secrets are an abundance of indigenous grape varieties, few of which are household names even within the country: look out for Touriga Nacional, Baga and Tempranillo, called Tinta Roriz in Portuguese. Don't expect the flashiness of Ronaldo though. 

The Symington Family are massive in Portugal. Think of a Port - Graham's, Dow's Warre's - all Symington's. Their easy drinking reds of predictable and reliable quality include Altano and the recently acquired Quinta da Roriz whose Prazo de Roriz is an unusual choice, a light but spicy fruit-driven red that can also be served chilled - ideal for lunchtime and afternoon drinking. 

Bright Brothers' Palmela and Quinta do Crasto Douro also deserve a place on the short list of competitively priced every day reds.

Côte d'Ivoire and Portugal each rely heavily on a single player; Didier Drogba and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively. Expect the latter to come out on top.

Côte d'Ivoire 1 Portugal 2

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