Great Whites Under 3 Euros!

Written by  //  April 1, 2011  //  eat  //  7 Comments

Watch out! This post contains one f-word. Step away if you will be offended.

Still not 100% but after a week my hangover has subsided sufficiently enough to attempt stringing a few words together.

Sorry to say however, customers, that I was too busy enjoying the great white wines of Portugal under 3 euros to actually take any worthwhile photos of them. I have several pictures of other people’s breasts, several of one particularly handsome gentleman and all the other shots are out of focus. Thank god for Marta who not only has exceptional hair but has steady hands and a sharp eye. Phew, the post is saved.

The first thing one can say is that inexpensive Portuguese white wines are a great deal of fun. The post-party emails keep streaming in with the same hilarity of the night. Ilya’s comment that such evenings should be banned by the Organizacão Mundial Da Saúde had me weeping with laughter before breakfast this morning.

We tested 11 wines in all, with one wine, rather cheekily, being included twice, just to prove beyond doubt, according to the results, that we were a bunch of people having a good time rather than engaging in a rigorous scientific study.

The double agent came by the classical name Fratelli Coglione, or Irmãos Colhões, meaning Balls Brothers. The name is a devotion to the illustrious Italian rennaissance military commander Bartolomeo Colleoni, who indisputably had courage, and balls, as is pictorially represented on the Colleoni coat of arms. A coat of arms is nothing without a motto, as Judge João says, and to this fine wine he has attributed that of the “Order of the Garter” which is of course “Honi soit qui mal y pense” which in googlish can be roughly translated “shame on you for thinking there’s some dirty mockery in all of this”.

While no one but me rated wine number one in the manner of “give me one baby oh god I needed that”, this wine did receive a great deal more praise when listed again as wine number 6. Judge Wonky, of Lousã, for example, described wine number one as “Cold and Mildly Fruity”, with a unremarkable score of 32/50, but as wine number 6 felt that it was “Unbe-fuckin-lievable” and gave it the perfect score 50/50. Judge Fiona of Condeixa started with a “bem” at number one and rose to a “fixe” at number 6.

In general terms the commentary given to each wine began conscientiously and legibly. Judge Bitateiro, of Infesto, for example, could initially be relied upon for credible descriptions such as “young and fruity, silky nose with a long finish”, but who, by wine number 7, offers meekly “really can’t tell anymore”.

Wines listed later in the evening solicited passionate and even profane comments from the judges, ranging from simply “wine of love” given by Judge Purdey, a policewoman from Povoa to Judge Chef Fiona comparing wine 11 to a “Beijinho”. Judge Trotsky of Tomar, whose hobbies include Tap dancing and Toad Treating describes wine number 10 as “Bang Bang Bang”, the undelying meaning of which I think is clear to all of us.

Oddly, the harshest criticism was aimed at the winning wine, number 5. Judge Trotsky’s description of this wine as “cat’s wee” went against the general trend of high scores and superlatives. Variously described as full, acidic, dry, good with sardines and piri piri, orgasmic, automatic, cincomatic and just plain good. This wine was the clear winner of the evening. So what was it? Drumroll, maestro….

Esporão Alandra
(thunderous round of applause sound effect insert here)
Significantly this beautiful wine’s usual retail price is €1.99. Read that and weep. Or just move to Portugal.

The other wines tested were
Adega da Borba
Porta da Ravessa
J P Azeitão
Dão Grão Vasco
and special mention to runner up wine number 1 & 6
Quinta do Cardal Branco 2009

That’s right, smartypants, there are only 9. We lost number 10 and no one can remember where we put it.

As promised in a compromised state of inebriation, here are a couple of recipes of the night.

Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls
- Rice Paper wrappers – my sister brought them from australia. Good luck getting them here.
- One pork febra or small steak, tenderised and pan fried in garlic and a bit of soy sauce
- some prawns, say two or three per roll, schoolies if you can get them, for the flavour, steamed, or just boil them for a minute with a pinch of salt
- vermicelli rice noodles – softened in boiling water just for a minute or two – can’t say how much but I always overestimate by ten times the amount required
- strips of cucumber without seeds
- spring onion or shallots – long green stems with white at the base – they are undeveloped onions, slice them lengthwise and cut into 10 cm lengths
- Mint, Vietnamese mint preferably, or maybe a little asian basil if you can get it
other optional stuff – a bit of shredded lettuce, bean sprouts, or a single toothpick of carrot

You’re making a little parcel about 10cm long and 3cm wide, cylindrical. After softening the paper in water just collect the ingredients in a little long pile and fold up the roll like a parcel. It’s not brain surgery. You’ll get the hang of it.

Dipping Sauce:
Hoi Sin Sauce
Fish Sauce
Splash of Lime or lemon juice
splash of piri piri or whatever chilli sauce
soy to season

Garlic Prawns as inspired by the ones I had once in Nazaré
Prawns – green, frozen on the ship “ultracongelado” I repeat GREEN
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Handful of parsley or go all Portuguese and use coriander ooo yummy

Peel your prawns down to the tail, (or the lot of you prefer), rinse them well in water and slip them into a ceramic bowl with the juice of a lemon, an enormous quantity of sliced garlic (not crushed, not finely chopped, I’m talking a wackload of big bits) cover it in olive oil and keep it in the fridge, overnight at best but at least for an hour or two. Heat the oven at the highest temperature, put them in for 5 or 10 minutes, give them one stir and another 5 minutes and then serve them up with a bunch of chunky strong bread. And then sit back and wait for the marriage proposals to roll in.

Stay tuned for the Prova dos Vinhos: Verdes, and further, we could even trial Rosés… perhaps even saving the worldwidely famous Mateus from the doldrums of jokedom.

Super special thanks to the hosts with the most, thanks to a really brutal bunch of Portuguese friends who make me love this country all the more and who are as generous as they are fun, and to Wonky (and Marta, sorry you’ll have to be quicker next time) for the marriage proposal, and more thanks to TinyArtDirector for having to eat all four rice paper rolls from Yen’s in Sydney so that she could take that accurately luscious photo above. Thanks for reading now I’m off to lie down.

7 Comments on "Great Whites Under 3 Euros!"

  1. Rochelle April 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm · Reply

    Sounds like this wine tasting was enjoyable no matter how good the wines tasted! But it’s a great thing to know what kinds of wine to look for when I get situated in Portugal next month :D

    • Mrs Spownall April 2, 2011 at 8:59 am · Reply

      Hi rochelle… yep I can’t wait to get onto the vinho verdes…

  2. Jean April 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm · Reply

    Emma- Your writing is so witty I am flat out breathless on the ground. (That almost came out breastless–sheww.) When I recover, I’m going to write a novel. Or a lyric poem. Or something.

    Inspiring, and funny to boot. Great read. I will take your list with me for my trip in June.

  3. IsabelPS May 6, 2011 at 5:25 pm · Reply

    I’ve got just put a Porca de Murça (2,49€) in the fridge. I’ll let you know what I think of it!

  4. IsabelPS May 8, 2011 at 8:55 pm · Reply

    Highly recommended (just as the red, by the way)

  5. paul callaghan June 18, 2011 at 9:54 am · Reply

    can you clarify what you mean by green?
    i tried a similar recipe recently with chillis and red peppers too which was lovely
    and would like to try this.

    are the prawns cooked or raw?

    • Mrs Spownall June 30, 2011 at 8:30 am · Reply

      Green: the prawns are raw. Best bought frozen.

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