A Smart Portuguese Red To Posh Up Your Next Barbecue

Wine editor MARY DOWEY selects a FINELY ENGINEERED RED as her bottle of the week …


Tons de Duorum Tinto, Douro 2014

It’s no longer a secret that the Douro Valley, for centuries the engine of the port trade, now produces an array of outstanding red wines. Some are so lavishly rich and alcoholic that they taste best in winter with a hefty casserole, but the vein of freshness in this finely engineered red makes it equally suitable for summer drinking – especially in the company of barbecued meats.

It is made by João Portugal Ramos, a towering figure in the renaissance that has swept through Portuguese vineyards in the last few decades, in collaboration with another leading winemaker, José Maria Soares Franca. They know what they’re doing.

Three port grapes, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, grown on schist soils, deliver lively blackberry and damson flavours with just a hint of spice coming from a short period in used oak barrels. The texture is wonderfully silky, the core juicy, the overall package stylish – and almost dangerously appetising. You’ll also appreciate the price: like many new-wave Portuguese wines, this one offers striking quality without costing crazy money.

Tons de Duorum is not to be confused with Duorum Colheita, another red wine from the same dynamic duo which is also stocked by O’Briens. Although certainly impressive in its concentration and tannic thrust, this one really is a much better bet for the heavy food we’ll crave on chilly evenings from November onwards.

Tons, €3 cheaper than Colheita, is the one to hunt for now. Serve it with anything from your grill.

Alcohol: 13.5%

From O’Briens outlets nationwide, €15.45.


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