Expand Your Wine Palate - Here's Your Ticket to Branching Out Using Wines You Already Like

By Lindsay Trivers July, 26 2023
Hey there, fellow wine lovers! Ready to branch out from your tried and trusted wine varieties? If you’re a fan of Shiraz or Syrah, hold onto your glasses as I introduce you to the world of Portuguese Reds. And for all you New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc lovers, Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley is a must-try. Read on to find out why!

Portuguese Reds: Your Shiraz Soulmates

If you like Shiraz or Syrah’s bold and luscious flavours, try Portuguese Reds. Picture this – dense, dark fruits swirled with earthy notes and a kick of peppery goodness. Sounds good, right? While it is typical to blend many grape varieties in Portuguese red wines, my brain wants to categorise the taste profile of these wines with the Shiraz and Syrah wines that I’ve come to love.

The example we looked at was the Marquês De Borba, Vinhas Velhas – a great example of Portuguese red wine – picked up from The Bottle Store Outlet in Al Ghadeer. Brace yourself for a palate of black cherries, plums, graphite, and leather. This one is not super-ripe and mellow style – this one brings some serious structure with tangy acidity and grippy tannins. We got some serious Northern Rhône vibes (the motherland of Syrah) off this wine, so you can see why we saw the similarities.

So, while all those exotic Portuguese grape varieties might be unfamiliar to read on a label, the wines crafted there are approachable and deliver lots of flavour. Trust me, you need to give them a try. What’s more, the winemaking process still has a traditional edge. Hand-harvested grapes lovingly sorted, and the juice gently extracted through the time-honored foot-treading technique.

Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from Leyda Valley: A Breath of Fresh Air,

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is loved worldover – it seems none can resist its allure? If you’re a fan, and looking for something similar to branch out on, set your sights on Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from the Leyda Valley. Also picked up at the Bottle Store Outlet, Al Ghadeer.

Chile is best known for bold red wines that thrive in that nation’s largely hot climate. But the Leyda Valley holds a secret – a uniquely colder spot that crafts crisp, refreshing, yet full-flavour white wines. We tried the Vina San Pedro 1865 Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit, playful jalapeño pepper, and even a little sea-side saline.

The magic of the Leyda Valley lies in its coastal proximity, where cooling breezes and gentle fog coax the vines to produce intensely flavorful grapes. Those who love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc love full flavour, super refreshing wines, and those trademark green pepper and grass notes. Leyda Sauvignons should be considered not just a safe alternative to try, but an awesome one!

In the end, our glasses may be different, but our desire to explore is (hopefully) not. These are really good tips on venturing out, so please do give them a go and let us know what you think!

Where can you get your wine and spirits in the UAE?

Same place we got these 🙂 The Bottle Store Outlet, nestled in Al Ghadeer, is only a 45 min drive from Downtown, 30 minutes from Dubai Marina, and has a wide selection at very competitive prices. The Portuguese wine selection is wider than anything we’ve seen in the UAE, as it is for the Mezcal and the Gin – (over 130 different gins, including our local heroes, Side Hustle Brews and Spirits.

Want to expand your wine tasting skills even further?

The Tasting Class runs wine tasting experiences in Dubai and Abu Dhabi regularly. Check out our upcoming events by clicking on this link to see what’s coming up near you. Cheers!  

The Wines we tasted

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