Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Nathan Lane
Wine Correspondent
1:01 AM 30th March 2024

Wines: Ameixambar, Vulcao, Azores Islands, Portugal

This month our wine correspondent explores wines from the Azores and makes two recommendations.

Buried at the back of a wine list under the heading volcanic soils, the Ameixambar proved to be a hidden gem.

It’s true that good wines reflect the soil, weather, aspect and a host of other factors of their vineyards. But rarely is there a bottle of white wine that conjures up the wild beauty of its surroundings, like the Ameixambar.

The Adega do Vulcáo winery reflects the stunning natural settings found across the Azores archipelago. The winemaking project aims to produce premium white wine from carefully selected Azores terroirs found on the islands of Pico and Faial.

The wine has a pronounced connection to this special volcanic terrain. It is evident in the purity and character of the Vulcão wines, which offer a distinctive and genuinely unique taste.

If you stick your nose into the glass, you get a blast of the sea. The well-structured wine offers a bone-dry structure with complex minerality. Soft stone fruit is there with an almost creamy feel in the mouth. Hints of nuttiness, lemon, and a long finish make it moreish.

Ameixambar is a rare wine from a winemaking region that deserves further investigation. This is wine-making with a soul. Seek out a bottle, but hurry; they only produce a few thousand bottles.

Available online from £23 a bottle.

Valduero Una Cepo 2016.

A good tapas menu demands a decent Spanish red to accompany it. The Valduero Una Cepa comes from the fantastic wine region of Ribera Del Duero and proved an excellent choice from the menu at Iberica in Leeds City Centre.

It’s a wine that will benefit from being decanted an hour before drinking to allow it to open up. It has a nose full of rich, toasted spicy notes, along with ripe fruit. The palate is smooth, offering soft tannins and warm spice. There is some oak there to reflect the 18- months it spends in French and American barrels.

The name Una Cepa means one vine, which is how much it takes to make one bottle. It’s a rich, juicy wine with scents of strawberries and cherries combined with notes of pepper, dry herbs, leather, vanilla, and soil. Rich and sophisticated in terms of structure, with a lengthy finish, it offers balanced acidity and silky tannins.

The 100% Tempranillo has everything you’d want from a great Spanish wine. It’s deep and complex while offering a great structure and long finish. Each sip takes you back to great holiday memories.

Valduero Una Cepo is everything you anticipate from a superb red wine from Ribera del Duero.

Available online from £35 a bottle.

Our wine enthusiast Nathan lives in Leeds and runs the PR and marketing company Campfire PR.