10th March 2020 by Nick Hoyle

The recent spate of awful weather has made us feel that we need to resurrect the “Wednesday Night Sausage Wine”. As it’s been a few months since the last one I think we need a quick recap on the ethos behind the “Sausage Wine” and what qualifies a wine for this accolade.

Essentially a “Wednesday Night Sausage Wine” is a great value wine that is ideally under £10 and goes with good everyday food. It is not a blingy trophy wine to be paired with “fine dining”, it’s all about horses for courses. As an example, I said that most of us would probably like a Ferrari but it wouldn’t be much cop if you needed to move a wardrobe for instance. In the same way it’s unlikely that you would be cracking open a Chateau Lafitte to have with sausage and mash on a Wednesday. It’s all about appropriate matching.

“Now it doesn’t have to be consumed on a Wednesday nor does it have to be with sausages”. 

This month’s “Wednesday Night Sausage Wine” is a real favourite; Altano organic red from the beautiful Douro Valley in Portugal. It’s a lovely red table wine made by the Symington family, one of the most famous names in the Portuguese wine trade, being the owners of many prestigious and famous Port houses such as Graham, Warre, Dow and Cockburn.

 

It is a blend of indigenous Portuguese grapes, including Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca, sourced from some of the best vineyards in the Douro. The wine has a rich berry fruit, a delicious attractive mouth feel and is a real warming red. It would, appropriately, be really good with sausages, mash and a rich red onion gravy or with dishes such as Lasagne or Moussaka.

Paul Symington wrote a thoughtful article a year or so ago explaining the sheer cost of producing grapes in the Douro Valley. The Douro is a World Heritage Site because of its beautiful, ancient steep terraced vineyards. The vast majority of grapes therefore are handpicked which comes at a cost. A kilo of grapes in the Douro costs around 90c compared to around 29c for a kilo picked in La Mancha in Spain. This in conjunction with the onerous UK duty on a bottle of wine of £2.23 plus VAT (more about this in future blogs!) and it all starts to be a bit costly to sell.

It’s important that producers are supported so that they can continue to invest and improve and continue to make it a happy wine drinking world for us and also, now I’m off my soapbox, because this wine is excellent value and should be worth more.

Photography: Fells, https://fells.co.uk/our-producers/symington-family-estates/

Altano Organic Douro Red is available from The Whalley Wine Shop for just £8.49 or 2 for £16. Or buy a case online here.

Try it, you’ll love it.

Cheers!
Nick