5 Summer Wines for a Comporta Sunset

Portugal is known for its long coast of infinite beaches. In Comporta, the stretch of sand is so immense that you’ll find some parts of it completely deserted and unexplored. These spots are perfect for a summer picnic. Apart from the typical Portuguese nibbles, wines are always part of a picnic basket. These are five fabulous wines, versatile for different people and beach foods:

Covela is one of the leading wineries in the Vinho Verde region. They grow French grape varieties alongside Portuguese traditional grapes which are then blended to produce their wines. The exception is the “National Edition” whose wines are produced exclusively from Portuguese grapes.

One of my favourites is the Arinto 2014. Made with organically farmed vines grown on a south-facing amphitheatre, Quinta da Covela offers delicate fruit, carefully selected for this single variety wine. This Arinto is intensely fresh with zesty and floral notes. It distinguishes itself from other Arintos for its intensity due to the soils where it grows and the warm temperatures at this estate.

Rosé wines are quite versatile. They have the red fruit aromas of a red wine combined with the lightness and freshness of a white wine. These wines are good when combined with Portuguese presunto (dry-cured ham), tuna, anchovies or even bolinhos de bacalhau (salted codfish fritters) and croquettes, which are always present in a Portuguese picnic basket.

The Redoma Rosé is fermented in a barrel and produced with grapes from old vines. With a light salmon colour, reminiscent of the great Rosés of Provence (France), this wine has slightly smoky aromas alongside red fruits and dried flowers. This is not your typical rosé, but rather one with character and structure.

Vinho Verde is definitely the prime region in Portugal for white summer wines. The region is best known for its sparkling, fresh and crisp wines – but more recently also for more atypical ones, such as this Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas 2015. Produced exclusively with Alvarinho grapes from organically farmed vines, the grapes are hand-harvested and fermented in stainless steel to maintain the delicate flowery and fruity aromas. A special lot of Alvarinho aged in French oak barrels is added into the blend, to create this aromatically complex white wine.

Dory is produced by Adega Mãe, a recent project in the Lisbon wine region. The state-of-the-art winery contrasts with the green hills that border the Atlantic Ocean. The sea’s influence on the climate and terroir of the vines here is noticeable. The wine’s name is taken from the 19th Century fishing boats (dóri), intimately linked to the owners of this winery as they own the famous Riberalves codfish company and maintain a great relationship with the sea. Produced with Viosinho, Alvarinho, Arinto and Viognier grapes, Dory White 2015 has citrus notes of lime and grapefruit, tropical fruits such as peach and a unique minerality from the sea breezes of this region.


Douro white wines are getting more and more attention because of the diversity of wines that are being produced. From a very special plot of an old plantation growing predominantly Códega de Larinho, Folgasão and Gouveio grapes, winemaker Rui Cunha left this wine to mature in cask for 36 months and a further 24 months in bottle. It is incredible how it has maintained such a young fruit and freshness. With fragrances of citric fruit, peach, honey and some dried fruits, this is a more voluptuous wine than most Douro whites and will be a great pairing with summer salads.


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Francisca van Zeller

Francisca considers wine and life to be completely intertwined. She has been foot-crushing grapes and helping with grape picking from a very young age. However, her first professional experience in the wine sector was in 2007 at Quinta Vale D. Maria.
The daughter of Cristiano van Zeller, one of the most successful winemakers in Portugal, and following a lineage of 14 generations in wine, Francisca strives to find her place in the wine world. She took on the responsibility of Marketing and Sales Manager at Quinta Vale D. Maria in 2013, as well as having a defining role in the making of the wine.
She created the first women in wine association called “D’Uva – Portugal Wine Girls”, together with 8 other women in 2016. The association aims to promote the wines of Portugal as ones of great quality and diversity produced by young and fresh faces.

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