The selection of wines in Portugal has always been a bit of a disappointment. The reds, unless you go into the very expensive section, are to my taste rather robust – or in other words ‘rough’. The white wines also have a tendency to strip the stomach lining; there was a Vino Verde bottled for a large supermarket chain that was very cheap and very drinkable but they’ve stopped doing it – pooh.

The decent malt whiskies would require a mortgage.

However …….. I have discovered two brandies, Maceira and Croft, that are excellent value for money. They come in at under €8 a bottle. The Croft, better known in England for it’s sherry, is particularly quaffable. It tastes as though it’s been matured in old sherry barrels and has a mellowness that one would associate with a more expensive brand.

I have been introduced to a strange way of drinking brandy by Tango and Penfold,  it goes against all the esoteric and poncey nonsense that experts, connoisseurs and wine w*****s recommend – i.e. warming the brandy in the glass with the hands caressing it and swilling it a lot, sniffing the bouquet and talking about it’s ‘behind smell’, the ‘depth’ of it’s ‘structure’ and how ‘the colour  reminds me of a sunset in Santorini’ – I now add ice and just gulp it down – loverly!

[Again, written in Surfugal ….. honestly getting hold of the Interweave over there with a comfy sofa attached was a nightmare]