The collected wine-tastings & wine-ramblings of one who prefers to describe wines with metaphors, not percentages

Quinta da Espiga Branco 2010 (Casa Santos Lima) review

A childhood photograph of Old Parn and his sister (who has a teddy bear)What was the first cocktail you ever made?

Mine was a speed potion.

In order that I may elaborate further, I’d like to introduce you to my sister — Young Parn, Koozle or Parnell’s Sister, as she is variously known — who, by virtue of being two years my junior, qualified for that most precious form of sibling love: merciless, vile-spirited deceit and manipulation.

Spare a thought, o reader, for Parnell’s Sister.

Spare a thought for her, specifically, as she sits, her eager gob agape, listening to me telling her that I am training to be a wizard.

YES, ROWLING, DID YOU GET THAT? A WIZARD. ROLL THAT UP IN YOUR FORTHCOMING PLAGIARISM COURT SUMMONS AND SMOKE IT. PARN GOT THERE FIRST.

‘What kind of magic can you do?’ asks Koozle, her eyes a-sparkle with gullible excitement.

‘Oh, well, I’m not very good yet,’ I nonchalantly reply, with the inspired modesty of the sociopathic liar. ‘But they did teach me how to make a speed potion.’

‘A speed potion?’

‘A speed potion.’

Next thing, we’re in the kitchen. Of course. And — inspired in equal parts by George’s Marvellous Medicine and innate pre-pubescent sadism — I am making my sister a speed potion.

God knows (and I hope the old chap will one day find it in his heart to forgive me for) what I put into that horrific concoction. I’m fairly sure (sorry, Katie, sorry) there was Fairy Liquid. There was definitely a spoonful of marmite, ketchup, every variety of fruit squash available, a generous measure of milk and an old fruit pastille.

And — of course — in order for the potion to have its full effect, it had to be drunk all in one go. Which, to her further great credit, Young Parn managed with aplomb. I hardly even think she tasted it, honestly, so consumed was she with manic anticipation.

HOW DO I KNOW IF IT WORKED?‘ she screamed, jiggling impatiently from one stumpy little leg to the other.

‘Um … Well, you know how I’m faster at running than you, normally? Well — I’ll race you to the bottom of the garden. If it’s worked, you’ll beat me.’

Reader, it is a testament to the inordinate power of the placebo effect that she might even have done so even if I hadn’t slowed my own running pace to a crawl. Because never again have I seen my sister run as she did that day — spurred like a adrenaline-pumped greyhound by the intensity of her misguided belief in her despicable sibling’s lies.

A shot of the (yellow) label of a bottle of this Portuguese white. In the background, a glass (out of focus), chopping board and cutlery

Quinta da Espiga doesn’t taste like my speed potion (or what I imagine my speed potion might’ve tasted like. I mean, Christ. You don’t imagine I was idiotic enough to try it, do you?) — but it does taste a tiny bit like the second cocktail I ever made: my own top secret recipe consisting of tropical fruit squash, orange squash and water. Mixologists, take note.

That’s not to say that this wine tastes like a mixture of cheap concentrates concocted by a malicious child. Oh dear. This is going all wrong, isn’t it? Because I actually rather like the stuff. In a yes-very-nice-move-right-along kind of way. It’s sharp and bracing and gob-parchingly dry, and, yeah, there’s a backdrop of citrus and tropical fruits that reminds me of my childhood squash-mixing — in case you hadn’t picked that bit up from the laboured anecdote which consumes far more of the length of this post than does the actual review-type bit.

AND WHAT, PRECISELY, IS WRONG WITH THAT, PRAY?

Considering it’s only 12.5% ABV, it’s punchy as you like. It’s got a kind of steeliness to it that I rather admire, and it’s a little forthright, a little dominant — in a polite, middle-class, fluffy-Anne-Summers-handcuffs kind of way.

So whilst I can’t pretend it’ll make you run across the garden at twice your normal speed, I’d contend that — at well under £7 — it’s nice enough to warrant a shambling kind of jog across to fetch your wallet and order a bottle to try for yourself.

Rating ★★★ 3 stars (good)
Region Lima, Portugal
Grapes Fernao Pires, Vital, Arinto and others, apparently
ABV 12.5%
Price £6.25 from The Wine Society

8 Comments to Quinta da Espiga Branco 2010 (Casa Santos Lima) review

  1. J. Roberts's Gravatar J. Roberts
    February 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious! Laughed out loud!

  2. February 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Spare a thought for Old Parn’s sister http://t.co/qsPSUzc3

  3. February 8, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Speed potions, Anne Summers handcuffs & Portuguese wine. http://t.co/kGxIkH9i < My favourite writer. Love wine? You have to follow @oldparn

  4. Young Parn's Gravatar Young Parn
    February 8, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Fairy liquid? Isn’t that carcinogenic? Funnily enough, though I do remember the episode pretty well, I really don’t remember the taste of the ‘potion’. I would also like to point out that I was not ‘gullible’, as my lovely big brother suggests, but a lovely and trusting child. It simply goes to show that I was the kind of person who would never have lied to her brother, and so (albeit foolishly) obviously believed the same to be true of him…

  5. February 13, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Off to meet one of my favourite UK wine bloggers – he’s even offered to make me a Speed Potion: http://t.co/YZuWBEUf :)

  6. Older Parn's Gravatar Older Parn
    February 13, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I’m a bit concerned that I wasn’t aware that any of this was going on…

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