Belmira Cruz Wines, which has more than 30 years experience with Portuguese viticulture, now supplies to some of the best restaurants in Ireland. We spoke to Claudiu Hedes from Mulberry Garden to find out more about his partnership with Belmira Wines, plus we have six gorgeous bottles to give away.

This family-owned business located in the Algarve was founded in the beautiful Alentejo region and owner David Conceição has grown the business to be one of the most successful in Portugal. Last year, along with his business partner Pedro Madeira, David set up Portugal Vineyards Limited in Ireland due to the demand from Irish customers. From the very beginning, the main focus has been the pursuit of excellence for all the wines combining the best quality and price.  

To find out more about how Belmira Cruz Wines can help perfect a menu, we spoke to Claudiu Hedes, general manager at Mulberry Garden in Donnybrook. The team at Mulberry Garden change the menu every two weeks to keep up with what's in season and what their suppliers have available, offering both a multi-course tasting menu as well as a seasonal á la carte menu. The nature of this type of restaurant means that Claudiu has to change the wine offerings regularly, which is how Belmira CrizWines has helped him. 

"We got a few wines from Belmira Cruz Wines and said we would definitely put them on the menu. They impressed us and now it's on our wine list and we've also used if for a few different pairings with the tasting menu. We first paired the Belmira Cruz Lisboa Pinot Noir 2010 with Wicklow guinea fowl, pearl barley and Irish shiitake mushrooms in mid-April and it was absolutely superb. This pairing was so good, that I decided to put the Pinot Noir on the wine list.

A few weeks ago, we had Thornhill Duck with Irish cherries and beetroot on the tasting menu. Sean Hussey, an Irish producer that owns a fruit and veg co-op, brought the cherries into us, which were all Irish, so I knew the Pinot Noir would go well with it. The profile was amazing and I think it might have been the best pairing we've done so far. This Pinot Noir beats out any Burgundy I've tried and we sell it for only €70, which is so reasonable." 

Pairing Pinot Noir

Claudiu's innovative use of Belmira Cruz Wines' Pinot Noir inspired him to further explore the company's catalogue, which led him to the Belmira Cruz Algarve Syrah Reserva 2015.

"We've also had super-tender, slow-cooked beef on the tasting menu, as well as striploin, and I knew this beef needed a big wine to go with it. The Belmira Cruz Algarve Syrah Reserva 2015 was perfect with it, it really matched the dish. Portuguese wines have a different taste profile to wines from other regions and when they're good, they're so good. This one definitely needed to breathe for 15-20 minutes, but when it was ready, it went so well with the beef."

For Claudiu, working with Belmira Cruz Wines has allowed him to introduce curate a unique and flavourful wine list. He also told us that these wines allow him to educate his customers who might not have tried such unusual wines before.

"Portuguese wines aren't always a big seller, but our guests are always surprised by how much they enjoy the Belmira Cruz Wines. A lot of people haven't tried Portuguese wine before, but they always love it. Belmira Cruz has a huge selection and their premium bottles are fantastic, so I love working with them." 

Wine Pairings At Home

Want to try your hand at pairing home-cooked food with wine? Claudiu has given us some tips to help you out:

  • Asian food or spicy food is becoming more and more popular in Ireland so pair a Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Blanc or Riesling with spicy food as they go amazingly well together. I always look for these types of wines when I eat at an Asian restaurant, but I would recommend avoiding big red wines like Bordeaux if you're eating this type of food
  • Natural wines are also really popular nowadays but can put off beginners if they're not too familiar with them. If there's a variety you know you enjoy and it's offered as a natural wine, go for it to experience its unique style. 
  • Don't be afraid of dessert wines! Don't be afraid to ask for recommendations as staff are so well-trained that they will be able to guide you in the right direction. Red dessert wines have become more popular and go really well with fruit-based desserts, chocolate and cheese selections, especially blue cheese.

Win A Belmira Cruz Wines Hamper

Want to try some Belmira Cruz Wines for yourself? Belmira Criz Wines have given us a hamper with six of their fabulous wines for one lucky reader to try. To be in with a chance to win, simply answer the following question and fill in the form below. Good luck!

Q: Name the Donnybrook restaurant that stocks Belmira Cruz Wines.

For more information, visit the Belmira Cruz website here.