Kick back this month with fine wines from Italy and Portugal

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Once upon a time Dao was an ever present on the red wine shelves – and with good reason.

Its 2009 Wine Selection Dao is full, but nicely balanced wine that provides inexpensive, informal drinking but still illustrates perfectly what Central Portugal does really well.

The wine’s rich, damson fruit is mellowed by touches of nutmeg and vanilla but made an accommodating companion for food by balanced and well judged levels of tannin.

Available from Asda, priced £4.50 – down from £5.75 for the rest of the month.

Banish all those memories from the seventies, modern vinho verde is more complex and mainstream, yet less sweet, than those versions.

Gifted, young winemakers from Northern Portugal have given the wine a serious make-over without compromising its position as a simple, everyday white that works well just on its own.

Here, with Sainsbury’s Winemakers’ Selection Portuguese Vinho Verde, that familiar off-dry, spritzy prickle from way back, is supported by lemon acidity and a savoury undercurrent, yet never overcomplicates what is essentially a light and undemanding white.

An excellent buy at £4.99.

Tuscany’s Chianti needs little introduction but it can sometimes be pretty robust – especially at this price point.

Not so with this 2009 Piccini Toscana Super Tuscan, from Tesco. The wine’s richness has been skilfully rounded out and given excellent balance – without affecting its capacity to add something extra to

hearty meat dishes.

Available from Tesco at £5.99, instead of £8.99, until October 1.

Brian Elliott is wine correspondent of Scotland on Sunday and lives at Auchencrow in the Scottish Borders