Daytrip from Lisbon to the Quinta do Sanguinhal, D.O.C. Obidos

Before the EWBC ’09, I was speaking to a friend of mine, Miguel Leal of Casa Leal, importers of premium Portuguese wine to the UK, and he invited me to visit one of his favourite wineries in Portugal, the Quinta do Sanguinhal in the D.O.C. Obidos region. Situated about an hour north of Lisbon, Quinta do Sanguinhal was established in 1927  and also encompasses the Quinta de San Francisco and Quinta das Cerejeiras. The region has been producing wine since 1153 when King D. Alfonso Henriques donated large estates in the area to the Cistercian monks. I took a tour of the vinyards and had a winetasting of the estate’s wines with one of the owners, the genial Carlos Joao and his lovely niece, Ana – who also doubled as our vineyard tour guide. Carlos and I had a very tasty lunch beforehand, drinking the Quinta de San Franciso 2006. A rustic wine made up of primarily touriga nacional, I enjoyed it immensely, nothing complicated but nice dark fruits and great tannins to complement the flavourful lunch. They primarily grow touriga nacional,  aragonez and syrah, among other international varietals as well as a variety of indigenous and international white varietals. After lunch, Carlos put me in Ana’s capable and knowledgeable hands for a tour of the vineyard. The day ended with a tasting in their lagar room where they crush the grapes by foot. The quinta is open to tours as well as tastings and I was joined by a group of Swedes on my tasting. They all loved the wines and I’d have to agree. I took about a thousand pics that day, below are some of them. Mouse over them for pic info. For more information on visiting Quinta do Sanguinhal, go to www.vinhos-sanguinhal.pt Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Quinta Lagoalva and the Blaggers Banquet

A couple of weeks ago, I was in Portugal for the EWBC and visited the Quinta Lagoalva as part of the conference. Little did I know that upon my return to London I would be running into Quinta Lagoalva quite unexpectedly at the Blaggers Banquet. The Blagger’s Banquet was a charity event organized by London food and wine bloggers for the organization Action against Hunger. Miguel from Casa Leal and Viniportugal, a government organization dedicated to promoting Portuguese wine, got wind of the event and kindly donated 18 bottles of Quinta Lagoalva de Cima 2004, a blend of tinta roriz and touriga nacional. It was my task at the event to match up the donated wine with the food. One of the main courses was Buffalo steak with a bearnaise sauce. The Quinta Lagoalva went quite well with the steaks. A spicy, fruity nose, full of ripe black plums and ripe black berries, the palate followed through with a smooth and mellow black cherry character, round tannins that complemented the steak, nothing terribly complex but a very good match for the buffalo which was not near as gamey as I though it would be. Quite a tasty piece of meat and smooth operator of a wine to go with it. The wine is available from Casa Leal. Thanks to Viniportugal and Casa Leal for donating to a very worthy cause. Looking forward to next  year’s Blagger’s Banquet. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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“Brut Nature” Cava from Montau de Sadurni

Here is another wine from Casa Leal that I got to try when I was sidetracked into the Restaurant Trade Show but rather then a Portuguese wine, it’s a cava from Penedes. The cava is produced by Montau de Sadurni.  The Sadurni family have been growing grapes near the village of Begues, 15 miles from Barcelona, since the 16th century and probably been making wine just as long but they have been marketing their wines and cavas under the Montau label since 1987. The Arrels Montau de Sadurni is an extra dry reserve cava, we jokingly referred to it as a “diet cava” as it is a brut nature because it has only 2 gr/litre of sugar – now that is what I call a skinny cava! The cava is produced in the champagne methode meaning it is fermented twice, in vat and then in bottle, aged for 2 years and then sent on it’s merry way. Cava is usually made from xarello, parellada and macabeu and this is no exception. I really liked this cava, lovely, aromatic notes of baked apples and dried figs it had a certain creaminess on the nose that carried onto the palate – nutty, briochy, no bitter notes which can be found in cava sometimes, with spritely bubbles that weren’t too aggressive. A clean finish to round it off.  11.5% alcohol. The family only produce 40,000 bottles a year and it’s going to be retailing here in the UK for £8 so snap some up if you see it. Available from Casa Leal Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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A funny thing happened on the way to the S. Africa mega tasting….Portugal

I was on my way to the South Africa mega tasting the other day at Earl’s Court and somehow inadvertantly talked my way into the Restaurant Trade Show going on next door. Now you’re probably wondering how do you get a big wine show confused with a restaurant show? It’s easy when there are loads of people milling about outside with name tags pinned to their lapels. Well, we realized our error early on when we were greeted by stands and stands of kitchenware once inside but leave it to The Sleuth to find the wine! And find it, I did. Sure it was shunted off to the side of the show but who did I run into but my pal, Miguel Leal from the Portuguese importers, Casa Leal. He was introducing few new Portuguese reds and whites to the UK market. We tried the Filoco branco, 07  from the Douro (branco is Portuguese for white). A dry, vibrant, refreshing white wine with lovely citrus aromas and flavours. Made up of the Portuguese varietals malvasia fina, ribagato and viosinho it is the perfect food wine, loads of floral aromas but dry and vibrant with an excellent citrus character, we could imagine enjoying this with dinner on a sulty Lisbon summers eve. 13.5 % alcohol but it sure didn’t taste like it and what’s more, the producer reckons it will last for 8-10 years! I’d love to try it with a bit of age. Also sampled the Quatro Caminos ’08, barrel fermented white wine, composed of arinto and antao vaz from the D.O.C. Alentejo. This one had been fermented in new French oak and then aged on the lees for a further two  months so I think it’s safe to say their objective was to tame this wine down. And it was an elegant wine, creamy and fruity. I detected a very limey character along with some nuttiness and ehoes of cream soda, a nice long finish to this wine allowed me to savour it for some time afterwards. I really liked this wine,...

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