Lunch in the Douro at Quinta Vale do Meão

After the ’09 EWBC ended in Lisbon, myself and about 20 other winebloggers were invited to visit the Douro Valley by the Douro Boys. The Douro Boys are 5 Portuguese wine makers who have come together to make exciting  still table wines from the Douro Valley and to show that there’s a lot more to Portugal than Port. The first quinta we visited was the Quinta Vale do Meão. It was founded by the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaida Ferreira in 1877 when she purchased  260 hectares and began construction of a quinta and cultivation of the vines. Her great-great grandson, Francisco Javier de Olazabel now runs the estate along with his son, the estate winemaker, Francisco Olazabel. The produce both red and white table wines. We got an extensive tour of the winery and then off to the quinta for snacks and a very late lunch. We were starving because the epic journey from Lisbon had taken us about 6 hours and only one coffee stop all day. We fell on the food like vultures. Must have spent about 45 mins eating and drinking their delicious white wine and then lunch was served along with their robust red wines in the main house. By the time we left, the sun was setting and we still had a train ride along the Douro to the next winery we were scheduled to visit that day and dinner! Below is a brief slideshow of the Quinta Vale do Meão winery and estate and our train ride along the river, featuring various winebloggers, of course! Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Cork Forest – Portugal, EWBC 2009

Another European Wineblggers Conference has come and gone….sigh…it just flew by! Before I knew it, I was back winging my way back to Heathrow. But in between landing and take off at Lisbon’s Portela Airport I met some of the nicest people, saw the most amazing scenery and had some pretty good wine to boot! For me, the highlight of the weekend, not including the tour of the Douro Valley which was AFTER the conference, was the visit to the cork forests north of Lisbon, hosted by the Quinta do Lagoalva in the Tejo appellation and sponsored by Amorim, who produced a quarter of the cork in the world, something like 60 BILLION corks a year and that’s not even counting all the other things that can be made out of  cork. We left Lisbon early Saturday morning a bit worse for wear not having had our morning coffee and set off for the province of Tejo and the old cork forests scattered about. To call them forests is a bit of a misnomer as they’re more like orchards, the trees being oak and planted in more or less straight lines but they are old, most of the trees over 100 years old and most live up to 200 years or more. Cork trees are fascinating. They’re only harvested after they reach 25 years of age  and the cork ,called virgin cork, is not of suitable quality to be used for as cork stoppers. The tree is then harvested periodically, every 9 years until it reaches around the age of 40 when the cork can finally be used to make cork stoppers. The cork from the previous harvests is not wasted but put to use in a myriad of other items, including tiles on the Space Shuttle. Pretty cool, cork is  used to insulate the Space Shuttle on re-entry. Our guide from Amorim, Carlos de Jesus was a font of information regarding cork and told us that cork has a very high tolerance for heat, the bark protecting the inner tree...

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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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Quinta de la Rosa and their take on Portuguese rose

Note from the Winesleuth: I was looking thru my drafts folder,  found this post and realized it was never posted. Why? I don’t know but seeing as I’ m heading to Portugal next week for the European Winebloggers Conference in Lisbon and then the Douro Valley the following week, here is a short post and video featuring a rosé made from varietals usually reserved for port making. The tasting was sometime in Spring ’09 I was invited to the Wine Cellar at the Bluebird on the King’s Road in Chelsea the other night for a winetasting of the well known Portuguese producer Quinta de la Rosa. Portuguese wines get a lot of press in the UK marketplace but they are still in the process of becoming household wines in England. It used to be the custom at one time to present a pipe of port as a christening present. Sadly, that custom seems to have fallen into disuse but at one time it was what many a lucky infant received. Quinta de la Rosa was bought in 1906 as a christening present for Sophia Bergquist’s grandmother, Claire Feuerheerd, guess they didn’t think a pipe was enough. Feuerheerd was the family port company but was sold in the 1930’s. Claire kept La Rosa in the family and continued to run it for many years. In 1988, Sophia and her father Tim, decided to relaunch the ports and began producing top notch ports. In the early 90’s, they were one of the pioneers of still red wine production in the Douro Valley. The quinta is situated on the banks of the Douro valley in the Alto Douro not far from the town of Pinhão, with commanding views of the river. The Douro is best known for their ports but thanks to the efforts of producers like Sophia and her father, quality wines are now being produced and exported. The winemaker of Quinta is Jorge Moreira. He trained under Jerry Looper, a California winemaker, so he has many international...

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Time is running out to register for the ’09 European Winebloggers Conf!!!

Last year I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural 2008 European Winebloggers Conference in Rioja. I had a fantastic time,  met some great people and got to drink lots of quality Rioja, among other wines. I mean, that is my kind of conference! The purpose of the conference is to help all us on-liners meet in real life, exchange ideas and hopefully come away with plenty to think about in utilizing social media. It’s great when you get the chance to meet the people you twitter with, blog with or about or just read their posts online. I’m sooo looking forward to this year’s conference in Portugal. The same folks who organized last year’s EWBC, Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino), and Robert MacIntosh (Wine Conversation) have  teamed up with Viniportugal, the premier sponsor, to bring us winebloggers an event to remember. The weekend kicks off on Thursday,Oct 29th with a pre-conference EWBC gathering at the Cortes de Cima winery, which promises to be a great day out before heading back to Lisbon for the conference proper. Tickets for the event are 95 euros for bloggers and 195 euros for non-bloggers and industry types. What does your ticket include? Discount on a hotel room (which includes breakfast) at the VIP Grand Lisboa – location of the EWBC 2 sponsored lunches 2 sponsored dinners 2 sponsored grand tastings A full day of winery visits in 1 of the 3 Portuguese wine regions: Setabul / Terras do Sado, Ribatejo or Alentejo A full day of sessions on everything from monetizing your blog to videoblogging 101 Enormous amounts of networking opportunities A chance to taste wines from across Portugal An opportunity to attend the Douro Boys Press Junket trip to the Douro after the conference And much much more! Hit up the official website for all the lastest info and watch this space for details on videoblogging 101, as yours truly, The Winesleuth will be participating as a panelist, stay tuned… …And speaking of videos, check out a rerun from...

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