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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Independent Winegrowers Assoc. – Portuguese whites

When I think of Portuguese wines, other then Vinho verde, white wine is not what springs to mind. I’m thinking big, robust, tannic, or sweet, thick and vintage. The Portuguese however are really working hard to change our perceptions and expectations of what kind of wine comes out of their vineyards. I attended a tasting at the Portuguese Embassy not long ago highlighting the top whites of Portugal. The wines were selected by Charles Metcalfe, Sarah Jane Evans MW and David Lopes Ramos, all authorities on Portuguese wine, sponsored by the Independent Winegrowers’ Association. There were 61 wines from 51 producers. It’s exciting to learn that there are so many new (to me) white wines coming from Portugal. The lions share of whites came from the Douro but there were also representatives from most of the other wine producing regions of Portugal, even one from the Azores. What I find most interesting is the sheer exoticness of varietals that are used. Grapes like Antao Vaz,Arinto, Terrantez, Roupeiro, Encruzado, Bical, Cercial, Gouveio, Viosinho, Rabigato, Malvasia fina, and my favourite, if only because of it’s name, Maria Gomes. All so alluring and romantic, even more so when said in Portuguese, to these ears that are more accustomed to French or even Italian varietal names. And overall, the quality was excellent. The wines ran the gamut from light and fruity to full bodied and elegant, with plenty of fruit character but still able to go harmoniously with a meal. Of course, there were wines I didn’t particularly care for, but in general all were well made and only the samples at the very low end of the price spectrum were disappointing but then again what can you expect for 2 euros? For some new and exciting white wines, Portugal is definitely worth seeking out. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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