Visiting Quinta de Curvos, Portugal’s Vinho Verde region

Sep 27, 14 Visiting Quinta de Curvos, Portugal’s Vinho Verde region

Posted by in All, Portugal

I recently visited the Vinho Verde region of northern Portugal and got to know the wines and some of the producers of the region. One of the most interesting quintas (or estates) we visited was Quinta de Curvos. This quinta is located in Minho which is not far from Barcelos, one of the main cities on the pilgrimage to Campostelo de Santiago. The quinta has been around since the 1500’s but was bought by the Fonseca family in 1974. Since then, they have been producing the indigenous grapes alvarinho, loureiro and trajadura. What I enjoyed most about these wines is how well made they are and yet they are relatively inexpensive. They have plenty of depth of flavour and are perfect with seafood, which is plentiful in Portugal. Over lunch, Miguel Fonseca, one of the sons of the owner of the estate, told us a bit of the history of the estates. He is involved in the running of the estate and spent his childhood running around the forested grounds. I have to say I was even more envious then usual when I visit wine estates because the grounds of the estate had the most remarkable buildings and follies set in a forested parkland. My favourite was the cave set underneath a folly sitting by the pond. It was like having your own private batcave. It must have so much fun to grow up there and Miguel did indeed agree with us! There are also pergolas of vines and vineyards as well that cover one side of the estate.   The Quinta itself was founded in the 1500’s and passed through different owners before being bought by Miguel’s family in the 1970’s. Since then the family have maintained the grounds and built up the wine producing aspect of the estate. Over lunch we tried a few of the estate whites and the rose. We had a loureiro, an avesso and a blended white wine as well as a bright cherry red coloured rose. All...

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Discovering Portugal’s Vinho Verde, visiting Soalheiro vineyards

Sep 10, 14 Discovering Portugal’s Vinho Verde, visiting Soalheiro vineyards

Posted by in All, Portugal, Sparkling Wine

The last days of summer are upon us but that doesn’t mean you have to automatically switch to red wine. As they say, it’s ok to drink white after Labor Day (well, that’s what they say in the States).  Earlier this summer I visited the Vinho Verde region in the north east of Portugal where they make great wines, and not just for summer. Vinho Verde can be a bit confusing because it is not only the name of the grape and  one of the styles made, but is also the region. Most consumers think of Vinho Verde as a light easy drinking wine that is meant to be drunk young. As an added bonus, it’s also low alcohol, averaging between (9% – 11% alc).While that is all true, there is a lot more to it then just that. For example, Vinho Verde not only pertains to young white wine but also to rose and red wine. Vinho Verde can also be sparkling or distilled. Our trip focused on the whites of the region. The main grapes used for the white wines are alvarinho, arinto, loureiro, trajadura, azal and avesso. All of these are indigenous varieties of Portugal and produce light wines with acidity but also with body. A very nice combination on the palate. Throughout the trip, we tasted not only the still white wines but also the sparkling wines of the region, which are less well known but equally as good. One of the sparkling wine producers we met was Luiz Cerdeira, son of the founder of Soalheiro. They are located in the northern most part of Portugal, in Melgaço and specialize in alvarinho. They produce both still and sparkling wines. Sitting on the balcony of the winery overlooking the vines with the border with Spain just at the bottom of the hill was a delightful experience. We sipped their Brut Rose as well as the sparkling alvarinho. I think those sparklers could easily compete on an international scale. They had great acidity,...

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Video – How to Read a Wine Label, the Douro Valley and Bourgogne

Sep 19, 13 Video – How to Read a Wine Label, the Douro Valley and Bourgogne

Posted by in All, France, Portugal, Videos

Two of my favourite wine regions in the world  are The Douro Valley in Portugal and Bourgogne in France. I have been invited to visit the region many times by various producers and generic wine bodies and some of my favourite visits have been organised by the Discover the Origin campaign. The aim of DTO is to explain the wines of the region to the uninitiated. The wines of Bourgogne are poorly understood and suffer sometimes from having wine labels that are incomprehensible to the average wine drinker. The wine labels are slowly changing to make it easier for wine drinkers to know what they are buying but it does take time. DTO have created this handy video guide to show you what you’re getting when you pick up a bottle of  Bourgogne. They’ve done the same for the wines of the Douro Valley. I adore the wines of the Douro but too many people I talk to think that only port wines are produced there. In reality, although they make excellent ports, the region also produces some fantastic and wonderful value for money red and white table wines. I hope you find the video informative and if you want to know anything more about these regions, don’t hesitate to drop me a line or visit the Discover the Origin website.     Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Video – tasting the 2009 Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional with MD Christian Seely

Oct 18, 12 Video – tasting the 2009 Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional with MD Christian Seely

Posted by in Portugal, Videos

The Douro not only makes great port wines but they are now also beginning to produce their own “terroir” driven red and white table wines. While I was in the Douro recently at Quinta do Noval, I got to taste some of the great red table wines they are producing. Christian Seely, MD of Quinta do Noval and I had  a brief tasting of the 2009 Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional and here Christian tells us why he thinks the Douro does and will in the future make great table wines. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Video – in the Douro Valley at Quinta do Noval Nacional vineyard

I was in the Douro Valley not long ago visiting one of the historic port houses of Portugal, Quinta do Noval. The quinta was founded in 1715 and was bought by the French conglomerate AXA Millesimes in 1993, which is how Christian Seely came to be managing director of the Quinta. Christian was my host while I was visiting the Quinta and after a morning spent tramping around the very special “Nacional” vineyard, we had a chat about what makes that vineyard so special and a quick tasting of the already legendary 2003 Nacional Vintage Port. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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