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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Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Jul 29, 12 Global Feast 2012 – culinary trip around the world

Posted by in Austria, Food and Wine

I went to a rather interesting dinner over the weekend. It’s called Global Feast and the premise is over 20 days, the event will feature a cuisine from 20 regions around the world. Global Feast is also featuring chefs and supper club owners each night, many of them flying in specifically for the event. Besides all that, the main feature is the table. The night I went, it wasn’t finished yet but when it’s done, it will be a world map, called a Worldscape. In a nutshell, it’s a “sculptural geographical landscape” based on NASA’s digital map of  the world. I wasn’t really sure how to make heads or tails of it, even after it had been explained to us but I do remember it having something to do with the holes in the tables representing the population densities of the world, hence in the Indian and Chinese parts of the world, there wasn’t much table top(! )and the sculptures standing on the table represented the height of mountains and other geographical landscapes. I’d like to go back and see it when it’s completely constructed. But anyway, back to the food. It was Northern Europe’s turn the evening I attended and Swedish Chef Linn Soderstrom was in residence along with London supperclub owner Claudia Stachelhaus. We started with some lovely canapes of garlicky cucumber gazpacho and crispy flatbread direct from Sweden with prawns in mayo and dill –  the prawns were served with an edible daisy, quite tasty. I like edible flowers. I could have also eaten the whole platter of that flatbread starter. A very tasty starter of herring with beetroot and brown butter mayonnaise, paired with the 2010 Rabl gruner veltliner was first at dinner.  I liked the gruner, dry with white pepper and mineral notes. I also detected a bit of hay in there. However, one of my dining companions had some of the Italian Folonari  pinot grigio rose left from earlier in the evening and I thought the red fruits...

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Preto Branco 2010, Portuguese red wine

Jun 10, 12 Preto Branco 2010, Portuguese red wine

Posted by in Portugal

Portugal has so many diverse and unknown wine regions that it would be easy to spend a day just talking about all that we don’t know about the country and it’s wines. Sure, everyone knows about the Douro Valley and their justly famous port wines and some may be familiar with Vinho Verde – the light, quaffable, slightly fizzy white wine of the north – but that’s about it. The rounded bottle of Mateus is also emblematic of Portuguese wine but with a new generation and revitalization of the Portuguese table wine industry, that image will hopefully be changing soon. As a matter of fact, 2011 was the first year ever that table wine exports topped fortified (Port) wine exports. Very exciting news for Portugal’s table wine producers. You may be wondering what I mean when I refer to “table wines”. “Aren’t all wines drunk at a table?” you may be asking. Well, yes but what I mean by “table wines” are wines that are produced without bubbles or fortified, in other words, “still” red or white wine. The region of Bairrada has been traditionally known as a sparkling wine producing area but recently the growers there have ramped up still table wine production and we are seeing a lot more of it coming out of the region. Quinta do Encontro  is one of these wineries and they have a new winery set amongst the limestone and chalky fields. They are producing a delicious red wine which I got to sample the other night. The Preto Branco 2010 is a red blend of the traditional Portuguese grape varieties, Baga (which is widely grown in the Bairrada region) Touriga Nacional, and a white grape to add a bit of balance, Bical. The French in the Rhone Valley are known for adding a bit of Viognier to their Syrah to give it a floral note, and the Bical does much the same here. The wine had an enticing aroma of violets and black cherry which greeted my...

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Revitalizing an old family vineyard and 100 year old port, Quinta da Manuela

Apr 16, 12 Revitalizing an old family vineyard and 100 year old port, Quinta da Manuela

Posted by in Portugal, Travel

Bouncing along the dirt road, we slowly wound our way up and down the hills of the Douro Valley to get to Jorge Serodio Borges newest project in the Vale de Mendiz, the revitalization of Quinta da Maneula. Jorge is the winemaker for Quinta Passadouro but alongside that he also runs Wine & Sol with his wife, Sandra Tavares, wine maker for Quinta do Vale d. Maria. They make the Pintas label red wines and the fabulous white wine, Guru, which I had sampled earlier in the year at the annual Essencia do Vinho event in Porto, Portugal. Quinta da Manuela, though, is a family project. Jorge inherited the quinta and set out to discover what he could do with the vines. The vineyard consists of 14 hectares but the vines are 80 to 100 years old and they are producing a Vielles Vignes red wine, only 3,000 bottles are produced a year and we were able to try the latest vintage, the rechristened Quinta da Manoella 2009 VV. It is a  field blend, which is commonly found in old Portuguese vineyards. Jorge explained that field blends were the norm many years ago because of disease. The growers just planted as much and as many as they could in the hopes that something would survive to be harvested and made into wine. He estimates that there could be up to 30 different varieties in the blend. The wine was impressive, concentrated and complex, very aromatic with and intense nose of black fruit and licorice. Finely balanced, a fresh and elegant wine with finesse. It is fantastic what Jorge and Sandra have coaxed from the old vines. As we drove up to the old warehouse, Jorge pointed out abandoned one family houses/wineries that littered the valley slopes. In the past, it had been the custom to attach a small winery to the family house. We stopped at one to see the tiny moss and leaf covered lagars that had almost been overtaken by the forest....

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