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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Les Dauphins rose for summer

Jun 24, 13 Les Dauphins rose for summer

Posted by in France

Over the weekend I went to the Taste of London and was re-introduced to the wines of Les Dauphins, most specifically to the new Les Dauphins rose. Les Dauphins is made by a co-operative in the Southern Rhone called Les Cellier des Dauphins and they are one of the largest producers in the Rhone accounting for over 30% of all production. I’ve had their Cotes du Rhone Villages in the past and think it’s a great summer time red. Perfect for hamburgers, grilled chicken or sausages, it has a spicy profile with a strong core of black and red fruits running through it. One of the most eye-catching things about the wine is the label. Done up in a 1920’s style font, the French were at first aghast when this label was presented to them, according to their UK rep, Louise Hill, “…they thought they needed a more classic label…” but the French were over-ruled and the label certainly does have an appeal to the UK market place. Happily, the wine inside deserves to be talked about as well. At Taste of London, I also had the opportunity to try the rosé, made of 80% grenache, 10% syrah,10% cinsault, it’s a cheeky little number, full of fruit but having good acidity which saves it from being cloying and gloopy (for lack of a better word), in the mouth. Very refreshing and I think it would be a good match with a prawn salad or grilled sausages. The Cotes du Rhone Villages is available from Waitrose, retailing for £8.49 and the rosé will be available in Asda at a retail price of £6.75. Two wines that are perfect for summer picnics, if summer ever arrives here on these soggy isles… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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What a pretty bottle -Elyssia, Spanish sparkling rose

Denise, would you like to come round to mine on Saturday for dinner? I can never resist a dinner invitation, especially if it’s from a good friend and so I found myself, on time for once, on the doorstep of my friend Luiz’ house with a bottle of the new Freixenet rosado sparkling wine, the Elyssia Pinot Noir Brut in hand. Freixenet, the Spanish cava usually found in it’s iconic black bottle with gold lettering is now launching a sparkling rosado wine. Freixenet has long been a big player in the cava stakes, being part of the Codorniu group, it has a wealth of expertise, state of the art wineries and plenty of marketing muscle behind it to launch a rosado sparkling on the market. The Elyssia is a blend of 85% pinot noir and 15% trepat which is a varietal native to Catalonia, it is often used in cava blends to give a uniquely Catalonian spin to the wines. We decided to have the Elyssia as an aperitif. When I pulled out the box, there were lots of oohs and ahhs, they definitely have not skimped on the marketing. The box it comes in is very smart, a soft pink with a defining silver stripe running down the middle, it looked like a very expensive champagne box. The bottle is also well posh, clear and in the shape of traditional champagne bottles, it looked very pretty sitting on the table. So how did it taste? Well, it was fine as an aperitif. I didn’t really find much in the way of defining characteristics. It was a pleasant little bit of sparkle to the evening but I thought it should have been a bit more flavourful. Seeing as it’s a pinot noir brut, I was expecting lots of red berries and red fruits on the nose and palate but didn’t really find much on either. A pleasant sparkly, not offensive in any way. I’ve had other Rosado cavas from Spain and this one, well...

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Brightwell Vineyards & English wine week – slideshow

English wine. English wine week. Do they make enough wine to support English wine week? Well, yeah, they do. There are over 250 vineyards in the British Isles and loads of them are winning awards and making fantastic wines. I’ve become a big fan lately, not only because I’m living here but also because I think that they’re producing some fantastic stuff. I have to say that the sparkling wines are the ones that are winning the awards but they’re getting better and better at making those whites and even, dare I say, reds! Last weekend, Andrew from Spittoon invited a bunch of us food and wine bloggers up to Wallingford, Oxfordshire to visit Brightwell Vineyards and have a taste or two of quality English wine. So one EARLY Saturday morning, I met up with eatlikeagirl, foodstories, pencilandspoon  (Mark, a beer blogger) and cooksister to brave the wilds of the English countryside. (A slideshow of my trip to the English countryside and vineyards) Our first stop was Brightwell Vineyards which has been around for about 20 years and they have a quite an extensive collection of varietals but most are experimental. They focus mainly on bacchus, ortega, reichensteiner, and dornfelder with pinot noir being planted next year. They are unusual in that they focus on still wines as opposed to sparkling which most English producers seem to gravitate to. Brightwell is not only situated next to the Thames but has a lovely duck pond with lots of wild birdies, horses, the friendliest dobermans I’ve ever met (the dogs would probably show you where the safe is), and pigs! Athough the wine pigs, as we nicknamed them, will be moving next year to make way for rows of pinot noir. The big hit of the tasting had to be the Oxford 2006 Regatta red, a complex spicy, woody, red wine. Pepper, graphite, ripe red fruits, raspberry, all those decriptors were being thrown about with abandon by the bloggers. I had to agree and it also had a lovely silky weight to it. Carol,...

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Almost summertime! Hungarian Rose wine – video

Last weekend was beautiful, sunny and warm, I even managed to get a bit of a tan just sitting out in the backyard. When the sun comes out and it’s warm enough to bare my legs and arms, I like to pop open a couple of rosès. We also had a lovely brunch to go along with the wines. I had a French rosè, the Jules ’08 which I got from Oddbins, £6.99 and a Hungarian rosè, the Pannonhalmi ’08 which I think retails for about £10. I had gone to a Hungarian winetasting the previous week and the producer Pannonhalmi Abbey Vineyard had given me a rosè to take home and try. The Pannonhalmi vineyards have been in existence since 996 A.D. but have had their ups and downs over the years. They fell into disuse during the Communist years but in 2000 were revived and are now thriving. I got Sarah (wine90) to be my cameraperson and here’s what I (mostly) thought of both of them… Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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