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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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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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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A little bit of Portugal comes to London

One of the best things about my job is that I have the luxury of taking time off to attend all the fantastic trade wine tasting events in London. Wines of …Austria, Italy, Tuscany, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, just to name a few of the events this past month. I went to the Annual tasting of Portuguese wines sponsored by Viniportugal, week before last, at Lord’s Cricket Ground in north London. One of the very first events I blogged about was the annual tasting last year so it was with great anticipation that I traipsed up to St. John’s Wood. Viniportugal’s mission is to bring their delectable wines to the masses and they did a pretty good job of showcasing the best that Portugal has to offer. Oh sure, there were the usual Ports and big reds but there were also plenty of new and exciting wines around. I wish that I’d had time to sample the Ports, there was some serious vintages laying around, 1969 Madeira, vintage Ports from the 80’s as well as 20 and 30 year old Tawneys but I resisted because I knew if I started on the ports, I’d be a goner by dinner. I wandered around the hall with Rob from He was into trying all the whites so I went along with him. Some of the standouts were made from the Arinto varietal, a grape that is indigenous to Portugal and gives up wines that are fresh and crisp but with a nice heft to them and lovely green apple/citrus fruit flavours and aromas. Rob preferred the unoaked versions and so did I. The Portuguese also experiment with non-native varietals and one such wine was a blend of arinto and chardonnay from the Quinta da Alorna Reserve white 2008. Only the chardonnay had been fermented in oak so as not to overpower the delicacy of the arinto. The result was a creamy, buttery mouthful, vanilla in da house but not takin’ over the mic, allowing the baked...

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Wines of Portugal Tasting – reds

Another cold, rainy day. Sometimes, I think, “wouldn’t it be nice to live somewhere warm and sunny, like Portugal?” Then I could enjoy their vinous offerings all the time. Last time I wrote about my fav whites from the Portugese wine tasting, now I’m doing the reds. Touriga Nacional, Baga, Jaen, Tinto Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeiro, Aragonez, Castalao and a smattering of international varieties were all there along with other lesser known Portuguese varieties. I did the reds after the whites, as you do, and even thought I was being a very conscientious spitter, my notes are not as comprehensive. Casa Santos Lima, producer of the aforementioned Quinta de Bons Ventos also did a soft and fruity red from the Alenquer DOC – Quinta das Setencostas, a blend primarily of Castelao, Camarate, Tinta Miuda and Preto Martinho. Luis Pato had some impressive Bagas on tasting. The baga has a bit more structure and tannin then Touriga Nacional. Luis’ Vinha Barrosa 200 ws clean and fresh, bright eyed and bushy tailed with lively underlying fruit. Ayeshe, my colleague who was tasting with me, loved it. The Vinhas Velhas 2005 was another big wine with lots of  morello cherry, black cherry and plenty of tannins to give it backbone.  I scribbled black forest gateau somewhere on my notes but maybe I was getting a bit caught up in the tasting. Baga gives wines that were built to last. These are not wines that will go gently into that good night. Herdade Paco do Conde from Alentejo DOC was another producer that I really liked. I think I was more bowled over by their slick brochures at first but the wines definitely passed the taste test. The Paco do Conde 2006 is a real winner. A blend of Aragones, Cab, Trincadeira and Alicante, I like meaty, savory wines and this one hit all the right notes. A bit of autumnal woodiness along with a big, smoky bacon nose hits you first and then onto the palate. More...

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