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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Thursday snapshot – Quinta do Noval 1937 Colheita

Sep 20, 12 Thursday snapshot – Quinta do Noval 1937 Colheita

Posted by in Portugal

I was in the Douro about a week and a half ago as a guest of the port house, Quinta do Noval. The very charming Mr. Christian Seely (managing director) and his wife, Corinne were our hosts. We had numerous colheitas* at dinner the first night and found we were all in agreement that colheita really is an unsung hero of the port family. Christian loves them and although I know many vintage port wine buffs turn up their nose at them, I love them too. At some point during dinner Christian mentioned the 1937 and somebody else mentioned cigars and before you know it, he was bringing out boxes of cigars for us to choose from and popping open the 1937 Colheita. It was a magical evening on the terrace of the Quinta, looking down at the silvery ribbon that was the Douro river at the bottom of the valley floor, sipping the old tawny, puffing away on a fine Cuban cigar and basically solving all the port wine world’s problems. And that Colheita? It was a fantastic companion to the Montecristo I was puffing away on. The intense flavours and aromas of the port and cigar melding into one, a wickedly decadent experience. People often pair cigars with vintage port or red wine but honestly, an old colheita can be just as good. Yet another reason to love the Douro…. *colheita is a tawny port made from a single harvest Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Scary fish and Churchill’s port & wines

Apr 11, 12 Scary fish and Churchill’s port & wines

Posted by in Food and Wine, Portugal, Travel

EEEEKKKKKK! That is one scary looking fish. I bet you’re wondering what exactly it has to do with wine. Well, that is what greeted me after my tour of the cellars of Churchill’s Port’s new visitor centre and lodge in Gaia, Portugal. It’s not some mutant fished out of a polluted river in South East Asia, it was actually our dinner. And a very tasty dinner it was. The salmon (yes, that’s what it is) had been smoked for hours in a old port wine barrel before being plated up and left to scare me upon emerging from the cellars. Despite it’s appearance, it was delicious, having an intensely salmon flavour without the oiliness that so often accompanies smoked salmon. The flesh was flaky and dry but not dried out – served with a mustard dill sauce, it was divine and paired with Churchill’s table rosè wine, a perfect way to end a Friday. Churchill’s Port was my last stop on a 4 day trip to the Douro Valley and Porto, Portugal with Discover the Origin. DTO’s mission is to introduce us to the lesser known but still amazing food and wine regions of Europe, the Douro Valley and port wine being one of the areas on their list. The very charming Johnny Graham, founder of Churchill’s, was our host and happily led us through a tasting of not only Churchill’s port wines but also the line of table wines that they are now producing. Churchill’s is a young port house, founded only 30 years ago after Graham’s was bought out by a big conglomeration. Johnny found that he couldn’t use his surname but he could use his wife’s to found his own port wine house. The new visitor centre and tasting room we were visiting is situated overlooking the Douro River in Gaia and is where Churchill’s currently ages their ports. Speaking to Johnny though, he told us that they are currently in the process of building a new winery in the Douro...

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sampling 100 year old port straight from the barrel

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.11234628&w=450&h=325&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26] 1st collector for sampling 100 year old port straight from the ba…Follow my videos on vodpod Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInPocketRedditGoogleTumblrEmailPrintPinterestLike this:Like...

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Just Chillin’ with Port

In the middle of summer the last thing I would want to drink is Port. Or so I thought until the most recent tasting put on by Bluebird wine shop. Penny, the manager, has done a great job of arranging interesting and plentiful wine tastings this summer. The trick in the summer is chillin’, not only you but the wine as well. Port may have a stuffy, stodgy reputation but it was a fabulous to drink once it’d been cooled down a bit. Henry Shotten, the winemaker was in attendance and he recommended slightly chilled port, not just for Tawney’s but Vintage Port as well. Purists are probably frothing at the mouth at the idea of slightly chilled Port but it does work. For the complete history of Port click here, fascinating and quite illustrious but I’d rather talk about what I drank. The Warres Otima 10 year old Tawny was served up nicely chilled. The Otima bottle and packaging was redesigned in 1999 to give it a more contemporary feel and appeal to younger consumers. It has proven to be very successful going from sales of 2000 cases in 1999 to over 28,0oo cases in 2007. The tawny style of port is not as heavy as vintage port, lighter in colour and feel. The wine is aged in small oak barrels allowing for controlled oxidation. The ports used in the blend are a minimum of 10 years old but can be older. Tawny is released ready to drink, no need to lay it down or wait decades to drink. As a matter of fact, a stopper is used instead of cork because the wine is not made to be laid down. The Otima was tawny pale amber with a reddish tinge and flecks of dark brown on the edges. Despite the fact that it was chilled, aromas of candied nuts, nutty orange peel and dried fruits wafted up and I felt like diving right into the glass. It had a delicate, honeyed palate...

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