A funny thing happened on the way to the S. Africa mega tasting….Portugal

restuarant show

Brompton Hall, Earls Court

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!


Miguel Leal


Filoco branco 2007

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, so different and interesting! 14% alcohol but just a fab wine, thinking it would be a perfect partner for grilled fish or a nice firm cheese.


Obidos' classic label

There were quite a few reds but the one that really stood out – the Quinta das Ceijeiras Reserva 2003 from the D.O.C. Obidos. Obidos is part of the Estremadura region which is situated north of Lisbon.  The grapes benefits from a long ripening season and their proximity to the cool breezes of the Atlantic coast. The DOC takes it’s name from the medieval fortressed town of Obidos which sits on top of a hill and surrounded by a fortified wall. The vineyards are in the surrounding area. The Quinta das Ceijeras is a blend of castelao, aragonez and touriga nacional and is aged for 2  years in oak vats before moving onto the bottle for another 2 -3 years. There is some serious mellowing going on here but those varietals do need a bit of softening before drinking. The wine had a sweet and spicy nose, hints of prunes and black pepper but even so, it was still quite fresh on the palate, fleshy ripe black fruits with a nice vanilla spicey edge to it, long and supple, this wine just slide down with a mocha finish. A good match with something big and gamey, venison perhaps or a strong cheese. This wine recently won the Trophee Prestige at the Les Citadelles du vin in Bordeaux and a bronze medal at the Decanter Wine Awards 2009. 14% alcohol.

Just a side note on this wine. It’s one of the oldest Portuguese table wine brands and has been produced since the 19th century. The label is a bit old school but they’ve been marketing it this way since 1926. Hey, if it ain’t broke….

I’m going to Portugal this week for the European Winebloggers Conference 2009, can’t wait to see what vinous treasures I’ll uncover while I’m there!

All wines are available from Casa Leal


  1. Dear California chick,

    Thank you so much for your appreciation of our wine (Quatro Caminhos white 2008). It’s your kind words that make it a true pleasure to produce it.

    Thank you again and I hope you have a fantastic time in Lisbon.

    P.S.: If you have the time and desire, please come visit us in Alentejo. It’s a bit far from Lisbon (2 hour drive) but the scenary is worth it.

    • Thanks for stopping by! I am sooo looking forward to my trip to Lisbon. I don’t think I will have time for Alentejo this time but I’m sure this won’t be my last trip to Portugal as I really like the wines you are producing.

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