My invitation to the 2017 Wines of Portugal tasting in London arrived on the last day of February. The opportunity to meet and chat again with old winemaker friends from Portugal delighted me.
I drove to London on the 3rd of April, stayed the night in Islington and next morning, took the tube to Pimlico and walked to Lindley Hall. Spring was in the air and in Vincent Square, birds were singing and magnolia were in bloom.
I started with Vinho Verde. The ‘green wine’ is not what it used to be. In the past ten years or so, it has become sophisticated, fruit driven and immensely attractive. One of the pioneers of this revolution is Anselmo Mendes and he had his entire range on show. I tasted his newer wines – Tempo 2015, his ‘orange’ wine with several months skin contact and wood-aged Expressos 2015 and talked about the tastings and lunches we had in Melgaco last year and the year before.
Next to Anselmo was Adega Cooperativa e Regional de Moncao which has 2000 members and produces a wide range of wines often sold in the UK by the Wine Society. As I didn’t know them well, I decided to taste their entire range. All the whites were excellent and a rose with 8 g/l residual sugar and good acidity was pleasing.
Across the isle was Soalheiro. Owner/winemaker Luis Cerdera was not there but his team showed me his wonderfully mineral Allo 2016, Teramata and a new red made with 50% Vinhao and 50% Alvarinho. Perhaps the Alvarinho made the Vinhao just about drinkable!
Quinta do Crasto were showing, apart from their excellent whites and the Tinta Roriz range I was interested in. I tasted from 2011 to 2014. The 2011, as expected is a big, rich wine which will take years to come round but the wait will be worth it.
I was delighted to meet Bairrada superstar Luis Pato. Last year I visited his winery and tasted and had lunch with his daughter in his absence. “Did you have roast piglet for lunch” he asked me.
Ana Carvalho was showing the wines of Quinta Noval which is one my favourite Quintas in the Douro. We talked about our recent visits to Noval for lunch and dinner when Ana opened Nacional 1999 and 2001 for us.
Only two producers from Madeira were represented – Borges and d’Oliveira. I visited both them in Madeira only last October and remember their wines well. I was disappointed that there was nobody from the Azores.
The Symington stand was manned by representatives from Fells. Joao Vasconcelos showed me Prats + Symington Chrryseia 2014 and the 2000 – the first vintage of this Douro DOC red produced with Bruno Prats of Chateau Cos d’Estournel fame. Dow’s 1985 Vintage Port tasted so good that I decided to show it at the Harrogate Medical Wine Society’s Autumn Dinner this year.
There is a limit to what you can taste usefully in a day at an event like this. I made brief stops to taste and chat at the Niepoort and Quinta do Passadouro stands and participated in one Speed Tasting Session before stepping out in to the cool air and heading home. It’s been a great event and I look forward to the next.
- “Great! Thanks for the visit in London. Abraço.” – Luis (Cerdera), Quinta do Soalheiro, Melgaco, Portugal
- “Bom dia Bernard, Thank you for the link, I’m glad you enjoyed the Wines of Portugal tasting. Have a lovely weekend.” – Ana (Carvalho), Quinta Noval, Portuga
- “Thank you for visiting our table at the Viniportugal tasting last week, I hope that you enjoyed tasting the Madeira wines which we were presenting there. I have pleasure in attaching copies of our price lists as requested, I hope that you may consider purchasing some of our wines in future.” – Geoff Cole, Bovey Wines, Cornwall