Last night's Portuguese wine awards dinner at the Portuguese embassy was a fun event. If followed the Top 50 Portuguese Wines tasting, which was extremely well attended. The big relief on my part was that my cold/flu symptoms had just eased off enough that I was able to taste again. It would have been a big disappointment to miss this one.
The wines, this year chosen by Charles Metcalfe, showed very well on the whole. I can't think of a country that has progressed so far in wine quality in such a short time (although we do tend to forget about France because of its established classics, whereas a lot of exciting progress is being made in less well known areas). Where's there's a market for good, interesting wine, and where there exist good conditions for making it, it's likely to emerge, and this is what has happened in Portugal's premium wine regions of late.
Of the 50 wines chosen, it's hard to single out just a few for praise. You'll have to wait for the write up. With dinner, two of the wines that impressed most were from the Dao region: Alvaro Castro's remarkable Quinta da Saes 2005, and Sogrape's Callabriga 2004. Both are affordable (under £9) and are utterly delicious with it.
Pictured are Rita and Joao Soares of Alentejo estate Malhadinha Nova. You can see the rest of my pictures from the event here.