jamie goode's wine blog: Some more Portuguese wines

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Some more Portuguese wines

Been trying some more Portuguese wines as I look to firm up my Top 50 selection for the tasting in January. I'm just so impressed by how many serious wines are currently being made in Portugal. It's a very exciting wine scene, and choosing just 50 wines will be tough. The good news is that all the wines in the tasting will be well worth seeking out, although I need to qualify that this is a personal selection, and others would likely come up with different lists to mine.

Five wines open at the moment. Two are from Joao Portugal Ramos - the Marques de Borba Reserva 2004 Alentejo and the Quinta de Foz de Arouce Vinhas Velhas de Santa Maria 2005 Beiras. Of these, I prefer the latter: a tight-wound, serious expression of the Baga grape with great potential for ageing beautifully. Two are from Quinta de Sant'Ana, an interesting estate in Estremadura. The 2006 Tinto is deliciously bright and meaty, with some of the characters of a northern Rhone Syrah (meat, olives, spice, as well as vibrant fruit). The 2005 Reserva is a varietal Aragonez, and is modern, dense, ripe, pure and a bit spicy. Both are really good wines. Finally, a Douro red: Quinta do Tedo 2006. This is actually quite serious, and great value for money at £9.99. It shows lovely dense fruit with a nice minerally, expressive character, unadorned by too much oak. Impressive, even if the label design is a bit crazy.



At 1:55 PM, Blogger Arvid Rosengren said...

Jamie, one of the wines that struck me the most on my September Douro trip was one that didn't even have a label yet. Dirk Niepoort is making a wine called Robustos (first vintaget will be 2004) produced in what he called a "traditional" fashion.

It turns out it was actually the first wine he wanted to make when taking over the firm but his father rejected the idea. Now he's giving it another go. To me, it was one of the best, if not the best wine of the trip. Very, very complex.

If you haven't tried it yet, you need to get a bottle asap.

Other favourites are the Redoma Reserva Branco from Niepoort also, Adelaide from Quinta do Vallado, Quinta do Côtto Grande Escolha and CV from Dona Vale Maria.

At 3:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jamie, i do enjoy reading the reviews of the portuguese wines, that still keep surprising one in a positive way. The endemic mix of grape varieties is simply a treasure. Regarding the funny little baga grape - a whole series by L Pato has lately been developed which might prove very intersting.

Besides, as previously corrosponded, I look forward to see how the B Velha (2000) stands out - once it gets to the rest of Europe. Thanks for posting.

Anders, Copenhagen

At 9:31 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Some of these wines were sent in to Jamie by me. I'm one of a number of die-hard importers of Portuguese wines into the UK. I don't have an ounce (or centilitre, come to that) of Portuguese blood, but have been totally captivated by the charm, elegance, quality and downright good value of Portuguese wines across the whole range of prices. Yet the wines struggle to sell in the public arena. I'd love to know of peoples' opinions about why this is, and what the perception of Portuguese wines is in other countries, outside the UK. Here in the UK, for example we have a regional wine merchant (old, traditional, long established) offering en primeur the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and.......the Douro (!). Who's have thought it?
And journalists (wineanorak included) give the wines high praise on an alomost constant basis. Yet the wines continue to 'fly under the radar' in the mind of the public.

Anyone out there who knows how to untie the Gordian knot and let me know how these marvellous wines can find their way to market, please let me know. Answers on a postcard...or on this blog

At 7:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

where in the UK can I buy these Douros ?

At 11:43 AM, Blogger Kay said...

Dear Jamie,
So good to read about our Douro DOC, and thank you.
You are absolutely right about the label and we are in the process of changing it, and will let you know when that is reality.
If you find yourself in the Douro, please let us know and come by and taste, if not with Vincent (my husband and owner) or with Jorge Alves (our winemaker).
Salut e happy holidays,
Kay Bouchard

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Nick Oakley said...

Anonymous - only the Quinta do Tedo is from the Douro. Kay can best answer your question about where to obtain it.

The Quinta de Sant'Ana is from the Estremadura (Lisbon's northern flanks). The Foz de Arouce is from the Beiras (central belt, midway between Lisbon and Porto), and the Marques de Borba is from Estremoz in the Alentejo, due east of Lisbon, close to the Spanish border. I think I am right in saying that the Douro accounts for only 1% of table wine production in Portugal (prepared to be corrected here, but it's a very low figure. The serious volumes are made in the southern areas of Portugal)

The Quinta de Santana wines (Estremaduura) are stocked at Borough Wines of Borough Market, London. The quinta has a nice website wwww.quintadesantana.com

Foz de Arouce can be found at Wattisfield wines in Suffolk, and the Marques de Borba reserve at The Wine Cellar, Kentish town.
The regular Marques de Borba is available from both Tanners and Adnams online. Hope this helps


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