The great Portuguese fortified wine tasting

I’m in the process of writing up the great Portuguese fortified wine tasting in Linhares on Saturday morning. This was one of the most remarkable tastings that I’ve been involved with, and it rather took me by surprise.

I was expecting a walk-around tasting, of the sort we normally have in the wine trade. Yet it [...]

A couple more Portuguese wine discoveries

The great thing about visiting Portugal is that there are always more wines to discover. Here are a couple from this week.

First, up, a couple of Dao wines from new producer Julia Kemper. These are organic, and delicious. The red is really fresh, intense and vivid – still youthful and showing a little oak, but [...]

Day two at the Portuguese conference

The church at Linhares, where we were staying

So after a horridly late night, day 2 at the conference began. There were a few more people in the audience. Jancis Robinson and Tim Atkin were due to speak in the morning – both of them are quite a draw. And it was a beautiful day outside.

Maria [...]

A fun dinner in Portugal with some nice wines

Had a great time last night at the conference dinner. The food was bad, but the company was good and the wines were excellent. I’m pictured above with a magnum of Charme 2007. Dirk Niepoort also brought along Redoma 2007, Batuta 2007 and a host of colheitas.

A new discovery for me: Dona Berta. Superb old [...]

At a conference in Portugal, day 1

I’m in the small town of Celorico da Beira, for the the first Encontro e Prova Internacional de Vinho. It’s a wine conference.

Celorico is on the fringes of the Serra d’Estrela on the edge of the Dao region, where it meets the Beira Interior.

The conference is being held in a gymnasium, which has been nicely [...]

Le Soula Blanc 2007 - a remarkable wine from the Roussillon

I really like this. It’s the latest release from Roussillon producer Le Soula, a partnership between UK wine merchant Richards Walford and celebrated winemaker Gerard Gauby, who discovered this wonderful spot in the Fenouilledes. It’s a blend of eclectic varieties – the vineyard composition of Le Soula reads as follows:

Macabeu 4 ha (on average planted [...]

The art of the restaurant wine list

Just finished the final day’s judging of Imbibe Magazine’s Sommelier Wine Awards. It has been an interesting experience, tasting with sommeliers and thinking about wines not only in terms of their intrinsic qualities, but also rather practically in terms of where they’d fit onto a restaurant wine list.

During a break in the tasting, I chatted [...]

A superb Malaga from Bodegas Bentomiz

Bentomiz is a new venture in Spain’s Malaga region, started by a Dutch couple Andre Both and Clara Verheij in 2003 (their website is here). This is a region that is undergoing something of a revival – another notable new Malaga is the one made by Jorge Ordonez (which I have blogged on here). I [...]

Nicodemi's Neromoro - a serious Montepulciano

This is a striking wine. It’s incredibly concentrated and intense, but also has a bit of class. It’s modern, but still has some soul. Currently, it still tastes very youthful, which suggests it may cellar quite well.

Nicodemi ‘Neromoro’ Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo Riserva 2006 Italy
14.5% alcohol. Deep coloured. Intense, dense, sweet dark cherry and plum fruit, with [...]

FFS update, as spring approaches

Had a nice walk with the dogs today on Hounslow Heath. It has taken a while to get used to walking a pair of dogs, as opposed to just the one.

If anything, though, it has shown us that RTL was actually quite a difficult individual. Compared with her, FFS is much easier and more compliant. [...]