Altano Organic Douro Red 2012, a brilliant bargain

This is a brilliant bargain! It’s a grown-up, proper Douro red for less than a tenner. The Symingtons are the largest organic farmer in the Douro with 126 hectares of organic vines (clearly, there is some way to go in a region with around 36 000 hectares – the chief problem is weed control on [...]

Two from Niepoort: Bairrada and Dão

Douro star Dirk Niepoort has branched out in recent years, acquiring vineyards in Dão (Quinta da Lomba, an old vineyard purchased in 2013) and Bairrada (Quinta de Baixo, purchased in 2012). It may even be (and this is clearly heresy) that Bairrada has Portugal’s best terroirs, so it will be interesting to see what Dirk [...]

Some remarkable older wines: 1937 Noval Colheita, 1975 Deutz and a 1919 Sherry

Three nice older bottles opened at the Gonzalez Byass 10th anniversary dinner last week:

Champagne Deutz Blanc de Noir 1975 France (magnum)
This Pinot Noir comes from Grand Cru Aÿ, and the wine was resting on lees for 37 years before bottling in 2012. A yellow colour, this has a taut citrus nose with subtle pear and [...]

Soalheiro Alvarinho 2013 Vinho Verde

I love Soalheiro. They’re one of the top producers in Portugal’s Vinho Verde region, and it’s time I gave Portugal a bit more love on this blog – it was one of the key countries for getting me loved up about wine. I visited them a few years ago (report here), and this 2013 is [...]

Pre- and post-run wines from last weekend at Pichon

Last Friday night I stayed at Château Pichon in Pauillac, in preparation for the long run the next day. I was intending to drink very little, but in the end some nice bottles were opened. Ideal preparation for the run! I’ve also added some notes for a few post-run bottles. The Noval Vintage 2003, which [...]

Covela reborn - Vinho Verde, Portugal

Covela is back. I was a fan of this estate, which was previously owned by Nuno Araújo (related to Pedro Araújo of Ameal), and which made really interesting wines from a blend of Portuguese and international varieties, from biodynamically farmed vineyards on the border of the Minho and Douro regions.

But things went wrong financially [...]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2012

So, Noval has done another ‘eccentric’ declaration, this time of the 2012, and it’s quite early, too. Christian Seely announced the declaration on his blog, earlier this month. His logic – if the Port is good enough, it will be a Vintage declaration, even if it means that selection results in smaller volumes being released. [...]

Churchill's Quinta da Gricha Vintage Port 2011

OK folks, a real-time tasting note. I’m off early in the morning, but for some inexplicable reason I thought it would be a good idea to open a bottle of a really good Vintage Port (a sample half-bottle, to be precise), before going to bed. I’ll have to drink it all.

It’s Churchill’s Quinta da Gricha [...]

Este Vinhão, a delicious red Vinho Verde from Portugal

Red Vinho Verde, most of which is made from the Vinhão grape variety (known elsewhere in Portugal as Sousão), is a bit of an acquired taste. It’s hard to get hold of outside of the region, even though quite a bit of it is made. A lot is sold by carafe in restaurants. Good ones [...]

In Lisbon with the young winemakers of Portugal

So I was in Lisbon. For one night only. The occasion? The ‘Young Winemakers’ tasting. Vadio, Conceito, Hobby, Clip and Carmelao are five young-ish Portuguese producers (with six winemakers in the group – Hobby has a couple) who have collaborated together to market their wines jointly. It’s a really good idea.

Joint marketing efforts like [...]