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 [...]

A lovely affordable Douro red from Churchill

Very impressed by this 2011 Douro red from Churchill. It’s not expensive, but it offers a real taste of the region, combining ripeness with definition. It’s stocked by Majestic and Tanners in the UK, both of whom still seem to be on the 2010, but will soon switch over to 2011. The 2010 is really [...]

The wine boats of the Douro, a film from 1923

Just stumbled on this on YouTube. It’s a film dating from 1923 showing the wine boats of the Douro bringing the wine down river to Porto. This rabelos would have been navigating a river that had fast-flowing rapids, and it would have required skill and courage to do the journey. These days the Douro is [...]

A good inexpensive Portuguese red

I was impressed by this affordable Portuguese red. yes, it has seductive ripe fruit, as you’d expect. But it has more than this: a lovely floral, meaty perfume and nice freshness. It does what an inexpensive red should do: delivering pleasure, without spoofiness. Available from the Asda Online wine shop, which also has the lovely [...]

At the New Douro tasting, with some of Portugal's finest

Today’s New Douro tasting was remarkable. Five new producers have joined the ND fold, so the tasting expanded to take in two rooms at the Portuguese Ambassador’s residence in Belgrave Square. It meant there was no lunch, which upset some trade people, but I’m of the opinion that if you put a tasting on, you [...]