A convincing Portuguese Pinot Noir, but will it get approval from the authorities?

A while back I reported on a visit to Portuguese winery Quinta de Sant’ana in the Lisboa region. I was particularly impressed by their Pinot Noir, which showed lovely elegance and varietal character.

Now it’s in bottle, and looking really good. However, they’ve run into problems with the authorities, who think the wine is too light. But this is Pinot Noir! It’s not supposed to be a rich, heavy, dark-coloured wine. It will be a shame if this has to be bottled as a table wine – although the recent rule changes mean that table wines can now carry the vintage and grape variety, they won’t be able to label this Quinta de Sant’ana.

Quinta de Sant’ana Pinot Noir 2009 Lisboa, Portugal
A lovely, varietally true Pinot Noir, showing fresh cherry fruit with a subtly green sappy character. It’s nicely textured with lovely freshness and good ripeness. There are subtle spicy notes and some fine, grippy tannins in the background. A bit like a Marlborough Pinot Noir in style, but very fine. 91/100

6 comments to A convincing Portuguese Pinot Noir, but will it get approval from the authorities?

  • Yes, I know the feeling! A friend and fellow winemaker, Alfredo Maestro from Peñafiel (Spain) just had a wine rejected by his local bureaucrats. It was a white wine made with Albillo grapes and it was rejected becasue they though the colour was too intense, as opposed to the pale, almost colourless standard they impose. Go figure!

  • And a Brew Dog IPA in the background! Tasty.

  • I can appreciate the authorities wanting the wines of a certain region to be made in the traditional style, so as to maintain the meaning of the regional name. However, this attitude discourages experimentation, and I prefer to see more wines like this Pinot Noir on the market, not fewer.

    There’s nothing misleading on this label (the grapes are Pinot Noir, and they come from Quinta de Sant’Ana). Anyone familiar with the wines of Quinta de Sant’Ana would know this is likely to be different from the traditional wines of the area, and therefore no harm comes from including the name. Let’s hope the wine triumphs over the bureaucracy!

  • Tom Bexton

    Jamie; can I ask when the rules were changed to allow vintage and grape variety of the table wines? Thanks

  • Tom, I’m not sure exactly, but I found this on the EU website –

  • Tom Bexton

    Cheers will check it out

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