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.
My talk was scheduled for 3.30 pm. Feeling sluggish, I had a little work to do in the press office, and also finishing my presentation. Joana Pais of Sogrape had kindly agreed to translate it into Portuguese, even if I was speaking in English. I owe her!
I was, however, faced with a slight dilemma. Alvaro Castro had invited me and a few others to lunch at Quinta da Pellada, his property in the Dao – not all that far away. This was bound to be a good experience. But I had to be sure I was back in time to give my talk. Very kindly, Alvaro assigned me a personal driver to get me back on time, if needed. It proved to be necessary.
At Pellada, the lunch was preceded by a vertical tasting of Dado/Doda – the wine that is a joint project between Alvaro and Dirk Niepoort. But rather than most joint projects, which are often silly, this is a joint project in the truest sense of the word.
Half the wine comes from Alvaro’s Dao vineyards; half from Dirk’s Douro vineyards, and then it is blended together. It started off in 2000, which is where we began our vertical. The wines are fantastic, and 2004 and 2008 were the standouts for me. But all were really good.
This was followed by a tasting of Alvaro’s back catalogue, together with lunch. Alas, time ran out, and I didn’t get to try many of the wines. I had time for a quick bite of lamprey, though. A remarkable flavour experience.