Spotted at the Portuguese tasting

Two meetings today meant I had less time at the annual wines of Portugal tasting, but I still managed to taste some interesting wines. Here are a few highlights.

CARM, from the Douro Superior, have an interesting new wine. It’s a varietal Touriga Nacional made without any sulfur dioxide additions, and made from organically grown grapes. The fascinating thing about this intense, dark coloured wine is how much it changes in the glass. It’s very pure, with lots of primary fruit, but hard to describe because of the transitory nature of its characteristics.

Alentejo stars Esporao have a new project in the Douro. They bought Quinta das Murcas in the Cima Corgo in 2008. The Quinta wine, made from that harvest, is really impressive. Aged in year-old French oak that previously housed the PS white, it has a sheen of oak but also intense dark fruits. Second wine Assobio is very impressive for the price (£10) with fresh, expressive fruit. I also loved the Esporao whites.

The wonderful Luis Pato has some new wines. Pato’s Rebel is a very expressive, bright, cherryish Baga that is fermented on skins from white grape Bical. It’s brilliantly labelled. He’s also making a BTT, which stands for Baga, Touriga Nacional and Tinto Cao, which is supple, elegant and expressive.

Luis Patrao, who makes wine with Esporao, also has a family vineyard of 3 hectares in Bairrada. From this, he’s making some deliciously authentic, fresh, expressive white and red Bairrada, of which the latter really caught my eye – not a big wine, but aged for quite a while in old oak to add elegance to the fresh fruit. The venture is called Vadio.

Overall, there seemed to be quite a buzz at the tasting. It seemed more vibrant than in previous years.  I could have easily spent more time there.

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