The wine boats of the Douro river

This is a great film. It’s titled ‘The wine boats of the Douro river’, and it represents a very different Douro than that of today, shot in 1923. This was before the Douro was dammed in the late 1960s/early 1970s with five different dams, which converted it from a sometimes rather wild river into the [...]

Two from Portugal: Vale Meão 2005 and Casa de Mouraz Elfa 2010

Portugal is a wonderful wine country, and one that I’ll be focusing on a bit this year, after having let it suffer mild neglect at my hands. Here are two lovely wines. One, a leading Douro red with almost a decade’s bottle age, and the other a distinctive field blend from Dão.

Casa de Mouraz Elfa [...]

The Portuguese Pinot Noir, Quinta de Sant'Ana

Pinot Noir? From Portugal?

With so many of its own grape varieties to focus on, you’d think Portugal has little to gain from trying to make Pinot Noir. But why not? If the climate and soils are there for making serious Pinot, it’s worth a go. Pinot rocks, after all. It’s especially worth a go if [...]

Cervejaria Ramiro, Lisbon - a must visit

Earlier in the year, when I was in Lisbon with the fabulous Young Winemakers of Portugal (who, incidentally, have just been written up on the BBC news site), I was taken to the Cervejaria Ramiro (Av. Almirante Reis, nº1 – H1150-007 Lisboa, Phone: +351 21 885 10 24). This is a remarkable place, a must [...]

Sandeman Vau Vintage Port 2003

I remember the excitement of discovering that Oddbins were selling the 1997 version of this wine for just £5 for a half bottle back in 2001. This was in the early days of wineanorak, and I recall drinking quite a few of these. Now the 2003 vintage (a very good one for Port) is being [...]

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 [...]

Wine & Culinary forum: the Primum Familiae Vini tasting

The Primum Familiae Vini are an association of top European wine domaines, and we were treated to a tasting of some of their wines, presented by Christophe Brunet, wine ambassador of the PVF and Fiona Beckett, food and wine journalist. They were providing the chat, with Fiona’s brief being suggesting suitable pairings for the wines. [...]

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 [...]