Lunch with Dirk Niepoort at Trinity, Clapham

Last week we had a wonderful lunch at Trinity Restaurant in Clapham Old Town, with Dirk Niepoort and his wines. Trinity is a great place, and Adam Byatt had prepared a lovely informal sharing menu based on pyrenees kid goat cooked on charcoal. This is the sort of food I love. There was roast goat [...]

Vinhão: red Vinho Verde

I love red Vinho Verde. It’s just so distinctive and different. Usually (but not always) it’s made from a single variety, Vinhão. This has a thick skin, and the result is inky dark, vivid wines. It’s also widely grown in the Douro, where it goes under the name Sousão.

Some people think of it as a [...]

The New Douro Tasting 2016

So, today: the New Douro Tasting at the gritty Vinyl Factory in Soho. I went and tasted widely. I’d just been in the Douro with the Douro Boys, so I didn’t taste their wines here. Instead, I focused on other producers, and found lots to like. It seems that even some Douro table wines that [...]

Four Douro table wines from Poças Junior

Founded in 1918, Poças Júnior is one of the few Portuguese-owned Port companies still in the hands of the original family. Port is still their main focus, accounting for 80% of their revenue, with an emphasis on tawnies. But Douro table wines are an increasing slice of Poças’ business. Their first Douro table wine was [...]

O Gaveto, Porto, a brilliant seafood restaurant

I had one of my meals of the year at O Gaveto in Porto, a couple of weeks ago.

It’s a traditional Portuguese seafood restaurant in Matosinhos, the port area of Porto. It’s run by brothers João and Jose Silva, and the restaurant was started by their father.

The food is superb, and the service fabulous. The [...]

In the Douro: Niepoort

Niepoort’s Quinta do Nápoles

Next stop on the Douro trip: Niepoort.

It was a real pleasure to spend a few days at Quinta do Nápoles with one of my favourite people in the world of wine, Dirk Niepoort. Dirk picks early, so when we visited harvest, this year a little later in the Douro, was well [...]

In the Douro: Vallado

Francisco Ferreira

After visiting Vallado’s property in the Douro Superior earlier in the week, it was time to visit the original Quinta, which is on the border of the Baixo and Cima Corgo subregions. Vallado has some lovely old vineyards, and we tasted the whites at the top of the hill with Francisco Ferreira, winemaker [...]

Foot-treading grapes at Quinta de Vargellas, Douro

One of the remarkable things about Port wine is foot treading grapes. For top quality Port, it’s necessary to extract as much as possible from the skins as fast as possible, but also as gently as possible. The best way to do this is in shallow fermentation vessels called lagares, which are usually made of [...]

In the Douro: Quinta do Crasto

Quinta do Crasto is one of the most beautiful properties in the Douro, perched on a steeply sloped promontory sticking out from the right bank of the Douro, in the heart of the Cima Corgo.

We parked our rental car in Pinhão and caught the train to Ferrão. It’s a 7 minute ride along the bank [...]

In the Douro: Quinta do Vale D. Maria

Cristiano Van Zeller

We arrived at Vale Dona Maria late afternoon in a torrential downpour. A rather sodden Cristiano Van Zeller walked over to us and greeted us warmly. It was nice to be back: this is the third time I’ve visited in four years. It’s a beautiful spot, and Cristiano purchased it from his [...]