Quinta de Baixo, Bairrada, with Dirk Niepoort

Dirk Niepoort has long been interested in the terroirs of Bairrada. He thinks that the combination of the chalky clay soils and the Baga grape variety makes this potentially the best terroir in Portugal, even though he acknowledges that in many respects the region is a bit messy. ‘It is not the easiest variety in […]

Tasting the wines of the Buçaco Palace Hotel, one of Portugal's treasures

The Buçaco (Bussaco) Palace Hotel is one of Portugal’s most striking bits of Neo-Manueline architecture. It’s almost impossibly ornate, with incredibly elaborate stone carvings rammed in just about everywhere. But despite its over-the-top nature, it’s quite magical. Originally there was a convent on this hilltop site, but the current building was constructed as a palace […]

Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro's best Quintas, is sold by Cristiano van Zeller

Sad to learn that Quinta do Vale D Maria, one of the Douro’s top quintas, has been sold by Cristiano van Zeller to the Guedes family of Aveleda Vinhos, one of the leading producers in Vinho Verde. Fortunately, Cristiano already has a good relationship with the Guedes (they have family ties) and he and his […]

Tasting the debut (2000) wines from Quinta de Chocapalha, Lisboa, Portugal

It was a real treat to try the first two wines made from this domaine. Back in 2002 I attended a dinner in the Douro at which several winemakers gathered to present their work. At the time, Sanrda Tavares was the winemaker at Quinta do Vale D Maria, working alongside Cristiano van Zeller. She brought […]

Quinta do Noval Vintage Port 2015

Quinta do Noval have lately become known for what the English wine trade describe quaintly as ‘eccentric’ declarations. They released a vintage Port in 2013, for example. Now they’ve released 2015. It’s not a surprise, because 2015 was a really good vintage, and I’m surprised more people haven’t declared it. Of course, these days there’s […]

Sidecar Tinto NV Portugal: a bi-regional, amphora-aged beauty

This is a lovely wine. It’s a collaboration between Susana Esteban (who works in the Alentejo), and Filipa Pato and William Wouters (who work in Bairrada). Half of the wine comes from Portalegre in the Alentejo, and half is Baga from Bairrada. It’s made in amphora.

Susana created the Sidecar brand with a view to working […]

Quinta do Monte d'Oiro, Lisboa, Portugal

Monte d’Oiro translates as mountain of gold, and it refers to the golden colour taken in early evening by the hill on which many of the vineyards are planted. The vineyard is in the Alenquer sub region, with the Atlantic 20 km to the west and Lisbon 50 km to the south. Climate is Mediterranean […]

Two lovely naturally made reds from Portuguese winemaker Tiago Teles

A while back, Ben Henshaw of Indigo Wine sent me some samples to have a look at. Ben and I agree pretty much in terms of our palate preferences, I’ve found, and so it’s always good to taste things that he’s unearthed. He seems to have an amazing talent for finding great producers, and sometimes […]

Lisbon Family Vineyards: visiting three ambitious producers from Portugal's Lisboa region

The wine region of Lisboa is a large, diverse one. It runs up north from Lisbon, bounded by the Atlantic coast on one side and the Tejo river to the east. Until 2009, this region was known as Estremadura.

Quinta de Sant’Ana

It’s a region with a slightly downmarket image, because of its past emphasis on […]

Rui Falcao on Madeira, at MUST 2017

Rui Falcao’s presentation at MUST was on Madeira. He began by showing a picture of a bottle of Madeira from 1795, and revealed that most of his great old wine experiences have been with wines from this remarkable island. ‘The oldest wine I’ve had was from 1715,’ he says, which he thinks is the oldest […]