In Portugal

So, I am on holiday. In the Algarve, Portugal. It’s very hot and sunny, and we are in close proximity to water, which is a good start. I am with my family, and the families of Fiona’s siblings, Cliff and Sandra. Kids in the age range of 13-24, with a clustering in the late teens. [...]

A big night out at the chief's!

Feeling a little tired after a wonderful evening at the chief’s last night. The chief is Harpers editor Richard Siddle, who convened a gathering of chums to eat and drink well together at his pad in Clapham. It was a very late night, but the company and the wines made it worthwhile. The evening began [...]

Another good Vinho Verde

After recommending a Vinho Verde a couple of days ago, here’s another good-un. This time it is of the spritzy variety, but there’s really nice balance here and some sweetness of fruit to counter the high acidity. It’s very drinkable, especially in the heat.

Tapada de Villar 2012 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Made by Quinta das Arcas, a [...]

Clip, a really good new Vinho Verde

Super-impressed by this new Vinho Verde, made by Pedro Barbosa, viticulturist at Douro superstar property Vale Meao. Vinho Verde is often a bit spritzy, overcropped and over-acidic, but this is a good one, made from the Loureiro grape variety.

Clip  Loureiro 2012 DO Monte de Vaia, Vinho Verde, Portugal
11% alcohol. Bright, fresh citrus nose with a [...]

Noval Nacional 2011

So, in my initial round-up of 2011 Vintage Ports, I missed Quinta do Noval, and Noval’s Nacional, as well as Romaneira, which shares a connection (Christian Seely). My notes for all three are here. I’ve also included a video of me  tasting the wonderful 2011 Nacional.

Quinta do Noval Nacional 2011
Concentrated, sweet and dense with blackberry, black [...]

A rarity, a Portuguese Chenin Blanc

I enjoyed this: it’s the first time I’ve had a Portuguese Chenin Blanc.

Now Portugal is blessed with a wide array of its own varieties, so you might ask why any serious Portuguese wine grower would look elsewhere for foreign varieties to play with. But Chenin could be a worthy exception to this rule, because it [...]

A remarkable fortified dry wine from Portugal

This is an amazing wine. It’s from a now extinct Quinta in Carcavelos, Quinta da Bela Vista. The last crop from this vineyard was in 1969, and Carlos Fonseca (of Companhia Agricola do Sanguinhal, who bottled the wine in 1991, and holds the remaining stock) reckons that this particular wine, which is a non-vintage, has an [...]

Quinta do Vesuvio 2011, and Capela da Vesuvio 2011

Tonight I’m sampling the remains of two bottles of port from last night’s declaration tasting of the various Symington properties. It’s the pair of wines from Vesuvio, the regular vintage port and the special cuvee Capela.

I was visiting the Douro during the 2011 harvest with my colleagues Chris Losh, Richard Woodard, Emily O’Hare and Patricia [...]

The Symington 2011 Ports

So, the headline news on the 2011 vintage Ports from the Symingtons. [I’ll be writing these up in more detail, hopefully this evening.]

It’s a very good vintage indeed. Potentially a great one. The samples we tried yesterday were the final blend, but not final bottled samples, and some of them showed much more open fruit, [...]

A first glimpse of 2011 Vintage Ports

So tonight was spent getting acquantied with the hotly anticipated vintage Ports from 2011, which has just been pretty universally declared.

First up, Sandeman, owned by Sogrape, who were showing their wines at The Don, in the City of London.

Luis Sottomayor (above) of Sogrape describes 2011 as a typical, classic vintage. ‘It’s not an elegant, harmonious [...]