Tasting Portuguese wines07-11-2022
Portugal is a country that may not be a surprising wine country, however apart from fortified wines such as Madeira and Port, very little is known about Portuguese wines. The cause of this may be found in marketing or barriers in language, but that is all irrelevant. Portugal has the perfect climate to grow grapes and has a high amount of indigenous grape varieties that makes wines from all over the country worth exploring! On November 7th, 15 Dutch importers had the chance to present their finest selection of this beautiful country. Come with us on this journey in all that Portugal has to offer.
Of course, as tastings like this go, you do not always get the chance to fully taste every wine at every stand. So, a small selection of highlights needs to be made. The importers present at the tasting were the following: - De Geluksdruif - Evers Wijn – Halfes - Het Portugees Wijnhuis – Krimpenfort Wijnen – Port & Wine Company – Horizon Wines Ovino – Portugal Wijn Import – Tire Bouchon – Casco Wijn – Viguurs in Wijn – Well of Wine – Wines Unlimited – Verbunt Verlinden.
The first stand I visited was the one of Port & Wine Company, the importer that is very involved with wines and other products from Churchill. A company founded by the Grahams family. Such as the name suspects, the same Grahams family responsible for the well-known port, but is now focussing on other products and has sold the Grahams label and company to the Symington Family. The first wine that was presented to me was the Churchill’s Estate Branco (white) Vintage 2019 from the Douro valley. Sometimes even called the ‘Chablis’ of Douro. I was very curious to see if the wine lived up to its name. Starting in the nose the tones of minerality does make you think of Chablis, but it is still very different as many fruity aromas arise in the taste like white peach and citrus. The little time it spent aging on wood does reflect in the creamy texture, yet it finishes with a beautiful lively acidity. Apart from this white, the company is most known for its Tawny Reserve and Late Bottle Vintage Port and is on its way on creating their very own Port label! Apart from that, their Madeiras from Henriques & Henriques are recommended to taste.
Halfes lets you experience the most authentic Vinho Verdes and shows people that there is more to the area than only pale straw whites with high acidity! Although their whites do have more mouthfeel than your usual Verdes, complementing the typical nose with aromas in the taste of some citrus blossom and a touch of saline, along with some tangerine, it is mostly the reds that strike the mark. Once upon a time the area was actually more known for its red wines, rather than its white. The red blend from Casa da Tojeira provided a bomb of red fruits and soft tannins. Of course, the Grande Reserva Tinto gets more depth from the aging on oak barrels. Both blends consist of indigenous grape varieties like Vinhao, Amaral and Borracal.
Evers Wijn introduced me to some sparkling wines coming from the area of Bairrada. This region is strongly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean and has a high amount of clay and limestone in the soil. The sparkling from Kompassus follows the Methode Traditionelle with a second fermentation taking place in the bottle. The Espumante Blanc Brut, consists of the Chardonnay grape with local Fernao Pires and tinta Cao, gives us a beautiful palate of yellow apple, pear, yeast notes and a lively acidity. The Espumante Blanc de Noirs consists of Baga, Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir and has spent almost three years aging in the bottle. Resulting in a very fine and elegant mousse with creamy yeast tones. This Espumante will be the perfect companion with a range of foods going from fresh fish to lighter meats.
Thinking about sustainable wine with as less added sulphites, Wines Unlimited – Salburg Wijnimport will be your go-to. Carefully only considering wineries that will work in an organic matter and after careful lab analysis, introducing clean and pure wines from Portugal to the Netherlands. The Vinho Verde and Tejo whites will have a closed of nose, but a clean crisp flavour. The one that really got my attention was the Clavis Aurea Reserva from Quinta do Casal Monteiro. Coming from the region of Tejo, which is located just above the capital Lisbon. A high influence of the river and the pine three forests give a perfect macroclimate to ripen the grapes. The Clavis has the perfect blend between Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon with the aromas of ripe red plums, blackberry, and a hint of chocolate. Perfect with red meats and mature cheeses.
Portugal Wijn Import gave me a taste of what Quinta do Piloto has to offer, a winery coming from the Penninsula de Setubal. A well-known region for its Moscatel, but also wonderful reds! The Palmela Tinto 2017 and the Palmela Tinto Reserva 2017 are a beautiful reflection of the Castelao grape with dark plums, spices, and well-integrated oak character.
Other wines that are worth exploring are:
- Caves Soa Joao, Quinta do Poco Loco baga Reserva. From De Geluksdruif
- Convento de Pasaiso Rose. From Sandor Wine Import
- Niepoort Range from Horizon Wines & Ovino
- Grahams Port Range from Verbunt Verlinden
Thank you for the organisation Melman Communications!