Posts Tagged : wine

Biodynamic Wine by Monty Waldin

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Bruno Ferreira

It is the latest pearl added to the already wide range of books devoted to the world of wine with the seal of the publisher Infinite Ideas. Each title of “The Infinite Ideas Classic Wine Library” covers a region, country or type of wine and if we take into account the other books that have already been addressed here then we can say that the quality is once again on a very high level.

This book entitled Biodynamic Wine deals with a controversial and argument generator subject. On one side we have the admirers and followers/practitioners and on the other a lot of skeptics and nonbelievers. The author is Monty Waldin, an authority when it comes to organic and biodynamic wine, also a critic, consultant and winegrower. The book is an open window to the biodynamic wine, a true source of knowledge where the author explains the processes and philosophies of this way of being in the world of wines with a fluid and engaging writing, step by step.

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Biodynamic Wine by Monty Waldin

Over the 222 pages we are guided through the Biodynamic wine world. Do not expect evaluation of wines or producers because you simply won’t find any. Once the necessary introduction is made we are taken on a trip to the origins of Biodynamic where Rudolf Steiner’s figure gets an expected important role. In the following chapters we are told about all the prepared, where we get to know among other things why the cow’s horns are stuffed of manure and buried at some point of the year, this and much more, always guided by the most varied techniques and alternative treatments that are listed and explained one by one. How important is the vortex by the time it’s necessary to streamline the prepared? Or which is the connection of the bodies to the cosmos and why the work is done following the celestial rhythm? Finally, a chapter dedicated to the Demeter certification, the accuracy is the same as always as is the will to continue reading and understanding this way of being that is increasingly gaining supporters among wine producers around the world.

A book of reference and mandatory for those that have in some way a connection to the fantastic world of wine, both for professionals as for wine lovers.

Quinta de Santa Cristina

Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira

António Pinto is a successful businessman in the fields of electricity and electrical appliances who fell in love for the wine production in a family property in Celorico de Basto.

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The team – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Supported by his wife and daughter he started making wine in 2004. Always with the collaboration of the oenologist Jorge Sousa Pinto that has extensive experience throughout the Vinho Verde region. The wine company is called Garantia das Quintas and its main brand is Quinta de Santa Cristina. The wines initially marketed were solely a white and a red, but quickly appeared more varieties, both by the producer’s and oenologist’s will and by the market request. And it wasn’t before long that the sparkling wine appeared, which is today a reference in the region. In 2013 they moved forward with the construction of a new winery right next to the residence that they have there and pratically in the middle of the vineyards with the Senhora da Graça hill flanking.

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The new winery – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

It could not be prettier! In a recent visit to the new winery we were able to experience its enormous functionality alongside a nice aesthetic, lacking only a tasting room that will surely have soon.

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The new winery – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The new winery – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In addition to the latest technologies, including the cold, they also constructed a granite lagar where some of the wines are still foot treaded, maintaing the tradition.

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The granite lagar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The vineyards – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The grapes come from the 40 hectares of vineyards, most of which in its surroundings but at different altitudes producing several grape varieties of the region such as Alvarinho, Arinto, Avesso, Azal, Trajadura and the curious and unique Batoca, the only one producing it. But we’ll get into that later.

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“Sabores da Quinta” – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

After visiting the modern winery and glimpsing the immense vineyard around, the producer invited the visitors to follow him to a restaurant of the region, “Sabores da Quinta”. Over there the producer, his daughter, the oenologist and the viticulturist guided us on a journey through the main wines while making interesting connections with the food, a very didactic tasting. After all, the wine is meant to accompany the food!

We started off with the base wine from 2015 composed of Arinto, Azal, Loureiro and Trajadura. Simple, very fresh and easy drinking. Quite fresh.

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Quinta de Santa Cristina white 2015 – Photo Provided by Quinta de Santa Cristina | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santa Cristina Alvarinho-Trajadura 2015 – Photo Provided by Quinta de Santa Cristina | All Rights Reserved

Then came the Alvarinho Trajadura 2015, a combination of two varieties that are already used to one another. A wine full of fruit but without exaggeration, fresh and well-balanced acidity, very gastronomic and a good match for the snacks that started coming to the table.

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“Pataniscas” – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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“Feijoada” – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Ham, alheira, black-eyed peas salad, cod’s “pataniscas”, “feijoada” and liver cooked in onions also connected very well with the interesting Alvarinho Loureiro, showing the best of both grape varieties. Fresh, somewhat floral and tropical, excellent acidity, a surprising connection.

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Quinta de Santa Cristina Loureiro-Alvarinho – Photo Provided by Quinta de Santa Cristina | All Rights Reserved

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Roasted Cod – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Then it was time for the Alvarinho, one of this producer’s classics. A wine full of elegance, thin, with slightly fruity and tropical notes, bulky with a long finish.

Another wine matching very well with the snacks, but also with the roasted cod in the oven with roasted potatoes and plenty of olive oil that had arrived at the table in the meanwhile.

But the big surprise of the afternoon was a white wine made from a rare grape variety of this sub-region Basto, the Batoca. And this producer is its sole holder. The first bottling was from the 2015 vintage. Full of elegance, fruity on the nose and with some intensity, very balanced and fresh. A beautiful surprise.

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Roast beef – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santa Cristina Batoca – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

We were already enjoying the roast beef in the oven with nuts and oven rice, when it was served the Santa Cristina white Reserva 2014 made with some of the Quinta’s varieties, of which were chosen the best, with slight wood aging.

Although it has some tropical it also features dried fruit, has a great structure, it’s very elegant in the mouth, silky with a great finish.

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Santa Cristina white Reserva 2014 – Photo Provided by Quinta de Santa Cristina | All Rights Reserved

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Quinta de Santa Cristina Bruto white 2013 – Photo Provided by Quinta de Santa Cristina | All Rights Reserved

Before the desserts we tasted one of the Quinta’s sparklings, the Bruto white 2013 made with Arinto. With very thin bubble, showing itself very citric, full of freshness, with some toast in the mouth, elegant and seductive. A beautiful ending.

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Senhora da Graça hill – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Outside, the Senhora da Graça hill continued superb…

Quinta de Pancas, a classic’s reborn

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

I’m still in my little tour through the beautiful Quintas around the city of Lisbon. This time I went to visit the prestigious Quinta de Pancas that has been placing so much and such good wine on the table of consumers in recent decades. Quinta de Pancas, founded in 1495, is located 45 km northwest of Lisbon, in Santo Estevão e Triana’s parish, the so-called “Alto Concelho de Alenquer” close to Pancas. Between the Serra de Montejunto and the flatlands of the Tejo’s right bank, in between mountains, hills, valleys and plains Quinta de Pancas has 50 hectares of vineyards. The soils are predominantly calcareous, varying its origin as the altitude of the respective plots and slopes. Regarding the red grape varieties, the highlight goes to Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Merlot, Castelão, Alicante Bouschet, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In the white varieties we have the Arinto, Chardonnay and Vital.

For years its wines won the tastes of the most demanding consumers. The Special Selection were famous and greed targets in the 90s where shone among others the Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, blinking the eye to a profile inspired by the Bordeaux wines that this house has never hid. At the end of that decade there was a wine that was placed on the market that would be the top of the range, a wine that still brings me fond memories, a wine of excellence that went by the name of Quinta de Pancas Premium. Then the time went by and we witnessed a renewal of the products, some of the charm was lost but not the “savoir faire”. An example of that was the launch of the Grande Escolha.

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Solar de Pancas – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Nowadays we witness Quinta de Pancas’ rebirth, with a new strategy that includes, along with Quinta do Cardo, the splitting of Companhia das Quintas. Now it has a renewed image, signed by Rita Rivotti. The wines, including labels, were also target of renewal and were presented recently. The entry range are the Pancas, red and white version, both from the 2015 vintage, a simple and very direct profile, focused on fresh and inviting ripe fruit. They are in my opinion a very fine buy for daily consumption.

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The new wines – Photo Provided by Quinta de Pancas | All Rights Reserved

In the range Quinta de Pancas there is the red 2014 and the white 2015. The white shows itself better, the red is more cohesive and coy losing to the more cheerful and dust clear Pancas 2015. But the white shows all the candor of ripe, fresh and airy fruit, with slight rounding. It is a clear leap forward in quality and pleasure. To end with, the two Reserva that have also the white and red version. The white is from 2014 and 100% Arinto. The red is from 2013. The Reserva white aged in wood for 8 months, enough to calm its spirit and bring greater complexity to the set, which is dominated by ripe fruit with citrus reminding a lemon tart, light vanilla and biscuit. Palate matching, freshness supported by a beautiful structure. The Reserva red 2013 has also a lot to show, a more rounded profile with red and plump fruit notes, full of harmony and flavor, little wood presence that gives its place for fruit to stand out. A palate with vigor, tasty and with very good freshness packing the tasting, asking for food around. Based on this brief tasting, the wines are still aging, I will say that the Quinta de Pancas’ future is once more promising.

Contacts
Quinta de Pancas
Porto da Luz, 2580-383 Alenquer
Tel: (+351) 263733219
Email: info@companhiadasquintas.pt
Website: www.companhiadasquintas.com

Soalheiro – Alma Mater

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

A history that began in the 70s when João António Cerdeira with the support of his father, António Esteves Ferreira, planted the first vineyard of Alvarinho. And so, in 1982 at Quinta de Soalheiro was born the first Alvarinho brand in Melgaço, which is nowadays managed by Maria Palmira Cerdeira and her children. An endure that was done through the generations of the Cerdeira family. This was my first contact with Alvarinho, curiously with the Soalheiro Alvarinho 1994, at the time a young man. So is case to say that with the passing of time, after the affirmation, the consecration and at last the project consolidation, comes the time for breaking new ground and challenges with the launch of new wines.

These are new ways to understand and show the Alvarinho grape variety, the first approach was the Quinta de Soalheiro from 1999 or so. More recently came the Primeiras Vinhas followed by the Reserva. And even more recent are these two releases, of which one is a première and the other is the second vintage. Debuting we have the Soalheiro Alvarinho Granit 2015, the result of a specific selection from vines planted above 150 meters in granitic soils. The fermentation was made at a temperature above normal for white wines and in stainless steel with battonage on fine lees. The goal is to show the variety’s expression as well as soil’s expression in an austere, mineral and drier side. The highlight goes to the good exuberance with focus on fruit associated with Alvarinho, a very clean profile with great elegance. The palate is lined with fruit and a solid mineral background wrapped in dryness. A very precise and focused wine, another beautiful creation from this producer.

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Soalheiro Alvarinho Granit 2015 & Soalheiro TerraMatter 2015 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

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Soalheiro, first brand of Alvarinho in Melgaço – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

In its second edition is the Soalheiro TerraMatter 2015, made with organically grown grapes, not subject to filtration, with the fruit being early harvested and partial malolactic in barrels of chestnut. Different and overwhelming thanks to its ability to immediately conquer us, both for the difference and the quality that is the hallmark of this house. Fantastic rendering of finesse, power and aromatic definition. There is no place for any kind of olfactory “massacre” in a focused and precise wine. Beautiful presence with still much to give, the time it lasts in the glass shows that. Dense, good volume in the mouth with elegance and freshness, with a slight sense of greasiness. A mineral palate creased in a background full of fruit flavor and freshness. In my opinion it’s better than 2014 and, as expected, it’s still very young so it will be very interesting to follow its evolution, if there are enough bottles for that.

Contacts
Alvaredo . Melgaço
4960-010 Alvaredo
Tel: (+351) 251 416 769
Fax: (+351) 251 416 771
Email: quinta@soalheiro.com
Website: www.soalheiro.com

Papa Figos white 2015 and Papa Figos red 2014

Text João Barbosa | Translation Bruno Ferreira

The repetition of words or Latin rhymes always makes me think of magic. I do not know what books I’ve been reading or movies I’ve been watching. Well, here goes:

– Oriolus oriolus.

It’s the Latin name of orioles (papa-figos), a beautiful common bird of Europe that can even be seen in a part of Asia, flies to Kazakhstan and Mongolia.

It is a little bird with friendly air that my urban eyes cannot identify without the help of those who know. In addition to being friendly it is also beautiful. I’m not an ornithologist and let’s leave it at that because the topic is not about birds.

The Papa Figos are a couple of Douro wines. A few days ago Casa Ferreirinha (Sogrape) presented the new editions. The white is from 2015 and the red is from 2014. If the orioles are a joy to behold, the Papa Figos give a good gastronomic pleasure.

When I say gastronomic I’m not simply refering to the table, but to the whole gastro meaning. A greek word that means stomach. Today I look like a sage. I have written Latin and now Greek.

That is, both the red as the white (especially this one) are desirable in the summer. But I have to make a warning. The red has an alcohol content of 13.5%. At this time of the year, which asks for lighter foods and the beach asks for dives, I recommend caution.

It’s a red that has natural freshness, something we already know can deceive us. Moreover, in the heat, when it’s easy for the wines to become soup they should be freshened up. I usually leave them cooler than the usually recommended 16 degrees. This is because they heat up fast. Though the night may be the most suitable time of the day, the summer is often unfair to oenophiles.

Back to the reason why I said that it is globally gastronomic. It’s because it is easy to drink on one of those conversation nights with no set time to finish. During the vacation, whenever I can I relax with friends I cannot always hang out with during the work weeks, due to the short hours.

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Papa Figos red – Photo Provided by Sogrape | All Rights Reserved

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Papa Figos white – Photo Provided by Sogrape | All Rights Reserved

The white is more restrained regarding alcohol. It has a healthy 12.5%. And to think that not many years ago the products let the whites’ vintages skid. This is not me saying that they should always have low alcohol volume, because there are nectars that are looking good.

There is one more reason as to why this wine fell on my grace: The Touriga Franca, omnipresent, or almost, in the Douro reds. Here represents 30% of the blend. The Tinta Barroca has the same percentage and the Tinta Roriz 15%. The Touriga Nacional (I prefer the Douro one compared to the Dão), provides a sweet tooth that I appreciate, without ever making it cloying. It’s sober and represents 15%.

The grapes came from the Douro Superior and were grown mainly on slopes facing north and higher up in the mountain. The maceration is done in stainless steel vats as well as the alcoholic fermentation. A forth of the batch aged for eight months in French oak barrels. The bottling took place a year after the grape harvest.

The white was made with the grape varieties Rabigato (50%), Viosinho (20%), Arinto (18%) and Moscatel Galego (5%). The fruit came also from the Douro Superior, at high areas. A fifth of the batch aged for three months in used barrels of French oak. The remainder was kept in stainless steel tanks.

And that’s it! Good vacation to anyone going and the continuation of good working days for those staying.

Quinta do Vale Meão

Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Visiting Quinta do Vale Meão is always a pleasure, a delightful adventure even. It’s one of the Quintas that belonged to D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira (one of the most known), which has now for many years belonged to her great-great-grandson Vito Olazabal, a man of the Douro with deep knowledge of the region and passionate for its land, vineyards and wines. He’s married to Luísa Nicolau de Almeida (daughter of Fernando Nicolau de Almeida) who is also viscerally connected to the Douro. Their sons live and work there, Xito works in the vineyards and winemaking, Luísa in the hard task of marketing and selling those nectars of excellence. The Douro runs in their veins; they’re a family with “patine” … On a recent visit, at the time of Encontros do Douro Superior, we were greeted, as always, with the simplicity and friendliness, quality and good taste typical of them.

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New area by the pool – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In a new area by the pool, parents and daughter (the son was abroad at the time) presented us with the best, as usual.

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The pool – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The field – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The landscape, right there in front of us, spoke for itself and it is very difficult to describe: the grass field right next to the pool (where the kids play football), the vineyards extending to the river and, at last, the morphology of this superior, bright, full of light and unique Douro.

Then it was time for a commented tasting, led by Vito. The tasting was accompanied by several snacks that were spread across the table, at our disposal. The Meandro white, quite fresh, was already running through the glasses, and the easy talk alternated with the superb landscape that is possible to experience there. This white is great, the nose is somewhat exotic, attractive, full of freshness and elegance, followed by a palate that combines freshness and acidity, with ripe white fruit and citrus notes leading us to a slight minerality. Always feels like having another glass.

Already in conviviality mood, we were invited to go up to the huge terrace that runs alongside the house, with huge trees that provide a soothing shade to the sun’s inclemency. There, next to the swimming pool’s overlooking railing, the tables were set and well-equipped for the meal.

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Crispy orange peel strips – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Caldo Verde – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Regional bread, some curious crispy orange peel strips and a traditional “Caldo Verde” exhaling an amazing aroma, delicious. Then it was time for the Meandro red 2013, and the big news, the Monte Meão 2013 made from grapes of the Cantina vineyard, with the grape variety … Baga! That’s right, Baga in the Douro Superior!!

The wine is great, full of structure, intense, with claw, very balanced and excellent acidity, a nice surprise.

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Monte Meão 2013 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The cod – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

As a main dish we savored roast cod in the live coal, chipped, with baked potatoes and egg, olives, sprinkled with parsley. To accompany the main dish, a tomato salad, another of vegetables and a “porretas” salad (a salad made with green stalks of leeks, very tasty). By then we were also already drinking the Quinta do Vale Meão 2013, a delicious bomb, full structure, bulky, very fruity, intense, an extraordinary wine, one of the great reds from the Douro Superior. The conversation went on very interesting with humor and good mood of the hosts. With so many other stories to tell, if we could stay there until the sun has set.

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Cheese board – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Squash and almonds cake – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

But it was time for the end of the meal, with a nice cheese board and a delicious squash and almonds cake. Many continued in the reds, others went for the Port Vintage Vale Meão, from the year 2001! Wow!

A delightful interpretation of what a great Vintage is. A perfume, an essence, full-bodied, vibrant acidity to balance the set, that’s all we need for one last peek at that landscape that never tires… At the time of parting, one last look back, to the huge gate that displays with gallantry in wrought iron: Quinta do Vale Meão – Antónia Adelaide Ferreira – 1894.

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The wines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The gate – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

A family with “patine”…

Contacts
Quinta do Vale Meão
5150-501 Vila Nova de Foz Côa
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 279 762 156
Fax: (+351) 279 762 207
E-mail: geral@quintadovalemeao.pt
Website: www.quintadovalemeao.pt

Quinta dos Plátanos, on the route of the Classics

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Quinta dos Plátanos is part of the Extremedura’s Viticultural Region, with Alenquer Designation of Origin. It’s one of the oldest Quintas in Alenquer municipality and is located in the Aldeia Galega de Merceana.

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Quinta dos Plátanos – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Its main activity over the years, and since the seventeenth century, has been the wine industry. The Quinta has always been maintained within the same family and would undergo a renewal in the twentieth century, initially by the hands of Artur de Menezes Corrêa de Sá, and later by his eldest son, José de Menezes Corrêa de Sá. And thus come the first wireframed vines and with compasses that allow the mechanization of works, first with animal-drawn implements and then mechanical, and later using air assets in the treatments being this way considered as a pioneer in some practices. In the 50’s it underwent a full cellar renovation that allowed the launch of wines with Plátano brand in the 60’s. Only later with the creation of the demarcated region were the wines rebranded to Quinta dos Plátanos. In the last years the vineyards have been being restructured, with 16 hectares including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In total there are 35 hectares of vines with white grape varieties such as Arinto and Fernão Pires and red grape varieties such as the Pinot Noir, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet, in addition to the above.

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The Vineyard – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Nowadays it’s Arthur Corrêa de Sá and his daughter Luísa who manage the Quinta dos Plátanos. The oenology is in charge of Jorge Páscoa, although when tasting the wines there’s clear distinction between the ranges, there’s a line that separates the range Quinta dos Plátanos from the Plátanos. This distinction is due to Luísa’s husband, the producer Joaquim Arnaud. While the first wines show the more classical side and say, the more rustic side of the region, the Plátanos wines show up in the most elegant side as is the hallmark of the Arundel lineage (Pavia). A place that oozes history, full of fantastic places, which in my opinion is still waiting for a wine that matches its full potential, and I might add that from what I tasted seems to be on the right track but still with some distance to go.

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The Vineyard – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

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The Wines – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Both Quinta dos Plátanos are DOC Alenquer, the 2014 red and the white, also from 2014. The red shows up with breed, lots of ripe black fruit, freshness well present with a somewhat vegetal brake that provides it toughness and hardiness. In the mouth it shows fruit, fleshy fruit in medium body, it’s tasty and has a good freshness. The white gets its charms from the Arinto and Fernão Pires grape varieties, with great freshness, aromas with some sharpness, very citrus and some orchard fruit, flowers and lemon candy at the end. Mouth to match, fresh, inviting and appealing to the table in hot weather. In the Plátanos range two wines were tasted, the Plátanos Arinto 2014, with grape variety well present in the lemon leaf aromas, lime and lemon, great freshness, tense and with a slight floral somewhat shy in the background, a good example of the variety although it lacks greater angularity on the mouth tasting. The Plátano Tou Noir 2010 is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir, shows up fresh and very appealing, with a beautiful ability to go changing in the glass and adjusting over time. It becomes sweet tooth, fresh and terribly gastronomic with those veal chunks in coal accompanied with garlic butter. A lot of ripe and juicy forest fruit, fleshy and tasty, full of spices, a lot of guts while sweet tooth runs through the palate, all of it packed by a nice freshness that at no time lets it wilt.

A vertical tasting of Bafarela

Text José Silva | Translation Bruno Ferreira

The Brites Aguiar house is located close to one of the Douro’s wine-producing villages, Trevões, with its vineyards throughout the hillsides of Rio Torto benefiting from a fantastic terroir, which is shared with an olive grove, a cherry grove, a walnut grove and chestnut grove – very typical rural surroundings of this Douro region. It’s property of a family that has always been connected to the land. In 2002 they stopped delivering their grapes to the Adega Cooperativa and started working them in their own winery.So, the grapes grown in the 45 hectares of vineyards of the grape varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Francisca, began producing the wines of this house, with its own brands, “Brites Aguiar” and “Bafarela“.

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António Domingos – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

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The Douro – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Being a family business, António Domingos (Tomi to the closest friends) abandoned the idea of going to medical school and has now dedicated over 30 years entirely to the land and follows in the footsteps of his maternal grandfather. Between 1986 and 2004 he fully reconverted the vines so that they could be mechanically worked. He made his first vintage in 2003 and since 2004 he has been working with 2PR, from António Rosas and Pedro Sequeira – something that proved to be a right decision for they have been having great success. So, in 2004, the first Brites Aguiar is born, as well as the first wine with 17%. From the year 2008 onwards comes the Grande Reserva Bafarela, a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. It ages in 500 liters’ barrels that are used 3 times. Recently they decided to make a vertical tasting of the Grande Reserva Bafarela, which had never been made. And it was in the Douro environment that this tasting was carried out, in the presence of Tomi and his wife, and the winemakers António Rosas and Pedro Sequeira.

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D.O.C. – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The venue, D.O.C., could not be more appropriate, literally over the river and with that sweeping landscape that fills the eyes and never tires. The wines were timely open and at the recommended temperature all showed an intense but elegant red color.

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The wines’ profile – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

They have a common profile, elegant yet consistent with delicious chemical notes that give them some rusticity.

We began the tasting with the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2008 that has 14.5% alcohol. The nose shows some notes of evolution, some spices and hints of red fruit. In the mouth it has good acidity, it is elegant and has a simple but consistent structure. The age shows but drinks very well.

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2008 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2009 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2010 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

The Grande Reserva Bafarela 2009, also with 14.5%, is velvety, full of elegance, with notes of wild plants, rock rose, very fresh. In the mouth has volume, it is fresh and has excellent acidity, very persistent. It features notes of spices, fine tannins, and dry and great complexity. A serious wine.

Next up was the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2010, still with 14.5%, very soft, fine, good ripe fruit and very elegant. The palate is fresh, intense, well-bound tannins, beautiful acidity and red fruits, complex and very long, already good for drinking.

The Grande Reserva Bafarela 2011, with 15% alcohol, is very soft, elegant, has plenty of fruit and some freshness. In the mouth the same profile, excellent acidity, very ripe fruit, freshness, some spices and a very long finish. The year doesn’t show.

Then it was time for the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2012, with 14% alcohol, a beautiful aromatic profile, some floral, very fresh. Soft notes of spices, bulky, good presence of ripe fruit, intense tannins and beautiful finish. A year that continues to surprise with beautiful wines like this.

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2011 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2012 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

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Grande Reserva Bafarela 2013 – Photo Provided by Brites Aguiar | All Rights Reserved

It ended with the Grande Reserva Bafarela 2013, the latest, with 14.5% alcohol. Very elegant, silky, ripe fruit, intense, hill plant fragrances. In the mouth it is very fruity, fresh, with the acidity well-linked with the tannins, good structure. A wine still young, evolving, and time in bottle is going to enhance it.

The tasting was then followed by a lunch in that so welcoming environment.

After one of the Chef’s appetizers we started by an excellent crab ravioli with celery and mushrooms, a very fresh dish that was very well accompanied by the brand new Bafarela Rosé 2015, full of freshness, dry, very good. Too bad there’s so few bottles of it!

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Ravioli – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Bísaro Pork – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The we had Bísaro pork cheeks with French pearl barley, creamy, well-connected, really good. The harmonization was made with Bafarela Colheita 2014, young but intense, giving good replica to the pork.

We then proceeded to the lamb of milk with Jerusalem artichoke and truffle jus, refined, aromatic, very tender and tasty meat, in the company of Bafarela Grande Reserva 2013, which we had already tasted and was up to the dish.

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Lamb – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Dessert – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

We had the dessert with this same wine – cheese and red fruits.

I really had a good time in Douro, with the Bafarela family…

Pouca Roupa 2015 wines

Text João Barbosa | Translation Bruno Ferreira

The sun already warms up and my desire to throw myself into the sea is such that … well! How to write this without sounding like I took too much heat in the head?… The three wines are called Pouca Roupa (Barely Clothed)… the most pop brand of Portuguese wines!

The moment that I received them for tasting I could not control the brain, which began singing “Pop muzik”, M’s success of 1979, the British band of disco sound and new wave pop. It was no accident! That year there was a commercial on television, animated by the song, in which a girl was successively unzipping the pants she had dressed on her, and they seemed not to end … Pouca Roupa (Barely Clothed)!

There’s no need to call Sigmund Freud in order to understand this association. But the frenzied spirit of freedom and enjoyment of the disc sound easily takes over the mood. I found myself as a mental disc jockey and passing over to Patrick Hernandez, with the “Born to be alive.”

I won’t continue enumerating the successes hits I sang as I wrote this text. What I can say is that it is impossible to stop a resolute summer! I demand dancing evenings on the beach!

The brand doesn’t always fit the product, whether it be by incompetence or ruse. But it’s not the case. The Pouca Roupa wines want the summer – I had already said it about a year ago and I repeat it. There are three, each with a color.

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Pouca Roupa white 2015 – Photo Provided by João Portugal Ramos | All Rights Reserved

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Pouca Roupa rosé 2015 – Photo Provided by João Portugal Ramos | All Rights Reserved

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Pouca Roupa red 2015 – Photo Provided by João Portugal Ramos | All Rights Reserved

The Pouca Roupa white 2015 is fresh as a penguin… it’s sweet tooth and friendly, with a weight 12,5. It was made with Sauvignon Blanc, Verdelho and Viosinho grapes. It is a direct shot to fun and goes well with food, talk or dance.

Pouca Roupa rosé 2015 is sneaky. The Aragonês, Cabernet Sauvignon and Touriga Nacional blend masks its nature. Were it not moderated in its alcohol weight, 12.5%, and it would be a serious case. It’s a sweet tooth wine and a good company for conversation and party.

The Pouca Roupa red 2015 requires a greater care, because the alcohol content rises to 14 degrees. It’s a blend of Alfrocheiro, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional. This one requires food on the plate.

Three restless Alentejo wines. Pop! Pop! Pop muzik! Pop! Pop! Pop muzik!

Dona Berta wines, the lasting of a will

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Let’s take a jump to the Douro Superior, to Freixo do Numão where Dona Berta‘s wine cellar is based. For years this wine’s brand image was the charismatic producer who I remember with longing, Eng. Hernâni Verdelho. It was with him that I first met the Rabigato grape variety of which he was a great supporter. I got to know his wines full of character, both the reds and whites. The conversations used to last for hours, always in a good mood and with a charisma that he was able to convey to his wines in a way that few are. It was interesting to notice that the roughness and the sometimes more rustic touch that sometimes insisted on showing up at first, seemed to sag and bow at the feet of Engº Verdelho. Going back to the tastings and the contact with the new vintages, the wines miss their creator, but the lines that define them are present. His heirs continued the project, and ensured to make last the dream of a man, which nonetheless continues to be powered by the fantastic old vineyard from where are born the different references of the wine cellar. These are wines that need time in bottle, whose well-marked character changes depending on the vintage year. That’s the way of being that I seek and like in a wine. A wine that can transmit to us the way of being of a given year, a wine that is not the same year after year as if it were a product made in series. Those of which I speak now are wines with aging potential that were wisely educated and prepared for life by the winemaker and professor Virgílio Loureiro. Thus, do not be surprised that after ten years both the reds and whites show an enviable health.

This tasting had two moments. The first moment was with the wine Dona Berta Vinhas Velhas Reserva white 2015, a wine with 100% Rabigato full of freshness. The wine has no longer the intense and fruity aromas that somehow made us guess the grape variety immediately, now shows up more tense and mineral. Very good freshness with well-cohesive and present fruit, and with no exaggeration for that is a thing that was never part of the party here. Tense and nerve in the mouth, good dryness in the well-structured background’s body. It has everything to evolve favorably as time goes by. For now, asks for fish/shellfish dishes with good seasoning because the structure that it shows gives it that clashing ability. Grilled fish in coal will also make a nice matching.

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Dona Berta Vinhas Velhas Reserva white 2015 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

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Dona Berta Reserva red 2012 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The second moment was with the Dona Berta Reserva red 2012, where once again the red takes its time to enter the market. Lots of character in a wine with power and full of energy, a lot of fruit (berries and forest fruits) but also a slight austerity in the flavor confirmed on the palate. All very compact and well-cohesive, so tight that only with time will we be able to better unveil the aromas. For now it is a red full of life and energy, able to make an outstanding company to a rump steak on charcoal with alioli sauce.