Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne
Carlos Lucas and Luís Abrantes chose “Antiqvvm”, a restaurant in Porto, to present the first Quinta da Alameda wine, made on their property in Santar. These two entrepreneurs are old friends and, although they have ventures in different industries, they decided some time ago to buy Quinta da Alameda together, a well-known property in Santar, which is in the heart of Dão, with great tradition and a few very old vines. Alongside planting new vines, these old vines were cherished and worked on so that they would produce very good grapes, which in turn would make high-end wines. It seems as though this final goal was achieved on their first year, although in a very small amount, given the age of the vines. Later on, the entrepreneurs will recover some of the architectural heritage in the farm and build a cellar where grapes will be processed and turned into wine and where the wines will be stored for ageing and bottling. One of their goals is to evolve into organic production while also protecting the environment.
In this presentation, oenologist Carlos Lucas joined the restaurant’s chefs, Vítor Matos and Ricardo Cardoso, and together they engineered the harmonisations they felt were the most appropriate, always including an element of surprise, as we always have received from Vítor Matos’s teams.
In a beautiful, elegant, refined venue, where Rosa Teixeira ensured everything was perfect; we were welcomed with the Ribeiro Santo Blanc de Noir sparkling wine, which had already been tasted. It was yellow, with some evolution, very elegant, with very fine bubbles and a soft bead. Dry, with aromas of straw, toast, and some nuts, it has volume on the mouth, very balanced acidity, it’s very engaging, and it paid the Antiqvvm snacks excellent company.
At the table, we moved on to white wine, Ribeiro Santo Encruzado 2014, an amazing grape variety, a citrus-colour wine, crystal-clear. Very elegant and silky, some intense white fruits, slightly dry, refreshing. Complex, intense, but velvety, balanced freshness and acidity, some white-fruit pulp with a silky lasting finish.
It went down with some a marinated salmon, coconut, strawberries, avocado pear, coriander, nasturtium and trout roe; on the side, a surprising scallop tartar with chilli pepper and citrus fruits, a pearl of the Encruzado and glasswort.
A lot of freshness, intense yet balanced flavours, Vítor Matos’s expertise on our table. Yet, before the star of the evening came out, there was time for a surprise: a wine that was still in the cask, presented in a bottle with a temporary lable, Jaen 2013. Made from a difficult year, it is already a very interesting wine that surprised even its author – something Carlos Lucas made a point of expressing. A soft garnet, very clean, beautiful red-fruit aromas, notes of smoke, silky. Good volume on the mouth, very, but really very elegant, velvety, notes of dark chocolate, excellent acidity, a lasting finish, a great Jaen.
To keep the grouper with ox tail and Tuscan truffle sauce company, a cuttlefish-ink and giant prawn ravioli, morel [mushroom] emulsion, and squid and fennel tagliatelle.
And now, the star of the evening, Quinta da Alameda Reserva Especial Red 2012. In a very well-designed bottle, a sober and elegant label, it has an intense shade of ruby, very clean. Floral, with notes of red fruits, rockrose, pine tree. Great acidity, refreshing, intense, a lot of fruit, balsamic notes, eucalyptus, silky, very ripe and bold tannins, a very long finish; an extraordinary wine to drink right away or to store for many years. That was, after all, the second surprise of the evening!!
It did a great job when accompanying the veal loin, which was slightly smoked with trumpets of death [mushrooms] and boletus-mushroom vinegar, old balsamic, a parsnip and spinach cream, pistachio bread and spice sauce.
This very complex dish made a good match for such a fantastic wine.
We ended the evening with a reserve Tawny Port by Quinta das Tecedeiras, which accompanied a disconcerting dessert: pumpkin with cottage cheese and pudding served in a pot, which Vítor Matos later watered; on the plate, a black carrot tart, toasted almonds, tangerine sorbet, beetroot cream and foam, vegetables with elder syrup. Speechless…
Dão is still a buzzword!