Monday, April 19, 2010

The oenologist from Copenhagen and the art of copying nature

Recently I did an interview with the markting director on wine business from a large biotech company in Denmark. It became a rich talk on the future wine making and how science is revealing the secrets of the most prestigeous wines in the world. The interview is published here
- Anders

Conceito Bastardo 2007

I brought back to Denmark a single bottle of Bastardo from Conceito from my last Lisbon trip.

From a quick research on the red grape ”Bastardo”, you will read that Bastardo was formerly widely used in Portugal. Especially in Dao and Douro. It riped in early June, hence is a very early maturing wine, and its sweet grapes were eaten during the popular festival of Sao Joao (June 25). Small amounts of Bastardo still remain today mixed into wine production, where its main characteristics are low acidity, high sugar levels and pale colour. The latter is ideal for fortified or a tawny*, but sounds little flattering for a modern table wine.

However this was not so, and while the bottle may not be Portugal’s best table wine presently, it is surely an interesting bottle which stands completely out from the crowd of table wines in Portugal. From all wines I’ve tried in Portugal, there is no brand which comes close to this taste. Although the label would lead me to pass on this wine, I recommend you to try it.

Conceito Bastardo 2007

Color: pale red (as German Spätburgunder/Pinot noir)

Nose: redcurrant, pine needles, resin, on a base of foxy flavours (barnyard flavours). Taste: quite well acidified, with something sweet towards the end. Finish is medium long. Locally bought 13€, 89P

* From R. Mayson, The wines and vinyards of Portugal

Friday, April 9, 2010

The Portugal report #3: Pedra Basta 07

Posted by Anders
Last december, during my past visit to Portugal, I searched numerous Garrafeiras to get my hands on Richard Maysons wine from Alentejo, the Pedra Basta. Being sold out for christmas, I had to wait until this time around, where I came across only 2 bottles in shop in Almada.
This wine is one to watch, produced from a new and very proffessional approach in Alto Alentejo (Portalegre), at the vineyard, Quinta do Centro. The name (Pedra basta = enough stone) for their first wine refers to the westernly placed granite lands from there the wines are growing. It is made on traditional Alentejo blend (Trincadera, Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet), with the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon. And the last grape material may be essential for its difference compared to so many other Alentejo wines I have tried. It sticks out, and is one to enjoy and remember. The bouquet was very complex and with reference points, for me, from wines produced with wild ferment yeasts.

Pedra Basta 2007

Huge nose of dark berries, wet leaves, and horse leather. The taste is smooth, balanced, and with soften tannins. Locally bought at 12.5 €, 92P
- até àproxima -

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Portugal report #2: Redoma branco and Ma Partilha

Here are two recommendations from Portugal. First up is Niepoorts Redoma branco. Apart from Vinho verde, Portugal is not know to produce any white wine which praise the critics beyond the countrys borders. But here is a high bench mark - for what old native douro grapes (Rabigato,Codega, Donzelinho, Viosinho, Arinto) may evolve into when grown between 400-800 meters height in Duoro schist soils, and more importantly in the hands of the right wine maker.

Second, the first 100% merlot on Grape juices, Ma Partilha from Setubal. This region is known for planting the first international grape varities such as merlot and cab. sauvignon. The big producer, Bacalhoa, produces both great blends but Ma Partilha (translates into "poorly or unevenly shared") is a mono casta and 100% merlot.

Niepoort Redoma Branco 08

Bouquet of exotic fruits, peachy, nuts (hazel/almonds) and vague hints of petroleum. The taste is finely balanced and neither”fat” or sweet, but crispy. This reminds me very much of Chablis when its good from Bourgogne. Locally bought 18€, 91P+

Ma Partilha 07

Dark red berries, young leather, tobacco leaves, green coffe beans and ”moist cellar”. The wine is tight with a peppery taste, and keeps its figure, rather than being jammy. Generally mid range Portuguese wine is produced to drink right away, but here I sense potential for development in the cellar. Locally bought 13 eur, 89P

Wine shopping in Lisbon

During the last days I've been around in the streets to find some of the bottles which I have been wanting to try for some time. Here is a little collection of midrange wines from 12-19 eur. The new Douro producer, Conceito with the special Bastardo 07, produced on the old Duero grape varaity of the same name. The label is a bit psycadelic - but I do hope that wines like this will prevail on the market. I briefly tried Conceito's Barstardo in Copenhagen on a tasting, which left me positively surprised. Niepoorts Redoma 08 branco - no further introduction needed. Finally I also found hold of a bottle of Pedra basta 07 from Richard Mayson's Quinta do Centro in Portalegre, Alentejo. Last but not least Ma Partilha 07 a 100% merlot from Bachaloa. Review of the wines will appear on the blog.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Images from Easter Lunch

Easter Sunday is traditional family dinner with roasted cabrito (goat), lamb and roasted tomato rice from the oven in the garden.

The wines has just set their first leaves in the sun and spring is here. Our wine menu included Murganheira superior (bubbles) and different Alentejo wines from the Borba Cooperative, from which the Touriga Nacional 2004 clearly was the best. We also opened an old family produced wine from 1975 kept in the cellar. Everyone had doomed it vineager and spoiled but to all great surprise the wine was still alive.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Portugal report #1 Colares Chitas 2006

The Colares region is presently my favorite wine region to explore when in Portugal. So the first Easter wine for the blog had to be from here. Antonio Bernardina Paulo Da Silva has been around for centuries according to the Portuguese wine books. He is worth a whole study for those who share a passion for this reknowned, yet tiny wine region where old school values are kept intact.
The Colares whites are made from Malvasia fina and Arinto grapes. The wines are form the traditional sandy soils, which characterize Colares.

Colares Chitas 2006

Color: golden with greenish shine. Little nose with citrus,butter and flowers. There may an additional note which I was not able to tease out. The taste is incredible balanced, sweet hints of elderflowers, fresh and mineral.It is a dry wine with medium long finish. Delightful with a moderate alcohol level (11%), which I liked. Bought in Jumbo 12€ (never seen Colares wines here before!), 87P.

End note: Although, the end score may not be in the very high end, there are several reasons to love this wine. The romantics for it's bottle shape and label. The connoisseur for drinking Colares which is one of the only wine regions unaffected from the Phylloxera disaster, and finally for the charm of having a label with the award given gold medals in following competitions: Panama 1915, Rio de Janeiro 1923 & Yogoslavia 1980.

A well written note on Colares Ramisco by Ryan Opaz can be read Catavino