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© John Farren

Meeting 396 - -" Portuguese Wines"

Friday 12th August 2016     Neville Hall, Waltham St Lawrence 

Speaker:  Martin Chapman, Watlington Fine Wines.  

        Our members are very knowledgeable and so it is always satisfying to hear someone say: "I didn't know that!" This new piece of information related to comparing Portuguese grape varieties to their alternative names in other countries. Martin Chapman of Watlington Fine Wines presented a very interesting tasting of Portuguese wines at our August meeting. Having advised us to "forget the Algarve" as far as wine production is concerned, and bearing in mind that we are all familiar with wines from Vinho Verde and the Douro, Martin explained that many new, exciting wines are being developed in Alentejo and Tejo, both of which are inland from Lisbon.

        A sparkling Monge Brut from Tejo scored an average 6.5. We tasted the wines in pairs beginning with a 100% Loureiro from Vinho Verde and a Fossil Vale da Capucha containing Arinto, Fernao Pires and Gouveio. Both wines contain grapes grown close to the sea and, as the name of the second suggests, the area used to be underwater and so the soil is very minerally, with lots of fossils. These scored 6.5 and 7.0 respectively. The next pair of dry whites included a 2014 Falcoaria from Tejo containing 100% Fernai Pires and a 2012 Quinta das Cerejeiras Reserva from Obidos containing Chardonnay, Arinto and Vital. These proved to be "Marmite" wines and provoked a fair amount of discussion. The Falcoaria scored 6.5 and the Quinta das Cerejeiras achieved a wide range of scores, averaging out at 7.5. Charlotte served tapas to accompany these wines including garlic carrots and Helga beans, fried chorizo, mixed olives, bread and sardine pâté and bruchetta with grilled goats cheese, honey, rosemary and walnuts - this was absolutely delicious and something that many of us will be attempting at home.

        The reds were again served in pairs and included a 2104 Tons de Duorem from Douro containing Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz which scored 6.5, a 2012 Falcoaria Classico Red (7.5), a 2010 Quinta de Foz de Arouce from Beira Atlantico containing Baga and Touriga Nacional (7.5) and, finally, a 2008 Perescuma No 1 Reserva from Alentejo. This was the star of the evening, scoring 8.0.

        For the main course Charlotte served crispy braised neck of pork with beans and a simple salad. Dessert was a coffee crème brulée with a chocolate coffee bean and to complete the meal, Sao Jorge cheese with almond and fig roll and biscuits. We did not know when we planned the evening that Charlotte was going on holiday to Portugal. This certainly inspired her and she came back with an amazing array of goodies in her hand luggage for us to taste, including several loaves of bread! What a treat! (Jules Graham)

The Wines
Aperitif: Monge Methode Traditionelle Sparkling N.V Tejo 6+
The Whites:
  Vento'z Loureiro Dry White 2014 V. Verde
Fossil, Vale da Capucha 2013 Lisboa 7
Falcoaria Dry White 2014 6+*
Chardonnay, Quinta das Cerejeiras 2012 Obidos 7*
The Reds:
  Tons de Duorem Red 2014 Douro
Falcoaria Classico Red 2012 Tejo 7+
Quinta de Foz de Arouce 2010 Beira 7+
Perescumma No. 1 Reserva 2008 Alentejo 8
The supper wine :
Terra de Lobos Tinto 2014 Tejo

* Wide range of scores