Tim's Blog

Richmond Wine Society explores Portugal


Portuguese wines were the focus for the RWS tasting last night at the Britannia in a wide ranging and boisterous evening! Easter holiday mood was clearly in the air or was it the influence of fortified wine?

Portugal wine regionsIt is impossible to do justice to such an important wine producing nation in one event but we covered the Minho, Dao, Bairrada, Alentejo and Douro regions and explored an eclectic mix of indigenous grapes.

Kicking off with a refreshing Vinho Verde that showed off the classic spritzy feel of this famous wine we then moved onto a trio of whites made from a combination of over eleven different grapes.

You may not be familiar with Arinto, Bical, Fernao Pires and Sercialinho to name but four, however, Portugal is extremely proud of its preservation of local grapes and the individuality that they imbue to their wines.

Dao and Bairrada are long established wine regions that are being reinvented and attracting some serious investment that has resulted in a step change in quality. The two highlights were the Casa de Mouraz Dao Branco and the Old Vines Cuvee from the esteemed Luis Pato. Both wines exhibited great charm, elegance, minerality and balance.

The famous Chapoutier family from the Rhone Valley have invested in the Douro Valley but not to make Port. Their Pinteveira 2012  red was elegant and spicy with good potential for ageing.

Dirk Niepoort, one of Portugal’s most revered winemakers has created a wonderful portfolio of wines apart from his fabulous Ports and we tasted his intense Redoma 2009 – oodles of sweet fruit and plenty of ageing potential.

No Portuguese evening is complete without a little snifter of Port and we enjoyed a couple of good examples from Quinta do Infantado. Their white Port was clean and spicy and ideal with some olives and nuts or even mixed with some tonic to make a long drink.

Their 10 Year old Tawny Port was a masterpiece of elegant Port winemaking. Sweet, harmonious and smooth with a delightful dried fruit richness.

I shamelessly reminisced about my adventures on tour to Portugal in 2007 and am very much inspired for a return visit this May.