|Teaching an old dog new tricks - Domingos Soares Franco (L) & Pedro da Costa (R)|
The Regions ...
1) Vinho Verde - comprises 10% of Portugal's land under vine (21,000 hectares), average holding is only about 0.8 hectares.
2) Douro - Portugal's most famous region, known for Port wines, there are three major crops here: almonds, olives and grapes.
3) Dao - "not big wines but elegant wines", due to the diurnal temperatures of the region: warm during the day and cooler nights.
4) Bairrade - very wet region: September to May is the rainy season, average holding per property is about 2 acres. Have been growing international varieties like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot for only the past 15 years.
5) Alentejo - very flat area, hottest region of Portugal where temps can hit 40+ degrees in June and remain at 30+ at night, so little relief from the heat.
6) Lisboa - region is known for its foggy, windy and cooler conditions.
7) Setubal - I must have fallen asleep at this point cause I have no notes about the regions ... I find this peculiar, but ...
The P5 (Portugal Five Wineries) of the G7...
Alianca (est. 1927) - 800 acres of vineyard spread thru 5 regions.
Aveleda (est. 1947) - annual production is 14 million bottles, exported to over 40 countries.
Bacalhoa (est. 1922) - originally Joao Pires & Filhos, have wineries in 3 regions, production capacity tops out at 12 million litres and they can age wine in up to 6000 barrels.
Jose Maria da Fonseca (Est. an elegant lady never reveals her age) - one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Portugal, own over 600 hectares of land and possess on their properties a collection of over 560 different grape varieties.
Caves Messias (est. 1926) - wines are exported to more than 50 countries, they make wine in a wide range of styles from Champagne method sparklers to rich flavourful Ports.
Seminar Wines of Note ...
Aveleda 2010 Qunita da Aveleda (Vinho Verde) - lovely nose that's floral and tropical with good minerality ... good mouth watering acidity makes this very food friendly and summery.
Messias 2007 Quinta do Valdoeiro (Barrada) - a mix of indigenous (Baga, Touriga Nacional) and international (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon); fresh and fruity nose with a palate of dark berry, chocolate and a hint of chalky minerality yet very approachable.
Alianca 2005 Quinta da Garrida Touriga Nacional (Dao) - aged in a mix of French and Russian oak; smooth with blackberries, blueberries and cocoa.
Jose Maria da Fonseca 2007 Jose de Sousa Mayor (Alentejo) - top end wine of the winery which is made in clay pots; made form indigenous grapes (Aragones, Trincadeira) and one known as Grand Noir (brought in by Napoleon, a cross made in the 1850's from Petit Bouchet and Aramon). Lovely wine with elegance and finesse - really well structured: chocolate, blackberry and silky tannins.
|Stunning ... Messias LBV 2005 Port|
The Main Tasting - one standout from each winery ...
Alianca 2007 Quinta da Terrugem (Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouchet) - *** 1/2+
Aveleda 2007 Follies Touriga Nacional (Touriga Nacional) - *** 1/2
Bacalhoa 2007 Quinta do Carmo (Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouchet, Cabernet Sauvignon) - ****
Messias 2005 Porto LBV (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca) - stunning 2005 LBV worthy of having on hand for those cold winter nights - **** 1/2
Lunch - the two best wines ...
Jose Maria da Fonseca 2008 Periquita Superyor (Castelao 92.6%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%, Tinta Francisca 2.4%) - plum and blackberry aromas lead to blackberry, cassis, and a touch of licorice on the finish, lots of fruit with a gentle kick of spice.
Lunch provided by the Chef's House of George Brown College (pictures below)
|House cured salmon, brioche toast, spring mixed greens, horseradish creme fraiche|
|Red wine braised beef short-ribs, ginger scented carrot puree, potato pave, green pea foam|
|Canolli filled with candied citrus ricotta mousse, maple & raisin caramel sauce, roasted hazelnuts|