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A Portuguese palette

Yesterday I was invited to talk about Portuguese wines in Trondheim’s biggest wine club. Ganymedes is the name, referring to the mythologic figure that was carried by an eagle sent by Zeus to be cupbearer for the ancient gods. I was honored to be invited, and a little surprised, I must admit, that close to a hundred people came to listen to a speech about the wines of the longer than wide Iberian country.

2015-04-15 21.13.02 - Kopi

They allowed me to put together a full palette of Portuguese colours. The selection of the country’s wines can’t be said to be very good in Norway these days, so the task could be said to be an exercise in compromise. Given the circumstances I am quite happy about the program.

Quinta do Perdigão Rosé 2014 is made according to biodynamic principles in Silgueiros, central Dão. It’s a typical blend with evident touriga nacional, and is a very fruity and full-bodied rosé with some tannin, and with aromas dominated by raspberry. Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2013 represented the country’s largest wine region Vinho Verde, a nice wine with flowery aromas with citric nuances, and a slight carbonic palate. It’s not the only organic wine from this wet and somehow difficult northern landscape, but it’s one of the best of its kind. This lighter end of the scale was completed with Nossa Calcário 2013, a bical 100% made by Filipa Pato near the Beiras coast, Bairrada, to be precise. The bical is a versatile grape that, when in good hands, can turn to a delicious, mineral wine like this one. Quite aromatic, a little buttery, but it’s also a little closed, and will benefit from 2 or 3 years further ageing.

The first red wine was what has become known as Portugal’s first natural wine, family Roboredo Madeira’s CARM SO2 free 2010 red. Yes, I admit, my import company brought this one to the country, but it’s included here to contribute to a greater variation. Also from touriga, it has a touch of carbonic mouthfeel, dark berry flavour, and slightly sweet nuances from the oak treatment that half of the wine has been subject to. One of the most widely known wines from this 6-pack must be Esporão Reserva 2012, a wine from the vast Alentejo area, otherwise known for cork oaks, Alentejana cattle a.o. This one is from the Reguengos area towards the big lake in the south, and it has a full, fleshy flavour, but also a good acidity to keep it in balance. The grape composition can vary with the years. This one has alicante bouschet, a traditional grape in the area, together with the usual suspects trincadeira and aragonês, and a little cabernet too. The first red wine ought to be decanted because of some sediments, and both will benefit from some airing. To round it all off we tasted one of one the country’s specialities, a moscatel from the peninsula of Setúbal, just to the south of Lisboa. This one is a fortified wine from the collection of Jose María da Fonseca’s oenologist, and it bears his name. Domingos Soares Franco Colecçâo Privada Moscatel de Setúbal 1999, nothing less. It’s clearly in the moscatel family. Nice and grapey, flowery in the aroma, and with an apricot sweetness. For further ageing it could have needed some more acidity. But so what, according to Sr. Domingos himself, it’s not meant to be stored. And it’s delicious now.

2015-04-15 21.13.23 Lars and Geir Egil, key people in Ganymedes, with chef Geir 

Geir Barstad at the Britannia Hotel had created a delicous two-course menu based on turbot and local veal that allowed the party to taste a variety of the wines with food after the wine tasting.


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