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Tag: Portugal

Wine of the Week

Fresh north Lisboa tinta roriz

This is a wine from a winery that I’ve met several times at the Simplesmente Vinho fair in Porto. Quinta do Olival da Murta is located in the Cadaval area of the Lisboa region, near the mountain range Serra de Montejunto. Joana Vivas and her family make honest low-intervention wines here, only 15 kilometers from the Atlantic ocean, thus giving the wines a fresh, saline character.

José Vivas (photographed at Simplesmente Vinho 2021)

The soils are clay and limestone, and the vines are quite young, around 20 years. The gapes were harvested manually. The bunches were totally de-stemmed without crushing the grapes. Semi-carbonic fermentation was carried out in 500-liter French oak barrels, with indigenous yeasts, for one and a half days. The grapes were gently pressed in a vertical hydraulic press in a wooden basket. The fermentation process ended in barrels. Then it was aged 10 months in used 500 liter French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered.

Serra Oca Tinta Roriz 2022 (Quinta do Olival da Murta)

Ruby red. Aromas of fresh fruits (cherry, strawberry), with a layer of wild berries also. Fine tannins, fresh acidity and a saline finish.

Price: Medium-low

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Snapshots from a Stavanger tasting

A Portuguese island white was my first wine at yesterday’s tasting at Vinmonopolet, the Norwegian state monopoly. And what a start to the day! Producer Fitapreta is based in Alentejo, but winemaker António Maçanita is very active on the islands. Here is a wine made from palomino grapes grown in Porto Santo, brought to Madeira and finished there. Made with 30% whole bunches, 40 days of maceration, 8 months in used French barrels.

As the company explains on their website: On the island of Madeira, people from Porto Santo are called profetas (prophets), as a response to villões (villains), which the people of Porto Santo call Madeirans. The last nickname comes from vila (city), which thus takes on a double connotation. The wines of Profetas e Villões therefore reflect this duality.

Listrão dos Profetas 2021 (Profetas e Villões/ Fitapreta): Pale yellow color with some green. Intense nose with lemon peel, iodine and a flinty minerality. Rich and textured in the mouth, full of flavors with super acidity and a salty finish. Very persistent. This is Portuguese island white taken to a new level.

I have known António and Sara of Casa de Mouraz for many years now. Here I got the chance to re-taste two of their magnificent Dão wines. The Encruzado 2022 is one of the best examples of that variety that I know of. It’s fresh with notes of citrus, flowers and minerals, grapey in the mouth and full of flavours. Unfiltered, it comes really close to nature and the true quality of the grape. Casa de Mouraz Dão 2021 is a cherry red wine that smells like home at their estate, pine forest, red fruits and herbs. In the mouth it’s juicy with some spice.

Importer Non Dos also offered three magnificent sparklers. Two of them were from British producer Oxney, from East Sussex. Oxney 2019 is a complex wine with apples, peach, flowers, nuts and some brioche. Non vintage Oxney Rosé, with 25% seyval blanc, shows red berry fruit, apples and kind, with good concentration of flavours. They also represent Champagne house Fleury, here their Blanc de Noirs non vintage, that came with mature apples, dried fruits and biscuits, along with citrus and a stony minerality. Creamy in the mouth with good concentration.

Guro also poured many good wines that came with unbeatable prices. Various colours of Meinklang was among them. Their Rosa pouch (1,5 liters) in 2023 version was fabulous, with a clear-cut fruit of red berries and herbs, and with a distinct acidity leading to a delicately bitter finish. In spite of its everyday lightweight image it has a decent concentration.

The Wine Merchant is a subsidiary of Non Dos. Pierre here offered champagnes from Colin, that stands for an elegant, less autolysis-marked style. Their Parallèle is a long time favourite, clean, apple and citrus-driven with a layer of anise and herbs.

Liquid is the one importer that is supplying the largest number of Georgian wines to the Norwegian market, here represented by Lasha, himself Georgian. New in their portfolio is Dakishvili. Giorgi and Temuri Dakishvili, father and son, make wines from the family vineyards in Kakheti using the traditional qvevri method. They don’t hesitate to blend in international varieties with the local either. The Family Selection Cuvée 2021 is a beautiful blend of saperavi with cabernet sauvignon, an exciting very dark, sturdy wine that showcases a typical cabernet pepper quality. 

Selected Wine Partners presented a bunch of wines from Koncho, also of Kakheti, Georgia. Orange 2021 from rkatsiteli and kisi was light amber in colour, with evident skin-contact on the nose, with notes of orange peel and apricot, along with a full mouth-feel and a distinct acidity.

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Wine of the Week

Unveiled: Douro white

After Simplesmente Vinho I visited Luis Seabra’s winery in the Douro. Luis himself was sick in bed, but Gonçalo Pinto was there. He showed us around, my Brazilian collegue Didu Russo and me. And we got to taste an impressive range of wines.

Véu de Xisto 2015 was one. This wine I tasted during the 2021 edition of the fair. Véu signifies that it has spent three years under a veil of flor. It was moved to stainless steel for another 2 years’ rest before bottling. The grapes are rabigato 70%, côdega do larinho 15% and the rest gouveio, from 30 year old vines in the Meda region of Douro Superior.

Véu de Xisto 2015 (Luis Seabra)

Golden colour. Aroma of yeasts, flowers, iodine, orange. Full and rounded in the mouth, good acidity and salt, with an attractive oxidative touch. A lot of energy and character.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Nicely textured bastardo

Textura is another winery that I have known a little, but at Simplesmente Vinho I tasted the whole range. I find their portfolio sound and solid, with some stars.

Partners in Textura are Marcelo Araújo, a former hedge fund manager, and his wife, an academic professor. It was started in 2018 in Dão, on the slopes of Serra da Estrela. They work 28 ha of organic certified vineyards in Vila Nova de Tazem and Penalva do Castelo. Oenology is led by Luis Seabra. Appropriate for a winery named Textura, in 2020 they acquired a century-old textile factory in São Paio, on the banks of the Serra da Estrela Natural Park. This is now renovated, and incorporated into the winery.

D. Áurea is a tribute to Marcelo’s grandmother Áurea. It’s a 100% bastardo from the sub-region Serra da Estrela, at an altitude of 600 meters and in granite soils. It ferments in an open stainless steel tank (lagar) with 30% whole clusters and stays with the skins for 15 days after pressing. Then it ages for 1 year in old French barrels.

D. Áurea 2021 (Textura Wines)

Light ruby. Delicate aromas of red fruits (raspberry, cherry), flowery with an earthy tone. Nicely textured, with fine-grained tannins, and a fresh integrated acidity. Expressive, elegant wine for immediate consumption or medium term ageing.

Price: High

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Wine of the Week

A for Amazing

I had met Pedro Coelho several times at the Simplesmente Vinho fair in Porto, and I have tasted a few wines now and then. This year I took the opportunity to taste the whole range. Which I don’t regret. I knew his white Douro wines were extraordinary. But his rosé and reds were outstanding too.

Pedro uses only old vineyards, always spontaneous fermentations and minimal intervention. He picks early to obtain the best possible natural acidity, and the alcohol levels are generally low. A vividness and vibrancy shines through in all his wines. The Pormenor winery is located in Barcos on the left bank in Cima Corgo, but he sources grapes from high altitudes in several parts of the Douro.

I could have picked anything for this column, but I finally chose a quite unusual white. A de Arinto is exactly that, a varietal arinto from 40 year old vines in granite with clay – at 650 meters altitude in the Alijó area. It underwent a 12 hours maceration in neutral oak with whole bunches, before a gentle extraction. It clocks in at 12% alcohol.

A de Arinto 2022 (Pormenor)

Pale yellow colour. Aroma of mature lemon, some apricot and minerals. Lively, fresh acidity with a waxy, spicy fruit, and a long, salty finish. It is balanced and appealing now, but has an acidity to keep.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Real Rabigato

Last week I visited Mateus Nicolau de Almeida in Foz Côa, in the Douro Superior. This is really the land of rabigato. One of his rabigato whites I was coincidentally offered at the Prova wine bar in the center of Porto some days later.

Mateus comes from a family that has made wine for several generations, and in 2015 he set up his own project. He is dedicated to explore the characteristics of the terroir. This can be seen in the Eremitas project, that comprises three wines, all from the same variety and made in exactly the same way, but reflecting their respective terroirs.

Amon de Kelia originates from a vineyard planted in moderately deep quartz soils at an altitude of 500 metres. The grapes are macerated in granite for 3 hours. Then they pressed in a vertical press, and the must is racked by gravity into cement in an underground cellar, where it ferments spontaneously without temperature control.

Eremitas Amon de Kelia 2022 (Mateus Nicolau de Almeida)

Light straw. Discrete aromatics with yellow fruits, flowers and a mineral touch. More expressive in the mouth, with good volume, it’s fruity, fresh, and with a nicely integrated acidity.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Phaunus Loureiro

Vasco Croft has been featured several times on these pages such as here, in a write-up from 2018. He is a pioneer in biodynamic wine farming since he established his Aphros wine series in 2003. He disposes of some 20 hectares in the Lima valley, in mostly granitic soil.

The loureiro vines are exposed to the south. Harvest between 10 and 15 September 2021 is followed by crushing of the grapes, destemming and pressing in an antique basket press. Fermentation of the must then takes place spontaneously in clay amphoras, that are sealed with beeswax to regulate oxidation. Ageing on lees went on for 6 months.

Oenologues are Miguel Viseu and Tiago Sampaio (read about his own Folias de Baco wines several places on this blog).

Phaunus Loureiro 2021 (Aphros)

Light golden, slightly cloudy. Aroma of citrus (lemon), orange peel, white flowers, on a background of tea and bergamot. Fresh on the palate, fine tannins, with abundant fruit, a touch of spice and grapefruit in the end. There is a very appealing lightness to the wine.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Introducing: Esporão’s Colheita

Esporão is an important and highly respected winery that has been featured here several times. This wine could well serve as an introduction to the company. It’s made from the varieties alicante bouschet, touriga nacional, aragonêz, cabernet sauvignon and touriga franca, from a 15 year old organic certified vineyard. The different varieties were co-fermented in concrete vats before malolactic fermentation. It stayed in concrete for 6 months.

Sandra Alves and Joao Ramos are the current winemakers of Esporão.

Esporão Colheita 2021 (Esporão)

Dark red, bluish hints. Mature dark fruits (dark cherry, blackcurrant), spice, almond, licorice. Young tannins, good fruit and body, light bitterness.

Price: Low

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Wine of the Week

Sampaio’s Curtimenta

Tiago Sampaio is a driving force on the modern wine scene of the Douro. The Folias de Baco project was started in 2007, and today he is recognized as an innovative winemaker deep rooted in the traditions of the area.

The name Curtido implies that this is an orange wine, in Portugal usually called curtimenta. It’s made from moscatel galego planted on a blend of schist and granite soils. It was harvested by hand in early September with extensive vineyard sorting and two weeks maceration time. Fermentation in stainless steel using indigenous yeasts. Not fined or filtered.

Uivo Pt Nat Curtido 2021 (Folias de Baco)

Yellow-orange, cloudy. Aromatic, flowery with apricot and citrus peel. Dry mouth-feel, only slightly fizzy, lovely citrussy acidity, good concentration and an intense aftertaste.

Price: Medium

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Wine of the Week

Palmirinha’s Azal

Here is a rarity, an azal monovarietal. Fernando Paiva runs his Quinta da Palmirinha in Amarante, Vinho Verde. He is a pioneer of biodynamic farming in Portugal and also of using chestnut flowers in the fermentation so as to avoid addition of sulphur. (Fernando has many times been featured in this blog, such as here.)

The soil consists of clay, shale and silt. The age of the vines are approximately 30 years. The pressing was carried out with whole clusters for 2.5 hours. Fermentation spontaneously with bâtonage, and with chestnut flowers without the temperature exceeding 18 degrees. The ageing was in stainless steel, in contact with lees. Unfiltered.

Note that it’s not labeled as a Vinho Verde. The DOC’s in Portugal tend to be conservative (of what, you might ask) So this is a “Product of Portugal”.


Azal 2021 (Quinta da Palmirinha)

Light yellow. It’s fresh and aromatic, with white flowers, apple and lemon. It has a vibrant acidity, but abundant supple fruit wrapped around it, good concentration, long.

Price: Low

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