I really love Catavino – it’s such an informative and innovative source of information on Spanish & Portuguese wines. The food of the region is key, but it’s just as vital to know about the great wines available too. This is the place to find out!
Jose Pizzaro http://www.josepizarro.com

A Handful of Bodega Summaries

When we learned Catavino was hosting WBW #38, and that our theme was Portuguese Table Wines, we knew we had to do a good job! While we’ve been living in Spain, we’ve slowly earned the respect of winemakers and wine professionals as they observe us promoting Portuguese wines and Spanish wines. And although we’d love to cover every winery throughout Iberia, despite the fact it may take us a few lifetimes, the process takes time. Each bodega deserves to have their wines tasted, thoughtfully written about, and when possible, visited. But the reality is, is that we’re only two people. Not to say that we don’t dream about having a full team dedicated to our passion, but the funds just aren’t available yet. That said, we’ll continue to chip away at the long list of wineries who want us to devote time to them.

However, what we did discover is that there is an alternative to offering you more coverage. Last month, we sent out an email to a list of Portuguese wineries asking for a brief summary of themselves that was both original and creative. Our promise in return was to publish every entry sent to us that we either haven’t covered or have merely touched upon.

The response was underwhelming to say the least, but we do believe in keeping our work. Below, we’ve attached not only the responses we received, but also some of their photos and PDFs. The responses we haven’t attached will be included in future posts that include our tasting notes as well.

Enjoy your beautiful fall day wherever you are and stay tuned because our round up is almost done! And like Gabriella mentioned, we have a little surprise in store for you!

Cheers,

Ryan Opaz

Quinta Mendes Pereira
Touriga, the super variety in Quinta Mendes Pereira

Raquel Cruz

Our vineyard, cellar and wines are labeled QUINTA MENDES PEREIRA. Our premium RED WINE is mainly made with the variety TOURIGA NACIONAL (world’s best?). The location is right in the heart of the world famous DAO region.

Our production of red wine gathered so far 5 (five!) SILVER MEDALS in the producers contest held by the state region committee in the last 5 years. No one else in DAO region presents such quality consistence across the last 5 years of wine making. Currently we are marketing reds from 2003 and 2004, and whites from 2005. We are about to market more reds from 2004 (a Garrafeira vintage) and from 2005 (a Reserved vintage).

The DAO region tends to produce complex and elaborated wines. For instance it is hard to distinguish any of the young reds against other well known regions red wines. But if you stage it from 2.1/2 to 4 years after the crop (not in oak, and everything else being correct), you just end up with a divine nectar, hard to beat in the opinion of any consumer or sommelier, in any market of the world.

Carlos Cruz

So why are DAO wines not on a pair with the Lafites or any other well known/expensive wines? In fact the vision I am sharing with you is just now (or in the past 5 to 10 years) being understood by newer wine producers of DAO. I never understood why this fantastic Portuguese wine region (but not the most famous, as DOURO is more famous due to Port Wine) aimed at quantity till very recent years and not quality. The first asset of DAO is certainly the way its best known variety – TOURIGA NACIONAL – grows and matures in its soil.

Touriga Nacional – or Portuguese Touriga – is a variety of a (dark) red wine grape, considered by many to be certainly Portugal’s finest or even one of world’s finest red varieties. Despite the notoriously low yields from its small grapes, it plays a big part in the blends used for the best Ports, and is increasingly being used for gourmet table wines produced in the DOURO and DAO regions.

Touriga Nacional provides structure and body to the wine, with high tannins and concentrated flavors of red and black fruits. Jancis Robinson has compared its relationship with Touriga Francesa – or French Touriga – to the partnership between Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the former providing structure, the latter filling out the bouquet. In our wines – producer’s opinion – bouquet is added by using a small quantity blending of an obscure local red variety called ALFROCHEIRO, and what a bouquetâ€Â¦ On top of it, and due to this Alfrocheiro variety, it yields “vintage” characteristics, allowing it to age (and well) once it is bottled.

Its vine is very vigorous, and good results depend on keeping it in check. In the Douro it is grown in searing heat in the harsh conditions of steep schist vineyards that are more rock than soil. In the DAO region it reaches its full potential due to the plane highlands and the particular soil type with granite sand and lots of artesian water wells. It is usually trained under one of the Guyot systems, and needs severe pruning to keep it under control.

In contrast, the vine produces just a few bunches of blue-black grapes which vary in size from ‘small’ to ‘tiny’. Thus yields are among the lowest of any commercial grape variety – Touriga Nacional is all about quality, not quantity. But no one at QUINTA MENDES PEREIRA has a different target,

What’s the true potential? Last year in the Bordeaux fair elected a Portuguese Touriga 2003 from DAO – produced by our neighbor and friend Peter Eckert – as the best red of the contest. So far QUINTA MENDES PEREIRA never tried any contest abroad. Need we say more?

Wines Currently being Marketed:
- Quinta Mendes Pereira 2003 Tinto – Medalha de Prata
(Red 2003, Silver Medal)

- Quinta Mendes Pereira 2003 Tinto Garrafeira – Medalha de Prata
(Reserved Red 2003, Silver Medal)

- Alucci Alucci 2003 Tinto
(Reserved Red 2003, Silver Medal)
Brazilian Market only

- Quinta Mendes Pereira 2004 Tinto
(Red 2004)

- Quinta Mendes Pereira 2004 Tinto Garrafeira – Medalha de Prata
(Reserved Red 2004, Silver Medal)

- Quinta Mendes Pereira 2005 Branco
(White 2005, special selection)

Quinta do Portal

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“Quinta do Portal” is a familiar, fine wine making company that has passionately embraced the concept of “Boutique Winery” and has been dedicated to the production of both DOC Douro wines and Port Wines of special categories and Moscatel.

The fact that our four vineyards are located in the Douro Demarcated Region (a site that features on the World Heritage list since 2001) as well as the affection and the high levels of professionalism with which they are cultivated contribute to make our wines truly special. Although “Quinta do Portal” is one of the newest companies to commercialize Port Wine, it currently produces wines that have been awarded the best prizes in the most prestigious international wine competitions.

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Quinta do Portal” has recently expanded their business by opening “Casa das Pipas”, an enotourism unit, located on the Quinta do Portal grounds. With ten rooms facing South, a large swimming pool, a wine library and all the comfort in an informal, yet sophisticated, environment, “Casa das Pipas” has already been awarded a prize in the Best of Wine Tourism 2007 contest.

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We organize visits to our cellars and winery center as well as tasting sessions in our Visitor Center with the aim of conveying a comprehensive and truthful image of our distinctive status of fine winemakers. You can taste our wines and try regional dishes and other homemade treats cooked on our wood ovens while admiring the magnificent scenery of the vineyards in Vale do Pinhao.”

Office:
Praça Francisco Sá Carneiro, 293 – 3º Dto.
4202-801 Porto
Telefone:225512028 Fax:225512097

Winery:
E.N. 323
Celeiros do Douro
5060 Sabrosa
Telefone:259937104 Fax:259937109

Casa das Pipas:
E.N. 323
Celeiros do Douro
5060 Sabrosa
Telefone:259937000 Fax:259937009

Cortes de Cima
A quote from Philippe Boucheron – GrapeVine- ‘Drinking Incognito with Hans and Carrie’

Cortes de Cima

“Earlier this year, when I was in the Alentejo, I met the Jorgensens and tasted their wines. He is a quietly spoken, gentle man, who has successfully made the transition from international mechanical engineer to wine-grower. His wines reflect his concerned and thoughtful approach to his craft. Carrie is one of those frankly pushy American wives that are much needed by introspective thinkers if they are to become commercially successful. And the wine? It certainly deserves the international awards that it has won, and has already become a collector’s item, so it is in very short supply.” -


Vinhos Borges

Borges Vines

“Borges wines are enriched with an exclusive taste that only a background of 120 years of history may confer. To open a Borges is to open the door to a remarkable experience of tastes and sensations. It is to travel along the three most important demarcated regions of Portugal: Douro, Dão and Vinhos Verdes. To discover a Borges Douro wine, far away or nearby, is to be on the centenary slopes, stepping the schist. To feel, to taste, to enjoy this Douro, is to be there. It is to feel the wine in its primary essence, at the place where everything begins and ends, the pleasure of tasting a Douro.

Harvest at Borges

Hidden in the Meia Encosta (in English, half slope)[1] of an Estate, Borges Dão wines are discovered by the appreciators of wines with a distinctive quality.

Slowly coming out of the anonymity, Dão wines occupy an important place in the Portuguese and international scenery. Its potential allows us to personify it. A Dão is a successful man. A man that gives determined safe steps, that wins and flies, aware that his merit is recognized beyond frontiers. Appreciated by some and desired by many. That’s how a Dão is.

Young. That’s a Borges Vinho Verde. Coming from the green and lively vineyards, the Vinho Verde wines are a tribute to youth and irreverence. Fresh and light, they sprinkle with joy and festivity the moments and places where they are present.

Embrace a world of unique sensations and meet Borges wines.”

[1] Note: Pun on the name of Borges Dão wine’ Meia Encosta’, and the slopes of the vineyards.

DFJ Vinhos

DFJ Vinos

DFJ Vinhos is a wine company, 100% Portuguese, founded in 1998 and oriented to the export markets, such as UK, Germany, USA, Canada and Nordic European countries. In 2005 (only 6 years after been founded) DFJ has been awarded the “Portuguese wine company of the Year” by the most important Portuguese wine magazine “Revista de Vinhos”. DFJ is one of the most innovative, recognized and world awarded Portuguese wine companies, as one could confirm below, in the table of results of the IWC since 2001.

The owner of the company and its Headmaster winemaker, Mr. José Neiva, is the key factor, creating wines to the consumer’s requests of pleasure. DFJ controls directly the production of more than 400 ha of vineyards, all over Portugal, from single estates, mainly in Estremadura, Ribatejo, Douro and Alentejo wine regions. More than 30 references of DFJ are varietal or bi-varietal wines, made with Portuguese or International grapes such as: Touriga-Nacional, Touriga-Franca, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Castelão, Trincadeira, Baga, Jaen, Negra-Mole, Alvarinho, Arinto, Fernão-Pires, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Caladoc, Merlot, Alicante Bouchet, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Download a PDF with award mentions

  • RichardA

    Food & Wine magazine (11/07) has an article "The Next Must Visit Wine Country" which is all about Portugal's Douro Valley.

  • http://passionatefoodie.blogspot.com/ RichardA

    Food & Wine magazine (11/07) has an article “The Next Must Visit Wine Country” which is all about Portugal’s Douro Valley.

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