The time has finally come to say “adeiu” to August, to long bright summer days, and to our month long dedication to Portuguese wines. As we look back over the month with excitement as to what we learned, I think it’s important to ask ourselves, “Was it worth dedicating an entire month to one subject?” “YES! Yes it absolutely was!” However, just saying a heartfelt “yes” may not be the convincing factor for you, so allow me to delve into our reasoning.
The primary motivation was out of need. As much as we’ve wanted to cover Portugal more thoroughly, we just haven’t had made the time to actually devote ourselves to the subject. While we plotted away at Spain, becoming well versed on this half of the peninsula out of sheer convenience and proximity; Portuguese wine was sadly getting the short end of the stick. Therefore, by pledging an entire month to table wines, reserving Port and Madeira for another occasion, we finally feel as if we’re honoring our mission statement: a website dedicated to Spanish AND Portuguese wine.
Secondarily, we learned an enormous amount about the subject. Although we had visited a handful of wineries over the past few years, we never had the opportunity to fully understand the big picture. By not only allowing Vini Portugal to not only educate us on their efforts to promote Portuguese wine as a whole (a rather novel idea to us in Iberia), but also to organize such broad and comprehensive tasting, we had the unique opportunity to get a better sense as to similarities and differences between each region. From the dry crisp whites of the Vinho Verde to the bold and floral reds of the Alentejo, we now have a much more comprehensive understanding of both the quality and diversity of Portuguese wine.
Additionally, we learned how passionate winemakers are to get their wines out of Portugal. From overhauling their wineries with new modern equipment to implementing tourism programs in several different languages, there is a united Portuguese front to be seen and heard. And they should be noticed and taken seriously. We’ve tasted an enormous amount of Portuguese wine over the past month, and more often than not, we’re really impressed with what we’ve tasted. Native Portuguese grapes elaborate some of the most intriguing, complex and varying wines, rarely evoking the same experience twice. Add fantastic wines to an absolutely stunning country and you have a fabulous package! And if you’re like several other wine and food lovers in the world who want the a great wine tour but don’t want all the tourism traps that go along with it, tour companies like Mouriscas Tours allow you the option to avoid what you dislike and just shoot for what you do. For me, this is the true definition of “catering to the customer”.
Thirdly, we appreciated having our assumptions and preconceived ideas challenged. Ideally, we want this everyday, but to have an entire trip filled with new ideas and perspectives was incredible. Just look at our position on cork before and after our visit with Amorim and how profoundly we were affected by this experience. Another example is our assumption that Portuguese wineries would probably not take the time to see us with such short notice. The reality was that they take media seriously, seeing any opportunity to have their wines talked about as good press. Consequently, they’ve continually been active with us, responding to our emails and caring about what we say. This is new to us. Although several wineries in Spain have equally been receptive to our inquiries about their wines, we haven’t experienced the same level of open mindedness and reciprocity that we’ve experienced from Portugal.
In short, our month long devotion to Portuguese table wine was absolutely worth it, and we look forward to tasting more wine from Portugal! One question still remains, however, did you like our month long dedication to the subject? And, more importantly, have you walked away with any new information that you didn’t have before?