This is an indispensable tool for those who want to follow, in English, what really goes on in the world of Spanish and Portuguese wines – lively, informative and, most important, first-hand, on-the-scene knowledge!
Victor de la Serna

Tag Archives: Portuguese DOC’s

Bodega Profile – Quinta de Ventozelo – Douro

For those of you who are caught up on your Catavino reading, you are most likely familiar with a recently contributed article on regarding a tasting with Quinta de Ventozelo’s wines paired with a wild mushroom soup alongside a tender piece of braised duck. The meal was absolutely fantastic, beautifully enhanced by all three Quinta de Ventozelo wines: 2004 Quinta de Ventozelo Douro Tinto, 2004 Quinta de Ventozelo Touriga Nacional Douro and the 2004 Cister da Ribeira Red. Although we provided you with a fun article on the dinner, we hadn’t, as of yet, discussed the wines or Quinta de Ventozelo. Therefore, what we’ve included below is a small piece recently solicited from the Bodega, describing both themselves and their […]

Wine Blog Wednesday – Casa de Santar – Part 2

The four wines we lined up on our dining room table were paired with a traditional Portuguese dish called, Portuguese Porco Alentejana. The result was, as always, delicious. I loved how the tender bits of pork and crunchy cubed potatoes married perfectly with the smoky paprika broth. I especially liked the sprig of parsley adorning the summit of my food. I have no idea what magical green power parsley has, but as it made its debut on my plate, the dish tasted even better. (Ryan’s note: I rarely like the parsley on a dish, but in this one, you NEED it. It really helps to add a contrast to the rich flavors.) Technically, because this pork recipe originates from the […]

Wine Blog Wednesday #38 – Bodega Profile – Casa de Santar

We knew we had to go big with our Wine Blog Wednesday entry. We debated and debated over the subject, unclear as to exactly what approach we should take. Do we go with a region, a varietal, a style? With well over 40 bottles of Portuguese wine still sprawled out on our dining room floor, beckoning us to drink them, we felt a little flustered. Ahh, but then the magical light beamed over the four Casa de Santar bottles sitting quietly in the corner dedicated to the wine region in north central Portugal, Dão (I bet few have corners dedicated to a wine region). The Dão region became a DOC in 1908, but when Salazar came into power in the […]

Bodega Profile – Quinta do Encontro – DOC Bairrada

The region of Bairrada occupies no more than 10,000 hectares, fractioned off by cooperatives and small producers like Quinta do Encontro. Although the region has been producing wine since the 10th Century, it wasn’t until the 19th century until it became a quality wine producing region as a result of one man’s efforts. António Augusto de Aguiar who not only dedicated his passion to wine production, but was also the first person to define the region’s borders in 1867. Consequently, in 1887, The Escola Prática de Viticultura da Bairrada, (The Wine School of Bairrada) was founded to both improve and promote the region’s wines. What the school has gained notoriety for, however, is developing the first sparkling wine of the […]

September, 2007 Portuguese Wine Harvest

Jancis Robinson recently posted a report on how the 2007 Portuguese Harvest is shaping up. Her overall impression was that the unusually cool and rainy temperatures have, fortunately, affected the quantity of the yield more than the quality of the wine. She then followed up her report with direct quotes from the winemakers. Considering our recent hop over the Spanish border into Portugal, we thought it appropriate to add to her list with a few additional quotes we received this morning from the winemakers. Although we would have liked a more balanced representation of all the Portuguese wine regions, it seems that the winemakers in the Alentejo are just really enthusiastic about sharing their experiences with us! Obviously, we are […]

August Wrap-up of Portuguese Wines

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 […]

3 Portuguese Wines and an Orange Metal Bucket

It was chilly last night, really chilly. As the sun set upon Terrassa, and the yellow hues faded to a reddish glow that cascaded upon our livingroom floor as if someone spilled a bucket of crimson paint, Ryan and I looked at each other internally agreeing with a roll of our eyes that the last thing we wanted to do on a Friday night was to research yet another Portuguese Quinta. The involved steps of collecting their information, reading up on their history and finally picking apart each and every nuance of their series of labels and styles can feel as exciting and tantalizing as watching paint dry. Looking at the wines on the floor like little glass soldiers preparing […]

Bodega Profile – Casa de Darei – Dão, Portugal

While in Portugal, I had the chance to taste Quinta de Darei’s wines at Sala Ogival with Jose Cunha, the nephew of the winery owner. Bought in 1997 after 2 decades of abandonment, the current owners are intent in reviving old traditions and to become, what they hope, is a prestigious Dão wine producer. After restoring and utilizing old stone lagars, the current wines abide by century old traditions of being foot trodden and contain native Dão grape varietals such as: Alforcheiro, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Jaen for reds, and Encruzado, Bical and Arinto in the white wine production. Small productions and a desire to make award winning wines has led to the creation of two wines with another expected to be launched this year.

Lancers and Mateus – Representing a Nation of Wine

Portugal equals Port wine, right?! This statement is dead on for so many of you, but this wasn’t the case if we go back a few generations. In the 1940s, there were two brands that epitomized Portuguese wine to the global market: Mateus and Lancers. Both wines were presented in uniquely shaped bottles that appeared to be created for one purpose only, to hold candles, which consequently, made them unforgettable. Roses and slightly sweet, both labels helped shape a generation of wine drinkers, appreciated for their icon value than for their sophistication or “rating”. Lancers At the end of WWII, Americans wanted a beverage to toast in celebration without having to drink the bold European wines of the age. Inspired […]

Portugal’s Wine Demarcation

As a result of our recent trip to Portugal, we figured the best way to start off the month is by offering a basic road map to Portuguese wine. We have given you several articles in the past on the grape varietals, the Portuguese wine label and some specific wineries, but as a result of this trip, we are interested in describing the Portuguese wine demarcation in layman’s terms. Portugal’s wine demarcation is laid out in a similar manner as the Spanish system, divided by quality wines, regional wines and table wines. Put side by side, both country’s wine demarcations look like this: Quality Wines: Spain: 70 quality wine regions Portugal: 29 quality wine regions Regional Wines: Spain: approximately 8 […]