A Vrazon to continue?

Spectacular Porto 

This weekend we were in Porto for the first Vrazon Meetup. Despite a heat wave with temperatures into the mid-30s, it was a very enjoyable weekend. Meeting up with old friends and making new ones, sharing good bottles and some excellent food.

We had two good visits. One on Saturday to Poças’ Port Wine Lodge new visitors’ centre on Rua Visconde dos Devesos 186, Vila Nova da Gaia. Then on Sunday we went up the Douro to Quevedo.


On Saturday afternoon there was a valedictory discussion over the rise, history and demise of EWBC/DWCC (European Wine Bloggers’ Conference/ Digital Wine Communicators Conference). It is clear that these conferences, which initially sailed under the colours of the European Wine Bloggers Conference, have now run its course. Put together by Robert McIntosh and Ryan and Gabriella Opaz (Catavino/Vrazon) eight successive conferences in seven different countries is a very considerable achievement. These EWBC/DWCC conferences facilitated great networking opportunities, which I think will be their most lasting legacy followed by the Born Digital Awards (www.digital-awards.eu/) with the revived version now in its second year.

If Vrazon do organize further conferences the format will be changed. They are likely to be held in one place and to feature marketing with a perspective from outside the wine industry.

Will this weekend’s meet up prove to be a one-off – a fine wake for DWCC – or will there be future get-togethers of EWBC/DWCC alumni? Certainly there is a clear wish from the weekend’s participants to meet again to talk and share wine etc. but as yet there are no definite plans.

It is unfortunate that to date the Vrazon and the #winelovers group, which grew out of contacts made at these conferences, have yet to find a way to be complementary. Hopefully in the future there will be opportunities to explore how the two groups can work together.

The programme
Friday night – BYOB at Prova
On Monday at the Mercado da Ribeira, Cais do Sodre, Lisboa we noticed that the Garrafeira Nacional had a bin-end sale of assorted bottles from the last century. Each was offered at 5.95€ and if you bought three the fourth was free. We decided that this was definitely worth a punt, especially with the BYO coming up. So it proved as we took along a 1974 from Lisbon – a ‘revolutionary wine – and a 1987 100% Baga from Bairrada. The 1987 was fine with nicely balanced fruit and acidity. Although the 1974 was initially rather stinky putting off anyone who comes to an immediate judgment on a old wine, the stink fairly rapidly declined revealing still quite concentrated prune and fig fruit. Still certainly drinkable at least in my probably not very discerning book….


1974 – a ‘revolutionary’ wine from Lisbon

Saturday daytime
Poças Port (http://www.pocas.pt/en/) is a family Port house founded in 1918. They have just opened their visitors’ centre, which is friendly, relaxed and far removed from the glitz of some of the larger Port houses. We enjoyed a short visit and then lunch with a chance to taste their wines. On a very hot day their crisp, unoaked Coroa d’Ouro 2014 Douro white hit the spot.


Saturday evening – O Gaveto (http://www.ogaveto.com/home)


What a great seafood restaurant! Hugely generous portions of a seafood – platter featuring oysters, shrimps, prawns, crabs etc. This was followed by very good Amêijoas à Bulhão Pato and then sea bass and rice. They also have a great wine list and wine service. We chose a couple of top Alvarinho Vinho Verdes from Anselmo Mendes – the stunning single vineyard Alvarinho as well as the Curtimenta Alvarinho.

Several of our group expressed surprise at the quality now available from Vinho Verde. From my experience this is not that new, it is just that the UK doesn’t always see the best.


Due to the generosity of one of the group we had a 1990 Riserva Bondi-Santi and a 2000 Emidio Pepe Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.



Sunday – into the Douro cauldron and a lovely visit to Quevedo (http://quevedoportwine.com/)

I have long wanted to visit Oscar Quevedo at his family winery in the Upper Douro in the small town of São João da Pesqueira high up above the Douro with spectacular views. Our visit was a fine introduction but I must go back for a more detailed visit. Vitor Mendes of Covela was also there, so this was a good opportunity to taste these wines again.

Well over 30˚C with swimming in Douro for some

Sunday evening – return to Prova
Recently Porto has become very popular, so finding a unreserved table for eight – all that remained of our group of just over 30 – proved to be challenge. After finding several recommended restaurants full we returned to Prova, which were able to accommodate us. Here we enjoyed a series of wines and snacks and talked further about future meet-ups.


Another fine Vinho Verde Alvarinho

JimVitLoire-Benoît Gautier

6 réflexions sur “A Vrazon to continue?

  1. Et si vous voulez trouver la plus belle sélection de vins portugais en dehors du Portugal, c’est à Paris, chez Soif d’ailleurs. Les vins d’Anselmo Mendes y sont dignement représentés, et font même partie des meilleures ventes de la maison. À juste raison.

    Aimé par 1 personne

  2. Et un commentaire explicite récent par notre ami hongrois Attila Aranyos :

    Vignoble de Vinho Verde – Anselmo Mendes : DOC Vinho Verde « Parcela Unica » 2013
    (Alvarinho) – 16 €
    DS15,5 – AA15,5 – CDC15 – MS14,5/15 – LG15,5
    Robe jaune citronné.
    Certaine luxuriance d’odeurs, fruité exotique et légèrement boisé : ananas, mangue, vanille, abricot.
    Même opulence en bouche, un vin hédoniste, mûr, expansif, aux saveurs flatteuses, articulé autour d’une trame acide volontaire offrant équilibre et longueur.

    On est dans le haut du panier du vinho verde, à l’instar des vins produits par Palacio de Brejoeira.

    Aimé par 1 personne

    1. Jim Budd

      Parcela Unica est un grand vin. Mendes aussi fait un Vinho Verde Alvarinho pour Pingo Doce à 3.98€ incroyable rapport qualité prix !


  3. Jim, the overall looks of « a ribeira » change constantly. The view from above the bridge is impressive, both on Vila Nova side and on Oporto bank. I cannot help but remember a tragic “anecdote” I experienced, some 15 years ago or so. A charming employee from a pharmaceutical company (rival nevertheless of clients of mine) was having his “maiden discovery trip” to Portugal shortly after his retirement, together with his wife. He had requested my help to organize his voyage and get special treatment at some places and in some quintas. In the end, a quite nice program had been set up. His initial appointment took place not far from the first “Eiffel-type” bridge, shortly after his arrival. Unfortunately, just as they had parked the rented car, an individual committed suicide by jumping from the upper deck. My Belgian colleague’s wife was so shocked that she wouldn’t take no more and they immediately flew back to Brussels.


    1. Jim Budd

      Hi Luc. Indeed a tragic tail. Last time we were in Porto was two years ago – July 2014. Then parts of the city were looking very run down with empty and abandoned buildings. Now much more vibrant with a number of buildings renovated and many visitors.



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