Increasingly I think if I wasn’t trying to cover Loire wines in some detail I would look to explore and write more about Portuguese wines. There is an excitement and energy here in Portugal with many wines offering great value and quality and lots of new projects going on.
The striking view from Saturday’s Adegga WineMarket
on their 10th anniversary. Looking across the bay of the Tagus
with a section of the Vasco da Gama Bridge
The Adegga WineMarket in full swing
With its first edition 10 years ago the Adegga WineMarket is an example of the dynamism that you can find in Portuguese wine along with the level of interest shown by consumers in exciting bottles. Saturday’s edition was a sell-out in advance (a first) with around 1000 people attending the event in Marvila – not the most central part of Lisbon. Somewhere that can be reached by public transport but not the most obviously accessible, showing that people are prepared to make an effort to get there. Quite a number drove.
José Domingos Barreiros & Cª Lda
A leading landmark in Marvila – this old wine warehouse
and trading offices built at the end of the 19th century
Abel Pereira da Fonseca building – built in 1910, often called the cathedral of wine because of the size of the warehouse and its cellars
Marvila is an interesting area by the Tagus. It used to be part of the port, with many warehouses. As in other cities some of these are being transformed into workspaces, etc. It has some strong links with wine as the two photos above demonstrate.
I spent much of my time at the WineMarket on Saturday in the Premium Room, where there were some special wines to taste – still and fortified wines. For me the most memorable were some of the whites. The tasting started with two stunning Vinho Verdes from Soalheiro both Nature ‘Pur Terroir’ – wines without sulphur. Both were double magnums – the first from 2017 and the second 2016. I marginally preferred the vivacity and rich texture of the 2017. This, however, is a marginal difference as both were lovely complex wines with a clear capacity to age further.
Also among the whites were a range from Luis Pato, whose table was just by the Premium Room. His popularity, and that of his wines, was clearly shown by the number of wine lovers crowded around him – three deep and more at times. From the Pato range of whites in the Premium Room the 2003 Vinha Formal and the 1991 Vinhas Velhas were particularly fine – both showing honeyed, evolved notes, lovely texture and still remarkably fresh. Equally remarkable is that both of these wines are still available for 25€ each.
I was also very impressed by the 2014 Colheita Tardia from Falcoaria (Quinta do Casal Branco) in the Tejo region – a lovely and impressive sweet wine with rich apricot notes, seductively texture and good length. A blend of Fernão Pires and Viognier.
I don’t have space to go through the rest of the line up except to mention the impressive range of 2106 Ports and three superb wines to finish – the famous Tonel N˚ 3-4 from Mouchão – this was 2013 vintage, and two wines from Jerez – Palo Cortado VORS, Bodegas Urium and Amontillado Quo Vadis VORS, Delgado Zuleta.
It isn’t just Port that ages well but also Portuguese reds and whites. Fortunately many Portuguese are not into old wines, so it is possible to pick up 20 and 30 year old wines at bargain prices.
Here are a couple of examples – both coincidentally from 1994:
1994 Reserva Tinto, Douro Duas Quintas
Still impressive following a couple hours in a decanter. Good concentration of ripe fruit, still remarkably young looking and tasting at 24 years old.
1994 Vinha Grande, Douro, Casa Ferreirinha
Blend of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Barroca
When we first opened this it seemed quite acidic but after a brief time in a decanter it opened up showing it still had charm though with less concentration than the Duas Quintas. It worked well with a long cooked pot roast of pork.