Les 5 du Vin

5 journalistes parlent du vin

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Filipa Pato and William Wouters – a fascinating visit

William, Christina and Filipa

The Pato family are never ones to duck away of their name 

Duck hooks in the WC

Sign for the winery 

Winery and home  


It was well worth Le Voyage!

It was well worth a group of us on Monday 4th December making a 470-kilometre round day trip to see Filipa Pato and William Wouters at their home and winery in the small town of Óis do Bairro, some 35 kms to the north of Coimbra. 

I first met Filipa when she was just starting to make her own wine when she was working with her father – Luis Pato. I forget the date but it must have been around the end of 2002 or possibly some time in 2003. 

Blurred selfie outside the winery


Filipa in the vineyard (above and below)

 Stones in the vineyard 

Vineyards in the valley

Filipa amongst a parcel of old vines in the valley


We started our visit with a look at the vineyards in the valley close to the winery. These vineyards, which are planted with white varieties, are on very stony limestone.   

Filipa and William now have 15 hectares of vines in 24 parcels. There are eight or nine hectares of white varieties with around five of red. They have been gradually purchasing vineyard plots, especially parcels of old vines. They have four hectares of very old vines including a parcel with vines that are 130 years old – planted just after phylloxera. They also have some ungrafted vines from which they make a special cuvée. 

In 2014 when William, who is Belgian and a sommelier and chef, moved to Portugal full-time, they started to convert their vineyards to biodynamics in 2014. Previously the demands of commuting between Portugal and Belgium had made it impossible to take such a time consuming step. They decided to move straight to biodynamics rather than moving to organic viticulture first. Filipa and William started converting the parcels closest to their winery first. 

Harmony underpins their philosophy. For instance, for their biodynamic infusion treatments they use local plants as far as possible. Initially they used camomile but this isn’t a local plant, so, for instance, they use aloe vera, fennel and some nettles. Also they use willow ties for holding up the old vines to their supporting stakes. Cuttings from the old vines are used to propagate new plants.

In one of their oldest vineyards, some 15 kilometres from the winery, there are some olive trees. « The olives and the vines interact, » explains Filipa. « The flowering is around the same time and the olive harvest comes just after we finish picking the grapes. » 

A parcel of old vines (above and below)

AC/DC Back in Black


The theme of harmony continues in the winery where they choose to use larger size barrels – 500-litre and 12-hl wooden vats to reduce wood influence. They are also using amphores, which again provides harmony as there is clay with the limestone in their vineyards. 

 André Cid and Filipa inside the winery

Filipa and André Ribeirinho

Looking at the array of empty bottles lined up just below the ceiling André Ribeirinho comments that you can see that this is a winery that lives, breathes and loves wine. 

 1964 Quinta Ribeirinho 

Back in 1964 Filipa’s grandfather was the first 

local producer to bottle his wine

Following our quick visit to the winery under Filipa and William’s house we head upstairs for a brilliant lunch, which William has prepared. « We don’t do tastings without food, » Filipa explains. 

Our group @lunch
Filipa’s grandmother, at the far end, joined us for the meal

3B Blanc de Blancs

Blend of Bical, Cerical, Maria Gomes


We start lunch with the crisp 3B Blanc de Blancs, which is a field blend of Bical, Cercial and Maria Gomes. 

I asked Filipa about Cercial. « Is it the same as Sercial in Madeira but just spelt differently? » « It could be, » she replied. « Certainly it not the same as the Cercial found in Dão. Someone bought some Cercial vines from Dão and planted them here are they were clearly different to the ones that you find here in Bairrada. Ours in Bairrada appear to be closer to those in Madeira. » 

At the start of the lunch Filipa explained that: « It was very important to help animate the village’s life by choosing to remain in the village and not build a winery outside. We have already lost the village school. » 


1st course: Panna Cota with herb jelly 

Paired with 2016 Nossa Calcario Branco 

Made using wild yeasts 12% fermented in barrel 

Attractive texture shouldn’t be served too cold

2016 Post-Quer…s Baga

After the Panna Cotta William served a delicious mushroom and tarragon risotto, which was paired with their very interesting 2016 Post-Quer..s Baga. This 100% Baga sees no wood and is soft and ready to drink now and although the typical rustic Baga tannins are present they have been tamed. The Post-Quer..s name reflects both that no wood has been used and that a Spanish producerobjected to the original Post-Quercus name, as he had a wine of a similar name and alleged that their use of it infringed his copyright, so they took out some of the letters but leaving Qu, which is the Portuguese for arse.

The main course was a beef casserole made using Bairrada wine. This was served with the lovely soft opulent 2011 Tinto Calcario Nossa with its notes of spice and cedar wood. Tannins are present but well integrated in the wine’s long finish.

   2011 Tinto Nossa Calcario

Cheese from Serra da Estrella followed served with the precise 2011 Calcario Branco Nossa with its attractive citric nose, good concentration with some beeswax character. 

A fine lunch-time line-up…

There was a small pot of a Marquise of dark chocolate with three perfect raspberries to finish our great lunch. With had this with the 2013 Espirito de Baga – a reminder that Port isn’t this country’s only fortified wine. Full of black cherries Filipa and William first made this in 2010 with the help of Dirk Niepoort. They use 25% of brandy that is double distilled to 73%. Keeping to the theme of harmony the Espirito is closed with a beeswax seal to reflect the wine’s sweetness.

On our way back to Lisbon we visited with Filipa a couple of the parcels of old vine Baja that they have been acquiring some 15 kms to the south of Óis do Bairro

My grateful thanks to Filipa, William and their staff for a fascinating and great visit. It is great to see the promise that I saw on my first visit being so well fulfilled. 

 The old vine Baga 

(above and below)

Filipa and André in the gathering dusk

  Visit to FilipaP


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Adegga Wine Market 1st December Lisbon – tasting wines from Casa de Mouraz

 2015 António, Loureiro, Vinho Verde, 

Lopes Ribeiro, Casa de Mouraz

The latest edition of the Adegga Wine Market was held on Friday 1st December at the Lisbon Marriott Hotel. Once again it appeared to be a great success. I started off in the Premium Room where there was a opportunity to taste just under 60 of Portugal’s best wines including some showing how Portuguese wines can age. A few reds went back to 2002 while amongst the fortifieds there were Ports going back to 1975. Over the weekend I will be reporting on the wine from the Premium Room.

After finishing in the Premium Room I spent a brief time in the main room, which was getting increasingly crowded. I made a point of tasting the wines from Casa de Mouraz, who were badly affected by the recent Portuguese forest fires. There is a crowdfunding campaign being launched tomorrow in London to assist them in replanting vineyards and facilities damaged or destroyed by the fires.

Their whole range I tried was impressive including the fresh and crisply citric 2016 Air, Vinho Verde (8 €), which is a blend of Alvarinho, Loureiro, Avesso and Azal.  

Next the 2015 António, Loureiro, Vinho Verde, Lopes Ribeiro, Casa de Mouraz with more concentration than the Air. It was also well balanced. Moving south from the Vinho Verde to Dão for the 2015 Casa de Mouraz. This is a field blend of a number of grape varieties but principally Malvasia Fina, Encruzado and Bical. 

2015 Casa de Mouraz white

We finished the whites with the extremely good, citric and finely textured 2016 Encruzado, which apparently ages well. Certainly this is a bargain at 10 € through Adegga

From the four reds I tasted I particularly liked the 2014 ripely textured and concentrated Elfa (20€) from 85 year old vines – a range of grape varieties including 30 local grape varieties such us Baga, Jaen, Tinta-Pinheira, Alvarelhão, Alfrocheiro, Bastardo, Camarate, Cornifesto but no Touriga Nacional. I was also taken with the 2014 Casa Mouraz (8€) – like the its equivalent in white – this is a field blend with Touriga Nacional, Jaen and Alfrocheiro playing leading parts. It lovely sweet, concentrated black fruits. 2014 Private Selection (15€) was the last red – attractively textured its is still quite tight and needs more time. Made from 80% Touriga Nacional and 20% Jaen.   


2014 Dão, Casa de Mouraz 


2014 Private Selection, Dão,

Jim + Vinho Verde

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Adegga Wine Market Lisbon 1st December 2017 @Marriott Hotel, Lisboa

Friday 1st December sees the 2017 winter edition of the Adegga Wine Market, which will again be held at the Lisbon Marriott Hotel. The Adegga Wine Markets are a great opportunity to taste and buy some of Portugal’s best and most exciting wines.

If you are in Lisbon this Friday and you want to get a good handle on what is happening in Portuguese wines then this event is unmissable. 

Ticket prices range from 15€ to 50€ per person. There is a special deal for two (60€). The price of the more expensive tickets can be set against wine bought. The winter edition includes the Premium Room – see details of the wines below. Tickets for this room cost 50€ a person.  

O Adegga WineMarket é um evento de vinhos de qualidade.

Descubra 500 vinhos de 60 produtores seleccionados.
Escolha e prove vinhos entre os 5€ e os 50€.
Compre os vinhos que mais gostou a preços de evento.
Receba em casa os vinhos que comprou directamente ao produtor.
Utilize o SmartWineGlass para se lembrar dos vinhos que provou.
Traga os amigos e aproveite o ambiente descontraído.

1 de Dezembro, Sexta-feira    |    Lisbon Marriott Hotel, Lisboa    

|    Siga o Evento no Facebook


Innovations for this edition:

Adegga Bio
O Adegga Bio é uma nova experiência dedicada aos vinhos Biológicos, Biodinâmicos, Sustentáveis e Naturais dentro do Adegga WineMarket. O Adegga lança a nova experiência acompanhando a evolução do mercado mundial e o elevado interesse dos consumidores em conhecer produtos e produtores Bio.

Wine walks
Looking for the inside track on the 500 wines to taste? If so join a Wine Walk hosted by local experts journalists, winemakers, sommeliers, bloggers doing thematic 30 min tours of the event with groups of 10 people. Topics will include
’10 good white wines below 10€’.



Return of the Sala Premium(Premium Room)
Uma experiência premium numa zona exclusiva dentro do Adegga WineMarket com prova de vinhos Premium, topo de gama e Vinhos do Porto antigos. Uma oportunidade para provar vinhos especiais. O bilhete de acesso à Sala Premium tem um custo de 50€.

Wines in the Premium Room are presented by sommeliers Sérgio Antunes e Vanessa Gonçalves.

Wines in the Premium Room:

Two Covela wines in the Premium Room this year


Liz, Jim, Anthony

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Vins mutés (ou pas) (2): a portable drink



The small, rather rundown town of Pinhão in the Upper Douro


The Upper Douro – undoubtedly one of the world’s
most spectacular wine regions  

It was back in August 1980 that CRM and I first passed through the Douro. We were heading back to the UK after a long summer holiday trip through France, Spain and Portugal, which included some rough camping on Portugal’s Atlantic coast – but that is another story. We drove through Pinhão headed that evening for Braganza.

This was pre-EU days in Portugal – before EU assistance and money transformed the country. I remember thinking we would drive towards Lisbon but soon gave up on the single carriageway road that included all forms of traffic including oxen pulling carts.

A little over a decade later when I had started to write about wine (from late 1988) I was invited to spend the weekend as part of a press at Taylor’s, which included a two-night stay at Quinta de Vargellas in the Upper Douro. We travelled up the Douro by train on the magical line that hugs the river – one of the great train journeys of the world starting from the highly atmospheric São Bento station in central Porto.

In those days in the early 1990s tourism in the Douro was hardly existed. There were few places to stay unless you were part of the wine trade or wine press, so were invited to stay in a quinta during the harvest.

A recent #winelover trip to Porto and the Douro underlined how much has changed. A new section of motorway has transformed the time it takes to get from Porto to the middle and upper Douro. It is now just an hour of 15/20 minutes from Porto to Régua. making day trips to the valley easy and practicable.

At the same time Porto itself has undergone a remarkable transformation in just  a couple of years. Two years ago there were plenty of derelict buildings in the centre, Now that has all changed with fashionable shops and buzzy restaurants moving in and the town is packed with visitors.

The iconic centre of Porto 
(above and below)


Port, of course is one of the attractions of coming to Porto and the Douro, although its importance has been a little diluted by the rising of the still wines of the Douro.

I have to confess that my feelings towards Port have long been rather ambivalent. Although I have been privileged to drink old Vintage Ports, which can be very fine, I find younger vintage Ports and LBVs etc. to be much less interesting than good Vins doux Naturels from the Roussillon be they Rivesaltes, Maury or Banyuls. I suspect that the genesis for Vintage Port was on the playing fields and dining rooms of English boarding schools.

Happily from recently spending generous amounts of time in Portugal – both in Porto and Lisbon – I have become increasingly enamoured with wood aged Ports – be they Tawnys or Colheitas, which I find have very considerably greater complexity and interest. Colheitas are single vintage wood aged Ports, while Tawnys are released as 10 YO, 20 YO, 30 YO, 40 YO – in the styles of where the average Port of of the stated age.

In September I was privileged to attend two remarkable Port tastings – one in Villa Nova de Gaia and the other at Niepoort up the Douro.


1948 Porto Niepoort
– a lovely complex treat 


Finally the lovely Andresen 10 YO White Port is a reminder that these Ports can be complex and not just suitable for Port and tonic – refreshing as they are on a hot Douro day.


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Some Portuguese treats


Relaxed dinner by the Tagus at Atira-te ao Rio

Portugal remains a treasure trove for good value wines in all three colours many from their storehouse of native grape varieties. It is also possible, for those prepared to take a punt, a place to find some remarkable old wines at bargain prices.

How long this will last is perhaps now a question worth asking for in 14 years of coming to Lisbon during July I can never remember a year when Lisbon has been so full of visitors. It seems that many have now discovered the attractions and value of Portugal’s capital. It is a hot destination and not just because it was 37˚C yesterday up from 36˚C on Sunday.

IMG_1923 (1)

2015 Alvarinho, Vinho Verde, pingo doce own label 3.98€


Anselmo Mendes is a Vinho verde specialist making a whole range of wines from this northern Portuguese region including a very fine single vineyard Alvarinho that I cited last week. This own label from supermarket pingo doce is at the other end of the scale. It does, however, offered both plenty of flavour and just amazing value with this Alvarinho that has both texture and a clean refreshing acidity. Ideal as apéro or with some grilled prawns, for instance.

2009 Dona Berta Vinha Centenária, Reserva Branco


Dona Berta – a quite opulent, Douro white made from a range of grapes: Códega do Larinho, Rabigato, Viosinho, Gouveio and Malvasia Fina. We enjoyed this at at Pedro’s Garrafeira Alfaia in the Bairro Alto. There are no wine list, so either you tell Pedro what sort of wine you would like to drink or you choose it from the shelves.

2014 Arinto dos Açores sur lies, DO Pico, Açores, António Maçanita     

Another of Pedro’s choices, this is a rare Arinto from the Azores. Only 1600 bottles are made of this precise, saline and mineral wine. It was a fine foil for the sea bass baked in salt that Pedro’s wife cooked for us – what a treat!


Sea bass cooked in salt

Some golden oldies


NV Terras Altas Dão, José Maria da Fonseca 


In last Tuesday’s post I mentioned a couple of old wines that we had bought from the garrafeira nacional in the Mercado da Ribeira at Cais Sodre. We bought eight as these bins ends were offered at 5.95€ each – buy three to get the fourth for free. It was such a compelling offer that we bought eight on the basis that if a few were undrinkable, they would still have been good value.

To date we have drunk and enjoyed five of our eight bottles, so feel that we already had a bargain. Last Friday night we dispatched a further three. Firstly came the quite deeply golden NV Terras Altas Dão, José Maria da Fonseca. We have no definite information about this white wine. José Maria da Fonseca no longer make a white from the Dão. It is, however, thought it may well have come from the 1960s. Although it naturally had some oxidation, it was certainly still complex, clean and precise with some touches of dry honey. 


A pair from the Ribatejo – Dom Hermano 1985 Reserva and 1980 Garrafeira  

It was fascinating to taste this pair of Dom Hermano reds from the Casa Agricola Herd. de D. Luis de Margaride in Almeirim. Both were in good shape with 12.5% alc but the 1980 Garrafeira with a production of 50,000 bottles had considerably greater length and complexity than the 1985 Reserva. The 1980 Garrafeira was bottled in November 1984, while the 1985 Reserva bottling was in March 1987.





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Mouchão: Portugal’s Tondonia

Scenes from the winery 


Last Thursday we headed out from Lisbon to the Alentejo for a day visit to the fabled Mouchão estate. Normally the Alentejo in summer is hot and dry. Instead on Thursday we were met with heavy rain lit up by impressive flashes of lightning. We were shown round by David Marques Ferreira, who has been estate manager for the past three years. CRM and I had met David at last December’s Adegga Wine Market in Lisbon.

David FerreiraDavid Marques Ferreira

Established in the 19th century Mouchão is the oldest estate in the Alentejo – the other side of the River Tejo. The 1000 hectare estate is owned by the Reynolds family, who in the 19th century, were the leading producers of cork. At the end of the 19th century they decided to diversify  into wine and in 1890 planted their vines – they have 38 hectares with no intention to increase the area under vine. They chose to major on Alicante Bouschet, a teinturier  variety, which remains Mouchão’s signature grape variety. David Ferreira –Alicante Bouschet is « our body and soul ». The winery was built in 1901.



« Alicante Bouschet gives us more than just colour, » David Ferreira explained. « We get big tannins and freshness. Our vines are at 200 metres altitude, which is high for the Alentejo. Some of our vines are at 300 to 400 metres, so we get freshness and acidity. This helps our wines to age well – the 1954 is still good ».

« Although we have a variable geology, sand and clay is the basis, so we retain moisture during the hot summers, » Ferreira continued. « The estate is between two rivers – hence the name Mouchão. We are very much in the middle of nowhere ».

« We work very traditionally here – limiting production, hand picking, no destemming, wholebunch  fermentation, foot treading in lagars and a manual press etc.We mainly use old vats of 5000 litres and prefer French oak with malo in barrel but also use some Brazilian wood. « 

A barrel from the time when the estate was confiscated
and run by the local cooperative 

The estate remains in the Reynolds family, which is now into the seventh generation. However, there was a ten-year interruption of ownership following the 1974 Revolution. The estate was confiscated and the wines were made by the local cooperative and sold under the co-op’s name. It was returned to family ownership in 1985.

« The vineyards were in a poor state, » explained Ferreira. « Nothing had been planted and existing vines had not been maintained. We nearly lost our Alicante Bouschet! »



We tasted five wines:

2015 Dom Rafael Branco – blend of Antão Vaz and Arinto 7.69€
Still very youthful and tight in the finish but with attractive pineapple and grapefruit notes. Good value.

2013 Dom Rafael Tinto – blend of Alicante Bouschet, Trincadeira and Aragonez 8.99€
This spends one year in a mix of large vats and small barrels and then a further year in bottle. As Mouchão’s entry level red, I think this elegant wine is stunning value! It has lovely velvety texture, herbal and spicy notes, structure and acidity. Really a steal at 8.99€ and will clearly age well over the next few years.

Dom Rafael Tinto-2010

2012 Ponte de Canas – Alicante Bouschet (40%), Touriga Nacional,Touriga Franca, Syrah 16€
Unlike the other Mouchão wines this has a small percentage of Syrah that gives this wine additional freshness and edge. The 2012 already has attractive texture and powerful fruit but ideally it needs several more years in bottle to show its best.

Over lunch we had an interesting discussion with David over Ponte de Canas  as he indicated that the current name used on the label may not make it sufficiently clear that Ponte de Canas was actually a wine from Mouchã0.

We suggested that Mouchão ought to be part of the Ponte Canas name and suggested Ponte Canas de Mouchão or Ponte de Mouchão citing that. for instance, Château Latour uses Les Forts de Latour. Clearly the name is under discussion, so we may see a change in the future.

2011 Mouchã0 – 85% Alicante Bouschet, 15% Trincadeira 35€
We were privileged to be the first to taste the 2011 grand vin, which will be released soon.  Naturally this deep coloured wine is still very young and tight in the finish but it has a lovely warm spicy aromas and an opulent texture.

2011 Vinho Licoroso – 100% Alicante Bouschet 19€
This is Mouchão’s version of Port – made in the same way using grape spirit distilled at the winery to stop the fermentation and fortify the wine. Very concentrated with long rich cherry and prune fruit.

The still 


A Taberna do Paulo
Rua 1 de Maio, 28 | Santo Antonio de Alcorrego



After the tasting we all drove to nearby Santo Antonio de Alcorrego to the brightly decorated A Taberna do Paulo where we had a very enjoyable lunch featuring three different types of migas – plain, with tomato, and with coriander – accompanied by small lamb chops.

Our visit to Mouchão reminded me of Tondonia in Haro (Rioja). It has the same sense of calm and great respect for tradition.

Ferreira summed up – « We say Mouchão is Mouchão! »





Jim Budd


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Douro forever

Cela faisait quelques années que je n’étais pas retourné dans la vallée du Douro. Ce vignoble, le plus spectaculaire au monde eu égard à son échelle comme à son paysage, me donne des frissons chaque fois que je le redécouvre. Cette fois-ci, l’occasion  m’en a été donnée par un séjour de 3 jours, où j’accompagnais un groupe d’une trentaine de personnes, dont la plupart découvraient cette région pour la première fois. Personne ne fût déçu ! Mais, au delà des aspects visuels qui sont engendrés par la topographie et le travail incessant de l’homme pour façonner un paysage viticole somptueux, classé par l’Unesco, ce sont les vins qui étaient au cœur de l’affaire.


Peut-on dire qu’un vin parle de l’endroit qui l’a vu naître? C’est un sujet d’ordre philosophique et de croyance (je dirais même de suggestion) autant que relevant d’une logique pure. Bien entendu, une fois sur place, on est tellement dans l’ambiance du lieu qu’on est forcément entraîné vers cette ligne de pensée. En serait-il ainsi avec une dégustation à l’aveugle pratiquée ailleurs? Je vais laisser volontiers cette interrogation en l’air car je n’ai pas la réponse. Ce qui est certain est qu’une révolution considérable est en train de se produire dans ce berceau du vin de porto, avec l’émergence d’une gamme de plus en plus fournie de vins secs, rouges comme blancs, et qui ont, du moins pour les premiers, des ambitions et le potentiel pour se situer parmi les meilleurs du monde.

IMG_7463Dans la fraîcheur sombre de ces cathédrales de vieillissement qui sont les lodges de porto à Vila Nova di Gaia. Ici chez Graham’s.

Ce mouvement, qui a vu le pionnier Barca Velha émerger, un peu seul, il y a une quarantaine d’années, a pris de l’ampleur depuis une dizaine d’années. On peut émettre plusieurs explications. D’abord, probablement, une tendance baissière du marché du Porto. Mais, peut-être d’une manière plus intéressante, la prise de conscience du formidable potentiel de cette région, et de son formidable réservoir de variétés essentiellement autochtones. Le Portugal, dont la surface en vignes ne représente que le double de celle du Bordelais, compte quelques 350 variétés de vitis vinifera identifiées, ce qui est nettement plus que la France. Un des domaines que nous avons visités dans le Douro, l’excellent Quinta do Crasto, qui surplombe le fleuve, nous a annoncé que leur programme de recherche et d’identification des variétés, mené en partenariat avec l’Institut de Vin de Porto et une université, a démontré qu’une de leurs parcelles les plus anciennes comporte pas moins de 41 variétés de vigne.

IMG_7489Quinta do Crasto (et sa piscine) domine la vallée du Douro en aval de Pinhao

Mais ce n’est pas tout, bien évidemment. Un autre des atouts de la région du Douro et des ses affluents est une très grande diversité d’altitudes, de pentes, d’orientations et d’organisations culturales. Proche du fleuve, et en fonction de orientations, les raisins sont murs un mois avant ceux situés en altitude et face au nord, et leur charge en sucre est d’autant plus important. Si les cépages utilisés les plus couramment et issus des plantations les plus récentes sont au nombre de cinq, essentiellement, les vielles vignes sont très souvent complantées avec de très nombreuses variétés ayant des phases de maturation et des caractéristiques bien distinctes. Que l’on choisisse de vendanger tout en même temps, ou selon un certain degré de maturité de chaque variété, donnera des résultats bien différents. Fermenter tout ensemble ou dans des vaisseaux séparés aussi. Si on rajoute à ces données issus du vignoble les choix de l’homme en matière d’outils et de méthodes de vinification, les options sont presque infinis. On constate, par exemple, que bon nombre de domaine de taille relativement modeste utilisent toujours les cuves de foulage en granite, peu profonds et appelés lagares afin d’extraire doucement mais rapidement couleur et tanins, aussi bien pour les vins secs que pour les vins mutés. Les systèmes de pigeage varient aussi, comme les durées et techniques d’élevages.

IMG_7468le foulage au pied – démonstration dans un lagare à Qunta do Noval, mais sans raisin car c’est le printemps

C’est pour cela qu’il me semble difficile de parler d’un style «Douro» dans les vins secs. Tandis que les Portos, issus pourtant des mêmes vignobles et cépages, ont un style immédiatement identifiable, bien qu’avec des variations autour de thèmes selon le producteur et le type de porto (ruby, vintage, tawny etc), à cause de l’impact du procédé de mutage et des élevages plus ou moins oxydatifs. J’éprouve, personnellement, plus de facilité à identifier un style commun entre les vins du Languedoc, à condition que ceux-ci fassent appel à des cépages du Sud, qu’entre la gamme des rouges secs du Douro. Je plaindrai quelqu’un essayant de coller ce terme collectif absurde de «typicité» sur des vins aussi différents que «Les Charmes» de Niepoort, Redoma du même producteur, Duas Quintas de Ramos Pinto, ou la Reserva de Crasto, pour ne prendre que quelques exemples. Est-ce un problème ? Bien sur que non, sauf pour quelqu’un qui serait obsédé par la simplification.

IMG_7485mur de schiste sur bloc de schiste : le pays est aride et le climat rude. La vigne n’a que s’y accrocher

Sur le plan des cépages, si le Touriga Nacional est la plus médiatisée des variétés que l’on trouve dans le Douro, elle est loin d’être la plus plantée, et certains producteurs le trouvent un peu trop violent dans son expression pour participer dans des proportions importantes dans leurs rouges secs. D’autres, comme Vallado ou Noval par exemple, en font des cuvées à part. Le Touriga Franca, le Tinto Roriz (Tempranillo) ou d’autres semblent retenir plus de suffrages pour le moment dans les cuvées les plus courantes, hormis le cas des field blends (vignobles de complantation) avec leur degrés de complexité supérieurs, dues à la fois à la grande diversité des cépages, mais aussi aux différents niveaux de maturités lors des vendanges, comme, souvent l’âge vénérable des vignes.

IMG_7495L’hôtellerie, la cuisine et le tourisme sont aussi en plein développement dans le Douro. Ici la cuisine ouverte à l’hôtel Six Senses à Lamego 

Un autre aspect de la production de cette région magnifique qui m’a frappé lors de ce voyage est la fraîcheur et la finesse des vins blancs. Ceux que j’ai dégustés constituent, pour les meilleurs, des vins d’apéritif idéaux, frais et délicat, parfumés selon l’assemblage utilisé, ou bien plus consistant mais jamais pesants. Les vignobles utilisés se trouvent généralement en altitude pour un gain de fraîcheur.

Je n’ai pas de dégustation importante ni de notes détaillées à vous présenter pour étayer mes dires car l’occasion ne s’y prêtait pas, mais je peux signaler quelques vins qui m’ont particulièrement plu issus de domaines visités ou qui ont été présentés lors des repas de ce voyage de trois jours :

Les Portos

Graham’s Crusted Ruby et LBV (ils font aussi de grands vintages mais je trouve leur style en tawny trop sucré à mon goût)

Niepoort Tawny 10 ans, très fin, complexe et finit plus sec que la plupart. Un des meilleurs de sa catégorie, pour moi.

Quinta do Noval Colheita 2000

Quinta do Crasto LBV 2011

Quinta Vale D. Maria Ruby Reserve (ce vin a le niveau de beaucoup de LBV)

Les vins rouges du Douro

Ramos Pinto : Duas Quintas Classico, Duas Quintas Reserva, Bons Ares

Niepoort Redoma, particulièrement un magnifique 2007 qui atteint une belle maturité et démontre la capacité de garde des meilleurs rouges du coin.

Vallado Tinto 2013 et Reserva Field Blend 2013

Quinta do Crasto Reserva 2014

Quinta Vale D. Maria 3 Vales 2013 et Quinta Vale D. Maria 2012

Il y a aussi de beaux rouges chez Quinta do Noval mais je les trouve trop chers pour leur niveau en ce moment.

Les vins blancs du Douro

Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas Branco

Vallado Prima 2015 (un muscat sec) et Reserva Branco 2014

Quinta do Crasto 2015

Quinta Vale D. Maria 2015

David Cobbold

(texte et photos, et ici sur le circuit du Vigean tout récemment)

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