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From Port to Port the tipsy Asian tweeting at your feet does Wines from Portugal or is it the other way around?
During my attendance at seven Vancouver International Wine Festival events this year, I reluctantly learned to spit ignoring the voices of my ancestors who taught me to “waste not spit not”. But as I’m a huge fan of Port, I’m not sorry to tell you that during the Portuguese trade tasting I savored each and every drop of Port with its overtones of nuts, dried fruits, orange oh so very lovely raisins and butterscotch – total sweet wine nirvana and they don’t call me the wine sweetie for nothing.
I’ve never had White Port, which is made from white grapes. Viera del Sousa White Port, 10 years is a wine that is medium brown in colour, indicative of the fact that it’s been aged a little longer than most White Ports as they tend to be a lighter in hue. There was oranges, dried fruit and nuts on the palate and a complexity similar to tawny port due to the maturity of this vintage.
Ruby Ports don’t mature and gain more complexity after being bottled, but because Vieira de Sousa Ruby Port had ripe fruit and plums on the nose and smooth tannins, you’ll have no problem drinking this wine in no time flat.
Tawny Ports are made from red grapes aged in wooden barrels for at least two years which exposes them to gradual oxidation and evaporation so they mellow to golden brown colour. The oxidation gives them nutty flavours, typically sweet, medium dry and a dessert wine. So the 20 year vintage of Senhora Convento Port Tawny, was truly aromatic with very distinct flavours of dried fruit and wood and a long finish of spices.
40 years, C. da Silva 63 White Port was a true delight to drink with fragrant apricots and toasted nuts on the palate followed by figs, dried fruit and toffee on the long finish.
Another sweet wine close to my sweet wine loving heart is Moscatel made from Muscat grapes which bring forth citrus, flowers and lush grape flavours on the palate and ripen to high sugar levels making it ideal for fortified wines.
Jose Maria da Fonseca Alambre Moscatel Setubal – with a name as long as it’s finish, this Moscatel is dark gold in colour with aromas of caramel and apricots and ripe fruit on the palate and balanced acidity and at $20, it’s a good buy.
C. Da Silva Moscatel Do Douro – an intense wine with raisins and spices that one should drink in small doses paired with your favorite cheesecake, oh heaven.
2012 Terra D’Alter is a wine made from Siria grapes found only in Portugal which is similar to unoaked Chardonnay as I found it to be light, crisp and vibrant with pear, peach, pineapple and flowers on the palate and well-balanced acidity. If you can find this in a wine store, buy a case.
Apparently no crickets were harmed in the making of Cigarra Tinto 2010 as that word literally means crickets of which at night the song of crickets keep the winemakers company as they craft their brew on their land (there’s also a wine named after their Labrador dog). This is an easy drinking wine blend of Castelão, Camarate, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Miúda.varieties with dark fruit on the palate and silky complex tannins.
“Our wines are the result of the tehnical precision of the New World and secular tradition of the old world”
More than discovering new wines I’ve become fascinated of late with absurd wine labels. So I just had to ask the reps behind the story of Pato Rebel 2010 from Louis Pato. Apparently, this represents the tongue of Mike Jagger tongue with the hands of Einstein, as the winemaker sets his own standards and makes wine according to his own formula, often breaking the rules.
“This wine pretends to be proof that they can produce a wine from Baga grapes that is aromatic and has soft tannins”. Wines made from Baga grapes typically produces tannic wines with high acidity, but this one had silky tannins and a vibrant fruit on the palate.
At $15 a bottle, Xadrez is a rather refreshing and aromatic unoaked wine of Loureiro and Arinto grapes with citrus and tropical notes.
Herdade Paço do Conde Colheita Seleccionada Touriga Nacional Syrah is robust in body and has complex tannins with dark fruit and tobacco on the palate, making it a great wine to sip and savour.
Entre Santos Branco is a dry crisp white blend of Sauvignon Blanc and, depending on the year, Bical, Arinto or Chardonnay with pineapple and apricot on the palate.
Monte da Ravasqueira Rose is light and refreshing as it has everything a Rose does to please the palate with strawberries and rose pedals.
Although many others prefer wine seminars to learn about the wonders of Portuguese wines, to me nothing compares to just simply sipping and savouring all that the wines of Portugal has to offer. Waste not spit not – I think I mastered that concept quite splendidly when it comes to Portuguese wines.