Thursday, May 26, 2011

Report from ... Portugal G7 - May 2, 2011

It seems like forever since the G7 blew into town, but I bet if I looked it up its only been a couple of years at most (for the curious it was October 2009).  A lot seems to have happened to this consortium in the interim - they no longer represent 7 wineries, due to attrition (some left some were bought out) only 5 wineries remain ... but they do represent 7 of Portugal's main regions: Douro, Vinho Verde, Bairrada, Dao, Lisbon, Alentejo and Terras do Sado.  Five winery principals joined us for a presentation of the 7 regions, their wines, lunch and more wine - so let's get right down to it.
Teaching an old dog new tricks - Domingos Soares Franco (L) & Pedro da Costa (R)

The Regions ...
1) Vinho Verde - comprises 10% of Portugal's land under vine (21,000 hectares), average holding is only about 0.8 hectares.

2) Douro - Portugal's most famous region, known for Port wines, there are three major crops here: almonds, olives and grapes.

3) Dao - "not big wines but elegant wines", due to the diurnal temperatures of the region: warm during the day and cooler nights.

4) Bairrade - very wet region: September to May is the rainy season, average holding per property is about 2 acres.  Have been growing international varieties like Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Merlot for only the past 15 years.

5) Alentejo - very flat area, hottest region of Portugal where temps can hit 40+ degrees in June and remain at 30+ at night, so little relief from the heat.

6) Lisboa - region is known for its foggy, windy and cooler conditions.

7) Setubal - I must have fallen asleep at this point cause I have no notes about the regions ... I find this peculiar, but ...

The P5 (Portugal Five Wineries) of the G7...
Alianca (est. 1927) - 800 acres of vineyard spread thru 5 regions.
Aveleda (est. 1947) - annual production is 14 million bottles, exported to over 40 countries.
Bacalhoa (est. 1922) - originally Joao Pires & Filhos, have wineries in 3 regions, production capacity tops out at 12 million litres and they can age wine in up to 6000 barrels.
Jose Maria da Fonseca (Est. an elegant lady never reveals her age) - one of the oldest and most prestigious wineries in Portugal, own over 600 hectares of land and possess on their properties a collection of over 560 different grape varieties.
Caves Messias (est. 1926) - wines are exported to more than 50 countries, they make wine in a wide range of styles from Champagne method sparklers to rich flavourful Ports.

Seminar Wines of Note ...
Aveleda 2010 Qunita da Aveleda (Vinho Verde) - lovely nose that's floral and tropical with good minerality ... good mouth watering acidity makes this very food friendly and summery.

Messias 2007 Quinta do Valdoeiro (Barrada) - a mix of indigenous (Baga, Touriga Nacional) and international (Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon); fresh and fruity nose with a palate of dark berry, chocolate and a hint of chalky minerality yet very approachable.

Alianca 2005 Quinta da Garrida Touriga Nacional (Dao) - aged in a mix of French and Russian oak; smooth with blackberries, blueberries and cocoa.

Jose Maria da Fonseca 2007 Jose de Sousa Mayor (Alentejo) - top end wine of the winery which is made in clay pots; made form indigenous grapes (Aragones, Trincadeira) and one known as Grand Noir (brought in by Napoleon, a cross made in the 1850's from Petit Bouchet and Aramon).  Lovely wine with elegance and finesse - really well structured: chocolate, blackberry and silky tannins.
Stunning ... Messias LBV 2005 Port

The Main Tasting - one standout from each winery ...
Alianca 2007 Quinta da Terrugem (Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouchet) - *** 1/2+
Aveleda 2007 Follies Touriga Nacional (Touriga Nacional) - *** 1/2
Bacalhoa 2007 Quinta do Carmo (Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouchet, Cabernet Sauvignon) - ****
Liquid caramel
Jose Maria da Fonseca 2006 Moscatel de Setubal JMF (Moscatel de Setubal) - fortified wine that tasted like liquid caramel - ****+
Messias 2005 Porto LBV (Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca) - stunning 2005 LBV worthy of having on hand for those cold winter nights - **** 1/2

Lunch - the two best wines ...
Aveleda 2009 Grande Follies (90% Chardonnay and an indigenous blend of 4 other grapes) - vanilla. toast, baked apple - fruity up front with a good wood character that does not try to add too much.

Jose Maria da Fonseca 2008 Periquita Superyor (Castelao 92.6%, Cabernet Sauvignon 5%, Tinta Francisca 2.4%) - plum and blackberry aromas lead to blackberry, cassis, and a touch of licorice on the finish, lots of fruit with a gentle kick of spice.

Lunch provided by the Chef's House of George Brown College (pictures below)
House cured salmon, brioche toast, spring mixed greens, horseradish creme fraiche
Red wine braised beef short-ribs, ginger scented carrot puree, potato pave, green pea foam
Canolli filled with candied citrus ricotta mousse, maple & raisin caramel sauce, roasted hazelnuts

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

My take ...

**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Messias Quinta do Valdoeiro 2007 Bairrada, Signature

-Bacalhoa Quinta da Bacalhoa 2008 Peninsula de Setubal, $40 private order Diamond

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Jose de Sousa Mayor 2007 Alentejo, Dandurand

-Bacalhoa Tinto da Anfora 2008 Alentejo, $11.95 +227256

***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Messias Grande Escholha 2007 Douro, Signature

-Alianca Quinta da Garrida Touriga Nacional 2005 Dao, PMA

-Bacalhoa Quinta dos Loridos 2010 Lisboa (tank sample, white)

-Aveleda Grande Follies 2009 Bairrada, Mark Anthony

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Superyor 2008 Peninsula de Setubal

-Alianca Quinta Dos Quatro Ventos Reserva 2006 Douro, PMA

-Bacalhoa JP Azeitao Red 2010 Peninsula de Setubal, $11.95 consignment Diamond

-Bacalhoa Quinta do Carmo 2007, $37 private order Diamond

-Alianca White 2010 Vinho Verde, PMA

-Alianca Reserva 2008 Dao, PMA

-Alianca Quinta da Terrugem 2007, PMA

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Twin Vines 2010 Vinho Verde, Dandurand

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita White 2010 Peninsula de Setubal, Dandurand

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Red Reserva 2008 Peninsula de Setubal, Dandurand

*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):

-Aveleda Quinta da Aveleda 2010 Vinho Verdes, Mark Anthony

-Aveleda Follies Alvarinho 2010 Minho

-Messias Quinta do Valdoeiro Reserva 2005, $19.95 September Vintages

-Bacalhoa So Touriga Nacional 2007, $35 private order Diamond

-Alianca Alabastro 2010 Alentejo, PMA

-Alianca Feral 2009 Douro, PMA

-Alianca Vista Tinta Roriz 2008 Beiras, PMA

-Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional 2007 Bairrada, Mark Anthony

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Periquita Red 2008 Peninsula de Setubal, Dandurand

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Jose de Sousa 2009 Alentejo, Dandurand

-Jose Maria da Fonseca Domingos 2009 Douro, Dandurand

-Messias Quinta do Penedo 2008 Dao, Signature