Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Report from ... Day 4: Portugal, Vinho Verde - June 12, 2012

It's Day 4 and it's a rather light day - with a trip to the Vinho Verde commission in the morning, an afternoon of free time (in which most of us will take the opportunity to grab a few zzz's) and an evening spent with the minister in charge of wine (and other things) ... but wait, there is some excitement in the morning that gets us all riled up ... let's take a look:

First, let's clear something up ... for those interested in my recent Facebook and Twitter posts about working and spending time in the bathroom, I thought I would show you where these posts were coming from ... It was the only internet I could get in the room.
Also ... I alwasy tell you the day begins on the bus, but in truth it really begins here: in the breakfast room (of which ever hotel we are staying)
1 of 3 ... I was a little late to the party, but I understand we had a pseudo international indecent that had to do with some toiletries left in a plastic bag on the bathroom floor and their disappearance.
2 of 3 ... reports are filled out and the long and the short of it is

3 of 3 ... some young lady is going to get a criminal record because some jackass left his toiletries on the floor and she mistook it for garbage ... some people's children
Which made the majority of us stand around an extra hour or so ... thank goodness for Karin Slaughter (author of the book I 'm reading)

Anyway ... OUR first visit of the day is to the CVRVV - look at the sign for what the letters stand for.  This is the hoe of the Vinho Verde Commission.
Views from their "backyard" of Vila de Nova Gaia and the port houses.
More views ... some of you will have seen something similar if you followed me on the last trip in March.
Inside these are the labs where some 5000 samples are submitted every year

for evaluation ... only about 5-7% get rejected and usually for something that was done in the wine making process.
Executive President, Manuel Pinheiro, takes us through the process
From tasting ...
to computer data entry of their findings (thanks Joel for posing)
Another lab shot
Fro there we head upstairs for a tasting of some 20 wines that are award winning and critically acclaimed.
Best Bubble (of 2) ... was the Miogo Bruto 2009 Reserve: fruity and frothy, good summer sipper (*** 1/2)
Best Rose (of 2) ... was the Quinta das Arcas 2011 Arca Nova made from espadeiro: strawberry, raspberry with a cherry finish and mainly dry on the palate - there's some real charm here (*** 1/2+)
Other favourites included the Quinta da Lixa 2011 Alvarinho / Trajadura: having just what the label tells you it will have plus hints of sweet grapefruit and grass (*** 1/2+)
Morgadio da Terre 2011 Alvarinho: grapefruit pulp with interesting lime, good acidity and pleasant mouthfeel (*** 1/2+)

And Quinta do Fijo 2011 Arinto: hints of green apple throughout - yummy (*** 1/2+)
Looking back at the mess we have made after the wines have been tasted
Lunch is alfresco or in a back room ... your choice.  I opted to eat indoors
but then sit out with a glass of bubbly and take in the view of the port houses
Sheila and Irvin talk about their latest pains and perscriptions
"Darling, it hurts here ... but only when I laugh."
We return to the Tiara Hotel ... where it all began some 48 hours ago - we will be here the next 2 days.
I welcome proper work space instead of the bathroom
Took a quick walk over to the market to check it out (2 minute walk from hotel) - saw "Bacalhau" (salted cod) - my understanding is the most Portuguese have never seen or had fresh cod.  Interesting.
Dinner with the Secetary of State (of Portugal) started with bread ... check out the colour on this olive oil - it was like pure heroin for olive oil fans.
An address from Manuel Pinheiro: "even negative feedback is beneficial to our winemakers."
Included honest remarks: "Portugal is going through difficult days ahead ... we are led by young leaders with new ideas which will hopefully get us out of this crisis of our own doing."
and honest answers: "years ago we had a saying, it takes 3 people to drink Vinho Verde: 2 to hold him down and one to pour it down his throat."
And a summation: "today, we use the same varieties of the past, but we try to make them better with a clear notion of what Vinho Verde is like and a clear understanding of the varieties we use."
Wine #1 was paired with ...
Sauteed prawns, villeroy oyster, brill breaded in panko on scallop carpaccio and padron capsium
Here is it deconstructed so you can see everything on the plate.
Remarks from the Secretary of State, Jose Diogo Bernardo (right - Sean Wood on left), "we need to be less individualistic and work more as a region together."
Course 2 - seabass fillet, creamy potato with herbs, fish stew sauce

with an old friend from yesterday
and finally ... apple cake, orange mousse and passion fruit mousse, lemon macaroon, saffron filaments cream and late harvest ice
Our hosts say goodnight: Jose Diogo Bernardo, Secretary of State (left) and Manuel Pinheiro, Executive President Commission of Vinho Verde (Right)

Our Chef of the evening: Jorge Sousa
And finally, ended my evening in the bar with a Super bock Stout and a Tawny Port (thanks Sean)
That was it for Day 4 ... in terms of what we have had in the past few days it was relatively easy and fairly relaxing ... but wait, tomorrow is another day and they have a full schedule for us starting at 9 ... where else but on the bus.

1 comment:

Dean Tudor said...

Love the demon red eyes in Chef Jorge Sousa...