Andre Ribeirinho | Food, Wine & Travel

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An Amazing Night with Portuguese Michelin Star Chefs

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Dieter Koschina and Matteo Ferrantino

A dinner with a Michelin starred Chef is (normally) something of an experience. When you put 12 of them together and add some great wines you prepare yourself for one of the meals of your life. That’s what happened last night and it blew me away.

The mood was set early. The 2nd day dinner of the International Gourmet Festival was going to be held at the Vila Joya’s fantastic restaurant room which sits just on top of a sandy beach and has a great sea view (where you can actually hear the waves).

Vila Joya is a highly respected 2 Michelin star restaurant located in heart of the Algarve in the south of Portugal. A cathedral of fine dining and number 37 in the The World’s 50 Best Restaurant list.

Portuguese Michelin Star Chefs

Then, a line up of some of the best Chefs working in Portugal (or being Portuguese and working abroad) was nothing short of remarkable. The host Dieter Koschina and his right-hand men Matteo Ferrantino (in the picture) and a list of names that rarely get together in such an impressive setting: José Avillez, Ricardo Costa, Leonel Pereira, Vitor Matos, Benoît Sinthon, Hans Neuner, Albano Lourenço, Vincent Farges and George Mendes (who travelled all the way from NYC)!

Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004

And finally a wine list that included such stars as the fantastic Dom Pérignon Millésime 2004, the 2003 Pelada, the Niepoort Batuta 2010 or the Pintas Vintage Port 2007. The pairings would most probably make each of the night’s courses shine even more.

Expectation was at the highest possible level but what followed simply blew past it.

Cocktail First a premium Olive Oil tasting, with homemade grissini, salty focaccia and Oliveira da Serra’s brand new and truly delicious early harvested Portuguese olive oil. Then it was cocktail time! Grabbed a Port tonic and visited the very busy Vila Joya’s kitchen (with 12 Chefs and and their staff inside) preparing the 10-courses menu. Time for some interesting amuse bouche and we’re off for the dinner.

Chefs table at Vila Joya

The Chef’s Table at Vila Joya. Available for sponsors and for those paying 600 € to attend the dinner.

The Portuguese Michelin Stars Dinner For 4 hours we indulged in a sequence of food masterpieces. Each of them paired with a specific wine and enjoyed with good conversation and even better company.

Fresh Gillardeau oysters

1. Fresh Gillardeau oysters. A great start to an amazing Michelin-starred dinner. Prepared by Chef Benoît Sinthon and produced since 1898 by the Gillardeau family and their small company near La Rochelle and the (gorgeous) Île d’Oléron in France. Brilliantly paired with a crispy and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Cortes de Cima.

Perfectly cooked octopus by George Mendes

2. Perfectly cooked octopus by George Mendes, the Portuguese Chef running @aldeanyc. One of my favourites of the night.

Tuna Chūtoro

3. Tuna Chūtoro, the tastiest fatty part of the tuna. Here cooked masterfully by Hans Neuner (Restaurant Ocean, Algarve). I’ve been transported to another dimension. Absolutely amazing!

Marinated Scottish Salmon

4. Marinated Scottish salmon with Imperial Caviar by Henrique Leis. Paired very well with an oaky white from Herdade da Calada Reserva.

Red mullet and scallops

5. Red mullet, scallops and carpaccio by Ricardo Costa, the Michelin-starred Chef from @Theyeatman. A superb mix of amazing flavours.

Wild turbot & White truffles

6. Wild turbot & White truffles, a match made in heaven by Vincent Farge of Fortaleza do Guincho. Plus hazelnuts and Jerusalém artichokes (not really artichokes!). Totally blown away by the pairing with the Dom Pérignon Vintage 2004

7. Black Truffle Cappuccino with chicken sot-l’y-laisse. Exciting textures and flavours in a dish created by Albano Lourenço. Also a great pairing for the Dom Pérignon. (no picture, sorry)

8. Roe Deer Back and Horseradish. Served early than what was listed one the menu because (they said) Chef Dieter Koschina thought the meat was perfectly cooked and ready to be served. A timely decision. The Roe Deer Back was one of the best meats I’ve had this year. Amazing balance in amazing dish. Dieter and Matteo (Ferrantino) rock as a team. Again a perfect pairing. The Niepoort Batuta 2010 is showing beautifully and together they are a match in heaven. Great stuff! (no picture, sorry).

DSC0224

9. Fois gras with onions and cauliflower. Beautifully presented but unfortunately the only uninteresting course of this otherwise great meal. After a set of quite amazing course this one lost its place. I’m sure that wasn’t intended. Maybe have it sooner next time?

Slow cooked hare

10. Slow cooked hare, goose liver, white beans and mushrooms. A heavier but oh-so-delicious slow cooked dish. The sauce added extra thickness. Perfect pairing with the 100% Baga from Campolargo served in a Magnum bottle and also with the fantastic Álvaro de Castro  Pelada 2003. Two great Portuguese red wines. Two of the best pairings of the night!

11. Wild berries, violets and grand cru chocolate. A surprisingly fresh dessert and actually the only way a dessert would fit in after 10 courses. The balance of ingredients was just perfect. The Wine & Soul Pintas Vintage Port from 2007 was fruity but elegant and powerful enough to pair with the last item on the menu. I was too busy with my Port to take a photo. After all a superb food night simply cannot end without a great Port Wine!

While slowly sipping through my glass of Port I remember thinking to myself that this was an one of the best food and wine experiences I’ve ever had. How wonderful of an opportunity to enjoy in one night the amazing food masterpieces created by some of the best food artists in the World. Thank you gentlemen. We’ll certainly meet again in the near future!

The 7th edition of the International Gourmet Festival continues this week with a fantastic programme that includes the likes of Joan Roca (El Celler de Can Roca), Nuno Mendes (Viajante), Quique Dacosta (Quique Dacosta) and many more Chefs.

Written by andrerib

November 9, 2013 at 17:39

Olly Smith’s 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2013

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Olly Smith 50 Great Portuguese Wines

Olly Smith’s list of 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2013 has been released and is full of great value wines from Portugal.

The 50 Great Portuguese Wines is a Wines of Portugal initiative that happens every year in the UK and the US. For this year’s UK event, Olly Smith, a well known TV and wine personality, was selected to choose his list of 50 Great Portuguese Wines. Olly has decided to focus on finding the best value wines between £7 – £30.

Olly Smith was already the 9th expert to be selected for this initiative which has become an annual highlight for Portuguese wine and has helped raise awareness for the exciting diversity of what is being done in Portugal.

I’m a supporter of this initiative as I find that it works very well as a point of entry in the fantastic world of Portuguese wine for many wine lovers. Olly is a specially interesting selection for his ability to be consumer-focused and for his lively no-string-attached attitude towards wine.

Lots of good value options to choose from the 19 white wines, 27 red wines and 4 fortified wines. Here’s Olly Smith’s List of 50 Great Portuguese Wines 2013:

  White Wines Region  
1. Vales de Ambrães – Avesso 2012 Vinho Verde Where to buy
2. Casa da Senra 2012 Vinho Verde Where to buy
3. Soalheiro 2012 Vinho Verde Where to buy
4. Alvarinho Solar de Serrade 2012 Vinho Verde Where to buy
5. FP 2012 Bairrada Where to buy
6. Quinta da Raza Arinto 2012 Vinho Verde Where to buy
7. Montes Ermos Reserva 2011 Douro Where to buy
8. Beyra Quartz 2011 Beira Interior Where to buy
9. Redoma 2011 Douro Where to buy
10. Quinta de la Rosa 2011 Douro Where to buy
11. Pato Frio Antão Vaz 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
12. Vinhas do Lasso 2010 Lisboa Where to buy
13. Dona Ermelinda 2011 Península de Setubal Where to buy
14. Valle Pradinhos 2011 Tras-os-Montes Where to buy
15. Muros de Melgaço 2011 Vinho Verdes Where to buy
16. Quinta de Saes Encruzado 2011 Dão Where to buy
17. Quinta dos Roques Encruzado 2011 Dão Where to buy
18. Esporão Reserva 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
19. Arenae 2010 Lisboa Where to buy
  Red Wines    
20. Marquês de Borba 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
21. Almeida Garrett 2010 Beira Interior Where to buy
22. Sexy 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
23. Zéfyro 2009 Alentejo Where to buy
24. Altano Quinta do Ataíde Reserva 2009 Douro Where to buy
25. PAPE 2010 Dão Where to buy
26. Claudia’s 2009 Douro Where to buy
27. Manoella Douro 2010 Douro Where to buy
28. Quinta Nova – Colheita 2010 Douro Where to buy
29. F’OZ 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
30. Palpite 2010 Alentejo Where to buy
31. Poeira 2010 Douro Where to buy
32. Vertente 2009 Douro Where to buy
33. Trincadeira Vinhas Velhas 2009 Tejo Where to buy
34. Tinto da Ânfora 2010 Alentejo Where to buy
35. Duas Pedras 2011 Alentejo Where to buy
36. Crasto Superior 2010 Douro Where to buy
37. Quinta de Foz de Arouce 2009 Beiras Where to buy
38. Quinta dos Quatro Ventos 2009 Douro Where to buy
39. Aliança Bairrada Reserva 2011 Bairrada Where to buy
40. Quinta dos Roques 2010 Dão Where to buy
41. Esporão Reserva 2010 Alentejo Where to buy
42. Cedro do Noval 2009 Douro Where to buy
43. Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional 2009 Dão Where to buy
44. CH by Chocapalha 2009 Lisboa Where to buy
45. Quinta de la Rosa Reserve 2010 Douro Where to buy
46. Quinta do Sagrado Reserva 2007 Douro Where to buy
  Fortified (Port Madeira and Moscatel)    
47 Verdelho 15 Years Old Madeira Where to buy
48 Moscatel de Favaios Colheita 1980 Douro Where to buy
49 Família Horacio Simões Bastardo 2009 Península Setúbal Where to buy
50 Dow’s Quinta do Bomfim Vintage Port Douro Where to buy

More information about each wine and a list of places where to buy them (around the world) is available by clicking on each wine.

Finally, watch Olly selecting and explaining what he thinks about Portuguese Wine during his 50 Great Portuguese Wines tasting and selection:

Written by andrerib

April 18, 2013 at 12:12

The Best Portuguese Wines of 2012 by Revista dos Vinhos

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Barca Velha 2004

In an event that is known as the Oscars of Wine in Portugal, Revista dos Vinhos (one of Portugal’s most read wine magazines) has announced their 2012 List of Best Portuguese Wines.

This is a solid list of great Portuguese wines including some out-of-this-world bottles (like the Barca Velha 2004). The 30 wines on the list got an Award of Excellence for having achieved the very best ratings in all of the wine tastings organized by the wine magazine during 2012.

As you’ll see from the indicative retail prices this is a list that includes some of the most expensive Portuguese wines on the market. In general there’s plenty of good wines at lower price points in the market (as you can see by most of my Wines of the Week or the Top 10 Portuguese Wines by Essência do Vinho) but this is mostly a list of high-end wines, even if some – for the quality – can still be considered good values at their price.

As always I’ve marked my favorite wines (and this time also the good values) on the list. I haven’t yet tasted all of them so I’ll do an update on the list as soon as I taste them.

Award of Excellence

Reds

Whites

Port Wines

Madeira & Others

The magazine also selected the top wines by region including a list of Port Wines. You can see the full list of selected wines (in Portuguese) on the magazine’s website.

Written by andrerib

February 22, 2013 at 17:45

Top 10 Portuguese Wines by Essência do Vinho

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Top 10 Portuguese Wines Essência do Vinho
Photo by Ilkka Sirén

The 10th edition of Essência do Vinho, Portugal’s biggest wine event (though not the best :)), is happening this weekend in the beautiful city of Porto. This year’s program is filled with exciting tastings and special events. In what has become one of the most awaited wine ceremonies in Portugal, Essência do Vinho has once again selected its Top 10 Portuguese Wines.

A list of 51 wines (38 reds e 14 whites) was pre-selected by Essência during the year. Then, a panel of international wine influencers (journalists, critics, bloggers) coming from such countries as Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Portugal and Sweden selected 2 white wines and 8 red wines for the final list.

Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas 2011

Top 10 Portuguese Wines by Essência do Vinho

  1. Soalheiro Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas 2011 (White, Vinho Verde, 15 €) – favorite
    Grape varieties: Alvarinho
  2. Guru 2011 (White, Douro, 25 €) – favorite
    Viosinho, Rabigato, Codega do Larinho, Gouveio
  3. Tributo 2010 (Red, Tejo, 22 €)
    Syrah, Grenache, Viognier
  4. Curriculum Vitae 2010 (Red, Douro, 57 €) – favorite
    A blend of +25 grape varieties from 80-plus year old vines including Rufete, Tinta Amarela, Donzelinho Tinto, Tinta Francisca, Sousão, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional
  5. Pintas 2010 (Red, Douro, 60 €) – favorite
    A blend of +20 grape varieties from 78 year old vines
  6. Terrenus Vinhas Velhas Reserva 2009 (Red, Alentejo, 40 €)
    Aragonês, Trincadeira, Grand Noir, Alicante Bouchet and others (9 different Portuguese varieties) from 90 year old vines
  7. Casa de Santa Vitória Grande Reserva 2008 (Red, Alentejo, 12 €)
    Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
  8. Passadouro Touriga Nacional 2010 (Red, Douro, 18 €)
    Touriga Nacional
  9. Grande Rocim Reserva 2009 (Red, Alentejo, 50 €)
    Alicante Bouschet
  10. Hexagon 2008 (Red, Setúbal, 36 €)
    Touriga  Nacional, Syrah,  Trincadeira,  Tinto  Cão, Touriga Franca, Tannat

I’ve marked my favorite wines from the list though I haven’t yet tasted all of the wines. I’ll do an update on the list as soon as I taste them.

The prices for the Top 10 Portuguese Wines start at an inexpensive 11 € (for the Passadouro) while both the top red and the top white are below 20 €. Some good value options in this list. The other good news is that many of these wines are available outside of Portugal. Enjoy!

Written by andrerib

February 8, 2013 at 18:26

Wine of the Week! Meandro 2009

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Meandro 2009

Every couple of weeks I head to the Artis Wine Bar in Lisbon for a night of popular Portuguese food and one or two good bottles of wine. These are now popular nights amongst my friends who have become fans of the delicious wines available on the bar’s extensive wine list and the great food pairings.

One of the bar’s best and most popular foods options is the house-recipe Bitoque, a portuguese-style fried steak and egg with homestyle cube fries and a special tasty sauce. This is a brilliant pairing for a bottle of Meandro 2009, a Douro red whose flavors and structure will completely marry the steak, egg and fries fatness.

Meandro is the very attractive first wine of the Quinta do Vale Meão and the younger brother of the one of the best wines from the Douro (also named Quinta do Vale Meão). Made by winemaker Francisco “Xito” Olazabal the Meandro is a wine with pronounced fruit aromas, meaty and chocolaty flavors, all well balanced by a good soft chewy structure and clean fresh finish. A really great pleasure to drink!

The Meandro 2009 is a delicious blend of Touriga Nacional (35%), Touriga Franca (30%), Tinta Roriz (25%), Tinta Barroca (5%) and Sousão (5%). Some of the same varieties also used in Port Wine. The Meandro is a wine that will age for a few years (I just had a Meandro 2000 a few weeks ago and it was still very good) but thankfully it is also very ready to be enjoyed right now.

Meandro is clearly one of my favorite wines and one the best values in Portuguese wine. For around 10 € this is a must buy Douro red.

The 2010 is already on the market and it is as delicious as the 2009. For those of you reading this from outside Portugal I have good news. You can find Meandro in many wine retailers around the world. Enjoy!

Note: Artis is wine bar with a great wine list. Unfortunately it allows people to smoke inside. Most of the times it’s not a problem and people avoid smoking inside. However on some Fridays and Saturdays it can become way too much smoke for a #winelover. 

Meandro 2009 Meandro 2009
Red | Douro | Touriga Nacional (35%), Touriga Franca (30%), Tinta Roriz (25%), Tinta Barroca (5%) and Sousão (5%)
Where to buy

Written by andrerib

January 30, 2013 at 12:00

Wine of the Week! Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011

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Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011

I’m a big fan of wines made with Encruzado, a grape variety mainly planted in the Dão wine region in Portugal. They are generally very food-friendly and well balanced making great pairings with some of the most delicious foods like sushi or fresh grilled fish. On top of that they also tend to be great value for money.

The Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011 is a good example of all this. For around 10 euros you get an extremely well balanced, quite bright and fresh, slightly crispy and rich finish wine. A recipe for pairing success.

I ordered this bottle at Sea Me, a nice seafood downtown Lisbon restaurant, to enjoy with some fish & vegetable tempura starter followed by a fresh grilled Turbot. A delicious world-class pairing with a touch of Portuguese elegance.

Owner Peter Viktor Eckert and winemaker António Narciso have done a great job here and I’m definitely looking forward to talk about the other good wines from Quinta das Marias.

Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011 Quinta das Marias Encruzado 2011
White | Dão | Encruzado
Where to buy

Written by andrerib

January 23, 2013 at 10:30

The Great Algarve

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Algarve, the beautiful seaside region in the south of Portugal, has won the prestigious Europe’s Leading Beach Destination 2012 award. It’s definitely not a surprise since the Algarve has been one of my favorite regions in the world for many years. I’m lucky in that I get to travel to the Algarve at least once a month and take advantage of all the great things the region has to offer.

Here are some of my favorite:

IMG 7803

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Written by andrerib

October 7, 2012 at 17:00

Posted in Travel

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The 20 Most Recommended White Wines from Portugal

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Adegga, the community-powered online wine guide (that I run) has just published an exciting list of the 20 Most Recommended Portuguese White Wines on Adegga Portugal (a local version of Adegga available in Portuguese).

The list is full of delicious Portuguese white wines all under 10 euros and it includes some of the best values on the market. Like the most recommended portuguese wine on the list, the unavoidable Soalheiro 2011, a premium Vinho Verde that is also a personal favorite.

Here’s the list of the 20 most recommended white wines: (a * indicates a personal favorite):

Nome Região Preço
1 Soalheiro 2011 * Vinho Verde 5-10€ + Info
2 Quinta do Ameal – Loureiro 2011 * Vinho Verde 5-10€ + Info
3 Prova Régia Premium 2011 * Bucelas Up to 5€ + Info
4 Beyra Quartz 2011 Beiras Up to 5€ + Info
5 Tons de Duorum 2011 * Alentejo Up to 5€ + Info
6 Vadio 2010 Bairrada 5-10€ + Info
7 Beyra 2011 Beiras Up to 5€ + Info
8 Esporão Reserva Branco 2011 Alentejo 5-10€ + Info
9 Explicit 2011 Alentejo 5-10€ + Info
10 Julia Kemper 2011 * Dão 5-10€ + Info
11 Muros Antigos Loureiro 2011 * Vinho Verde 5-10€ + Info
12 Quinta da Murta Clássico 2009 Bucelas 5-10€ + Info
13 Virgo Branco 2011 Alentejo 5-10€ + Info
14 Quinta de SanJoanne 2011 Vinho Verde Up to 5€ + Info
15 Casa da Passarela Colheita 2011 Dão Up to 5€ + Info
16 Quinta dos Currais Síria 2010 Beiras Up to 5€ + Info
17 Quinta da Murta 2011 Bucelas Up to 5€ + Info
18 Pouco Comum Alvarinho 2011 Minho Up to 5€ + Info
19 Campolargo Arinto 2010 * Bairrada 5-10€ + Info
20 Morgado de Santa Catherina Reserva 2009 Bucelas 5-10€ + Info

The complete list of recommended Portuguese whites is also available and can be used as a starting point to explore Portugal’s white wine quality and diversity.

Value for money
In recent years Portugal has created a reputation for value in wine. Many great quality wines are being sold at great value for money prices. Together with an interesting and diverse range of grape varieties this is helping Portugal slowly but steadily win a place in the hearts of wine lovers around the world.

This list proves that. 3 of the top 5 wines on the list are available to buy for less than 5€. For pricing and availability in your country wine shops follow the +info link on each wine and select your country on the Where to Buy box.

If you have any questions regarding the wines, the wineries or anything else, please let me know in the comments below or via email. I’ll be glad to help.

Written by andrerib

August 24, 2012 at 10:31

Posted in Wine

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Top 50 Portuguese Wines, by Tom Cannavan

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Every year a new Wine Writer of the Year is elected at the Portuguese Wine Awards in the UK and every year the same wine writer is invited to create a selection of Top 50 Portuguese Wines. This year’s winner was Tom Cannavan following Sarah Ahmed in 2010 and Jamie Goode in 2009.

The Top 50 Portuguese Wines 2011

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Written by andrerib

June 8, 2011 at 9:30

Posted in Wine

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Back to School at Cantina da Estrela

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I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Cantina da Estrela restaurant twice before, attending wine related events. This time I came here wanting to have lunch as a normal client and discovered that the experience is well worth the visit.

In one sentence

Go to this restaurant if you love good comfort food, if you’re interested in eating in a calm place that looks like an classic old school and if you don’t mind being served by restaurant students (that actually do a pretty good job!). Nice wine list. Price per person varies (based on on your opinion, really!) but should be between 20 to 25 euros per person (without wine).

The concept

One of the first interesting things about Cantina da Estrela is the fact that you can decide how much the food and the service are worth and (sorf of) pay the bill based on that. In reality you actually have a lower and a upper limit between which you can choose to pay based on your appreciation. Since all of the restaurant employees come from the Escola de Hotelaria e Turismo de Lisboa (Lisbon’s School of Hospitality), this gives you (and them) a way to continuously evaluate their work. It’s a clever (and attention grabbing) idea that I think should be applied in other restaurants.

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Written by andrerib

June 5, 2011 at 3:35

Posted in Food, Restaurants, Wine

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