Posts Tagged ‘Wine’
I was recently in the Mosel wine region where, guided by a local winemaker, I discovered some of the exciting places shaping local food and wine culture. Die Graifen is one of those places. Part restaurant, part vintage furniture shop and part winery, this place has a special atmosphere to it that comes from their owners love for what they do.
After two visits and two delicious meals, Matthias Decker (the owner), invited me for an off-hours visit. On a Friday afternoon I joined him in the kitchen while he prepared some handmade tortellini for supper and explained the concept behind Die Graifen and their use of tasty international cuisine with local ingredients. I filmed Matthias making the tortellini and decided to make this the second episode of my food, wine and travel video series.
Restaurant: Die Graifen - graifen.de
Address: Wolfer Weg 11, Traben-Trarbach (Mosel), Germany.
Phone: (+49) 06541-811075
Spent 5 days in Hungary discovering its multicultural food and wine culture. Travelled to Tokaj to taste deliciously sweet wines and fresh white wines. Stopped in Eger to learn about Bikavér and meet a group of fantastic wine makers. Finally wandered around Budapest and visited the glorious food market.
I’ve been wanting to do videos of my food and wine discovery trips for a while. This is my first attempt at it. This time I’ve decided to take my DSLR camera to Hungary and film as much as I could. When I came back I edited the footage and this is the final result. Let me know what you think!
The first ever Umbria is for #winelovers event happened last week in Umbria in the green heart of Italy. With an exciting programme planned for the week this was a great opportunity to discover the region’s wines and their connection to the local food culture.
To make it even more interesting the #winelover group organized a Food & Wine Pairing Competition to better understand the richness of Umbria’s food and wine pairing. Here’s the competition menu with the different Italian dishes and the wines that better worked for each of them:
1. Frittatina Morbida al Tartufo della Valnerina
We started with a Frittatina Morbida al Tartufo della Valnerina, an egg-based dish, similar to an omelette or quiche, enriched with black truffles from the Valnerina valley in Umbria. A rich combination of flavors where the black truffle definitely stood out.
Best wines for this dish:
- FiorFiore 2010 Roccafiore (White) - 100% Grechetto
- Lamborghini (La Firorita) Trescone Umbria 2009 (Red) - Sangiovese, Merlot, Ciliegiolo
2. Risotto Allo Zafferano di Cascia e Guanciale Croccante
As a first course the Chef planned a Risotto with saffron and crisp Italian bacon. The crispy bacon added a different dimension to this simple dish and made it extra enjoyable. I could spend a whole day eating this crispy bacon.
Best wines for this dish:
- Colli Perugini Chiorri Rosato 2011 (Red) - Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon
- Adanti Arquata Montefalco Riserva 2008 (Red) - Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Barbera, Merlot, Cabernet
- Montefalco Rosso Scacciadiavoli 2009 (Red) - Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot
3. Porchetta di Maialino Aromatica Bardata al Prosciutto
The main course was the highlight of the food and wine competition and one of the best foods I’ve had in Italy. A fabulous savoury, fatty and juicy boneless piglet roast covered with slices of bacon. Simply outstanding.
Best wines for this dish:
- Re del Sole LS08 Leonucci (Red) – Sagrantino
- Marchesi Antinori Cervaro della Sala Antinori 2011 (White) - Chardonnay, Grechetto
- La Palazzola Vin Santo Stefano Grilli 2005 (Sweet)
4. Crostata di Mele e Crema Cotta and Cheesecake
Finally dessert time. An Apple Custard Pie and a Ricotta, Chocolate, Raisins and Rhum Cake. A happy overdose of sugar created specifically to match the Umbrian Vin Santo (a style of italian sweet wine).
Best wine for the Crostata di Mele e Crema Cotta:
- Poggio Forno Cantina Neri 2011 - (Sweet) Grechetto, Sauvignon
Best wines for the Torta di Ricotta, Cioccolato, Uvetta e Rhum
- Sperello VinSanto Colli del Trasimeno Berioli 2011 (Sweet) - Trebbiano, Malvasia
- Grappa di Sagrantino Romanelli (Spirit)
Fabien Lainé (a French Sommelier working in Norway) was in charge of coordinating the food and wine competition. With the help of Luciana Braz and other #winelovers they’ve pre-selected 70 wines (from a pool of around 200), organized the tasters in teams and collected the competition results. A great job, explained in more detail in Fabien’s blog.
Umbrian Chef, Matteo Barbarossa was in charge of creating four different dishes for the competition. With this mission, Matteo created a dynamic menu of local and delicious Umbrian food to match the region’s diverse array of wines.
Overall this a fantastic wine and food discovery experience in the heart of Italy. Umbria is definitely a fantastic food and wine destination and I can’t wait to go back and discover more.
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
- Barca Velha 2004 (Red, Douro, 300 €) - favorite
- Quinta do Vale Meão 2010 (Red, Douro, 50 €) - favorite
- Poeira 2010 (Red, Douro, 30 €) - favorite - good value
- Quinta da Touriga-Chã 2009 (Red, Douro, 35 €) - favorite
- Ultreia 2008 (Red, Douro, 60 €)
- Quinta do Noval 2009 (Red, Douro, 30 €) - favorite
- Quinta da Leda 2009 (Red, Douro, 30 €) - favorite - good value
- Legado 2008 (Red, Douro)
- Quinta da Manoella Vinhas Velhas 2010 (Red, Douro, 60 €)
- Quinta do Vallado Reserva 2010 (Red, Douro, 20 €)
- Quinta da Pellada Dão 2008 (Red, Dão, 15 €) - favorite - good value
- Quinta dos Carvalhais Único 2009 (Red, Dão, 60 €) - favorite
- Principal Grande Reserva 2008 (Red, Barraida, 35 €)
- Kompassus Private Collection 2009 (Red, Barraida, 30 €)
- Quinta do Ribeirinho Pé Franco 2009 (Red, Barraida, 150 €)
- CH by Chocapalha 2009 (Tinto, Lisboa, 25 €)
- Cinquenta A.S. 2009 (Red, Setúbal, 35 €)
- Esporão Private Selection Garrafeira 2009 (Red, Alentejo, 35 €) - favorite
- Torre do Esporão Garrafeira 2007 (Red, Alentejo, 100 €)
- Pêra-Manca 2008 (Red, Alentejo, 190 €)
- Grande Rocim 2009 (Red, Alentejo, 40 €)
- Anselmo Mendes Curtimenta Alvarinho 2011 (White, Vinho Verde, 20 €)
- Quinta das Bágeiras Pai Abel 2009 (White, Barraida, 17 €)
- Warre’s Vintage 2009 (Fortified, Douro, 50 €) - favorite
- Taylor’s Vintage 2009 (Fortified, Douro, 64 €) - favorite
- Graham’s 30 anos (Fortified, Douro, 70 €) - favorite - good value
- Graham’s Colheita 1969 (Fortified, Douro, 235 €) - favorite
Madeira & Others
- José Maria da Fonseca Moscatel Roxo 20 Anos (Fortified, Setúbal, 75 €)
- Blandy’s Madeira 20 anos Terrantez (Fortified, Madeira, 45 €)
- Bastardinho de Azeitão Vinho Licoroso 30 anos (Fortified, Azeitão, 60 €)
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.
I’m in the beautiful region of Umbria in Italy preparing for the first Umbria for #winelovers event that will take place in the next few days in Terni. It’s a great opportunity to discover the local food and wine culture of one of the most exciting Italian wine regions.
Today I had the opportunity to visit Castello delle Regine, a local winery making good to excellent Umbrian wines. All proven by the very good (and consistent) level of quality at the 2 comprehensive 2001 to 2006 vertical tastings of the 100% Sangiovese and the 100% Merlot. My favorite vintages were the 2001, 2002 and 2004 for the Sangiovese and the 2001 and 2005 for the Merlot. All showing great potential for a good pairing with food.
To test this we headed to the winery’s own Restaurant Podernovo for lunch. A meal with lots of different dishes (see below) where all the meat which came from the winery’s cow farm. Simply delicious ingredients and fantastic wine lunch that has again confirmed how amazing Italy can be when it comes to fantastic food and wine experiences.
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.
Top 10 Portuguese Wines by Essência do Vinho
- Soalheiro Alvarinho Primeiras Vinhas 2011 (White, Vinho Verde, 15 €) – favorite
Grape varieties: Alvarinho
- Guru 2011 (White, Douro, 25 €) – favorite
Viosinho, Rabigato, Codega do Larinho, Gouveio
- Tributo 2010 (Red, Tejo, 22 €)
Syrah, Grenache, Viognier
- 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
- Pintas 2010 (Red, Douro, 60 €) – favorite
A blend of +20 grape varieties from 78 year old vines
- 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
- Casa de Santa Vitória Grande Reserva 2008 (Red, Alentejo, 12 €)
Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
- Passadouro Touriga Nacional 2010 (Red, Douro, 18 €)
- Grande Rocim Reserva 2009 (Red, Alentejo, 50 €)
- 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!
I’m very honored to have been nominated and awarded as the TWA Personality of the Year 2012.
It’s a great feeling to see my work recognized by my peers in the wine industry. Nominations and voting for the TWA Awards happen on the TWA Facebook group which includes over 650 bloggers, #winelover’s, winemakers, wine critics and wine writers from the Portuguese wine industry.
Being voted as the person who in 2012 most contributed for the promotion for Portuguese wine is a big honor with even bigger responsibilities. Thank you to everyone who has been supporting me throughout the years.
I hope this award has a deeper meaning for the Portuguese wine industry and is a clear sign that we’re are all ready for the much-needed change to the way we communicate wine and look at wine consumers. A change that will allow Portuguese wine to be even more recognized and respected around the world for its superior quality and exciting wines.
The Wizard Apprentice (TWA) is a Portuguese blog and community that organizes the TWA Awards. These awards nominate and vote on a series of different wine industry categories in Portugal including Best Online Communication (#winelover), Wine Event of the Year (Adegga Wine Market 2012), Best Producer Website (Niepoort) and Wine Personality of the Year. Thank you Hugo Mendes for organizing this second edition of the TWA Awards and for making it possible to showcase the work that is being done in Portugal and for Portuguese wine.
A very special thank you to the great team that helps put together Adegga Wine Markets year after year (including those not on the photo – you know who you are).
Now to celebrate by opening and enjoying a good bottle of Port Wine!
For a wine lover, visiting Quinta do Noval is a great opportunity to experience in loco the birthplace of some of the best Port wines on the market and to learn more about the incredible history and culture of wine in the Douro. On top of that, getting a chance to taste a very unique Quinta do Noval Nacional is, I assure you, nothing short of heaven.
Driving through the Douro, Quinta do Noval is a particularly hard property to miss. A few minutes after passing by the small village of Pinhão, Quinta do Noval shows up magnificiently on the hillside with its lines of terraced vineyards and aligned stair walls painted in white. Inside Quinta do Noval, the old house and cedar tree are a welcoming sign that people and history have had a long and strong connection in this place.
It starts raining slowly but for what seemed like an eternity we stay beneath the cedar tree listening to Rute’s voice telling the history of Quinta do Noval and observing the immensity of the Douro valley as it spreads throughout the hills in front of me.
As we visit the beautiful vineyards we make a stop at the birthplace vineyard of the great Noval Nacional. A small 2 hectare plot (ungrafted vines and untouched by phylloxera) where the average age is around 40 years and still includes some 80 year old vines.
Amazed by the beautiful landscape and the intense sense of history we head to the the first tasting, Noval’s Douro red wines. The Quinta do Noval and Quinta do Noval Touriga Nacional were my favorites of the tasting and are good examples of the kind of delicious reds that are coming out of the Douro. We move on to start tasting some Port.
- Noval Black
First Noval Black which is an easily accessible Port made to be enjoyed with no complications (no aging or decanting necessary). Like a good LBV, it screams for a piece of dark chocolate to go with it. Perfect Valentine’s day gift with that special box of dark chocolate. Deliciousness: 6.
- Quinta do Noval LBV Unfiltered 2005
Next the Quinta do Noval LBV Unfiltered 2005 which is simply one of the best LBVs on the market. Lush and powerful but beautifully balanced. Simply delicious. Pairs perfectly with a Stilton cheese. A great wine to have at home and sip one glass or two every week. Deliciousness: 8.
We move on to the Tawny Ports. Tasting 10 to 40 year old tawnies side-by-side is one of the most exciting Port wine experiences and one I like very much. Each of the wines is constantly evolving in the glass and transforms a tasting with a few wines in a rich experience of aromas and flavors. This tasting was no different.
- Quinta do Noval 10 Year Old
We start with the Quinta do Noval 10 Year Old which has a wonderful freshness and despite being just a 10 Years Old it already demonstrates an attractive complexity. Served chilled and on its own it’s one of the most delicious aperitifs you can have. Having friends over for dinner? Open this bottle, it’s a crowd pleaser. Great option for cocktails too. Deliciousness: 7.
- Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old
Next is the Quinta do Noval 20 Year Old which is an explosive, powerful and rich Tawny with a great long finish. Beautifully complex and vibrant at the same time. One of my favorite 20 Years Old on the market. A wine to be enjoyed with some time letting it evolve on your glass. A perfect companion for a dinner with special friends where you can prepare that delicious foie gras starter (a pairing made in heaven!) or end the meal with a tasty crème brûlée. Serve slightly chilled. Deliciousness: 8.
- Quinta do Noval 40 Year Old
Finally the oldest tawny of the tasting. The Quinta do Noval 40 Year Old is a fabulous tawny Port. Highly refined and delicate and showing some great freshness for its age. Lets not forget that a 40 year old Tawny is a blend of old tawny Ports from different vintages with an average age of 40 or more years. It’s quite impressive and I could be here for hours tasting this wine. This is a wine that I’ll enjoy as dessert on it’s own, no other pairing necessary, just time. Deliciousness: 8
Incredibly, the best of the night is yet to come. I’m now having dinner at Quinta do Noval looking at its amazing view of the Douro valley and enjoying a good conversation with a friend and our host. Finally it’s dessert and cheese time and I’m ready to taste some very fine Port.
- Quinta do Noval Colheita 1997
The Quinta do Noval Colheita 1997 is a fantastic pleasure to drink. Powerful but balanced and well defined with a lovely complexity and a vibrant finish. When tasting this bottle you can understand the richness in craftsmanship that goes into each bottle of Tawny Port in a house like Noval. Pure quality. The Colheita 1997 has been, since the day I first tasted, a loyal companion when I want to show my friends what a great young Colheita can be like. At around 40€, this a must buy. Deliciousness: 8
- Quinta do Noval Vintage 1994
The Quinta do Noval Vintage 1994 starts with subtleness like it was trying to hide something. But, as it opens, it starts showing why subtleness in this case it’s actually a virtue. The previously hidden complex layers of flavors are now present and the 1994 is just showing how different and elegant a Port wine can be. Pure balance and great pairing with a delicious Serra da Estrela cheese. Deliciousness: 8
We move on to taste and enjoy the last bottle of the night.
Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional 1994
The Quinta do Noval Vintage Nacional 1994 is charming from the first moment. Extremely delicate yet firm. With incredible finesse but highly complex. Incredibly balanced at all levels. A pleasure to sense, an indulgence to taste.
Enjoying this Noval Nacional is like enjoying a slice of the perfect chocolate cake, made with layers and layers of very well defined and focused flavors of different quality chocolats that blend perfectly on each bite.
Simply one of the best Port Wines I’ve ever had. This is one of those wines that when you open them, that’s the special occasion they were made for. Unique. Deliciousness: 10
I woke up the next morning at 6am as if wanting to finish the previous night once again. I take a look outside and the valley is fully covered in low clouds. I can barely see outside the window but I decide to go for a walk. No matter where I look the view is always beautiful and surprising. I spend the next couple of hours lost between the vines, the view and my thoughts.
Returning to the house and after a fortifying breakfast (no wine but pun intended) we head over to the magnificent cellar at Noval’s. The cellar is a Port wine lover’s dream. It’s filled with a few thousand barrels that are used to store and age Port wine. Each individual barrel has its own story which is tightly connected to the wine they protect and age and is deeply related to the people (winemakers, barrel-makers and blenders) that handle them. An impressive heritage that contributes massively to the kind of quality Port Wines that Noval is putting on the market every year.
A last stop at the main house to buy some old Port. Suddenly I realize that I’m just leaving the Douro one more time and already can’t wait to come back. While away I miss the history, the culture and the people that make the Douro and Port Wine such an incredible rich part of our culture.
Thank you Christian Seely and the rest of the team at Quinta do Noval for taking good care of such an important part of the Douro heritage. Thank you Marie-Louise for your kind invitation to visit Quinta do Noval. Thank you Rute for your hospitality. Thank you Luiz Alberto once again for sharing such a great moment.
Next week I’ll be heading to Brussels to attend WBIS, the Wine Business Innovation Summit. #WBIS is a much-needed conference focused on the business of wine and its integration with innovation, disruptive thinking and new technologies.
During 1 day, wine professionals, bloggers, social media whizzes and business experts will discuss relevant trends and issues of the wine industry. Special attention will be paid to the wine consumer and to what should be done to better meet their needs.
Here’s a video presentation of WBIS
The programme includes 9 seminars on the topics of Business, Communication and Social Media.
I’ll be hosting 2 sessions together with Luiz Alberto:
- A session on the Potential ROI of catering to a community such as #winelover for wineries or generic organisations.
- A session on the challenges and opportunities of a Unique Wine Identification & Database Management where I’ll be sharing some of the stories behind AVIN and where the project is going.
The conference will take place on Saturday, January 19th. A few meetups will be organized around the same weekend so WBIS participants can have lots of opportunities to network, meet new people and taste some wine. On Friday, 18th there’s a #winelover hangout, on Saturday, 19th (after the WBIS) there’s the #WBIS Belgian Dinner and finally on Sunday, 20th there’s the Brussels #winelover Hangout.
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):
|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.