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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).


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

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


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