Wine Experience of the Week – Fair Enough

On the weekend I was able to visit the Encontro com o Vinho 2010 in Lisbon. Set in a large conference centre very close to the impressive 25th April Bridge. It was a fantastic venue for the event which brings together Portugal’s top wine producers under one roof.

I was accompanied to the event by David and David from Angle Fine Wines, a wine club/retailer in Glasgow Scotland. They had been visiting many of the wineries in the Alentejo region over the previous few days to see for themselves the wonderful landscapes and taste the great wines of the region. I was pretty impressed they chose the Alentejo region to visit in Portugal. They seemed suitably impressed by the wines and the region when I met up with them just after lunch and accompanied them into Lisbon.

After a drink in the sun close to their hotel, we headed to the conference centre. With 220 different producers to choose from it was going to be a bit of a task deciding which to visit. We decided to narrow it down to a couple of region. The first stop on entering was the Jose Maria da Fonseca stand as it was very close to the entrance. They also had not been able to taste their wines so they were encouraged to so at the fair. So after that I decided to take them to a few more Setubal Peninsular producers. Then on to a few more Alentejo wineries around Estremoz which they were not able to visit while they were here.

By chance, somewhere along the way, when we were waiting on a gathering at one of the stands, we decided to go to the one next door. Borges was the producer. They have estates in the Douro, Dão and Minho regions. I was interested in the Dão wines they produce, as I do not often get to try that many from the region. Each of the Dão wines I tasted were quite good, however it was a wine from their Douro region that interested me the most.

This week’s Wine Experience of the Week is a Port wine. I realized that I have not done a piece on a Port wine yet. This is not because I don’t like it… It is more because there are so many out there that that are very similar, it is difficult to find something out of the ordinary. The 2007 Vintage Port from Borges however, does provide something a bit different. It has great red fruit and plumb aromas. While tasting you also get some spice to go with your fruits along with some good tannins and a great long finish. It is made from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz grapes all from the same vineyard. It is well worth the €35 retail price!

Many of you may know the different classifications of port, but for those who don’t, here is a very brief run-down. White, Ruby and regular Tawny ports are the most common you see in the supermarket or wine shop. They are blended from recent vintages and then bottled. As the price suggests these are the entry level port wines.

Next we have Late Bottled Vintage Port. These are wines that were picked and barreled to be vintage port, but didn’t quite make the grade to be considered vintage port. As the name suggest, these wines spend quite a while in the barrel before being bottled. This gives the wine something of a vintage port taste without the need to bottle age it for a long time.

Then there are aged Tawny ports, which bring together wines aged in barrels for many years before being blended and bottled. Depending on the age you will often find them to become lighter in color as the barrel aging takes away the deep red you find in new ports. The year on the label is something of an average, where a 20 year old port is made up of a blend of many aged barrels that fit the profile of a 20 year old port.

Lastly there are Vintage Ports. These are wines that are produced from one particular year’s harvest and often like the 2007 Borges Vintage Port, from just one Vineyard. These are only made in the years of great harvests, much like reserve table wines. Vintage ports take on the particular character of the year’s harvest. This gives them a different aroma and taste than ports that are blended from many different years. They require at least 2 years in the barrel and then 20 to 30 years aging in the bottle before they are thought to be at their best.

So if you are looking to buy this or any other vintage ports, remember to age them or buy them already aged to get the full experience of a vintage port. Most others you can enjoy straight away. If you have anything to add on different types and things that appear on port labels, please add a comment below. Also if you are looking for a big wine experience in Portugal – try and time your visit with next year’s Encontro com o Vinho! It is a great evening.


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