Portugal Tasting

This was an evening I'd been scheming about for a couple of years. It took a few COVID lockdowns and a home refurbishing to make it finally happen.

Luis Pato, Bairrada, Vinha Formal, Branco, 2017
I was worried how this would perform. It's made from Bical, which always has relatively low acidity, and in 2017 the acidity seemed to me especially low. But it gave a good, complex showing despite that, honied and exotic with notes of talc.

Quinta de Saes (Álvaro Castro), Dão, Reserva Estagio Prolongado, 2015
Objectively, this was the lowest ranking red of the evening, as well as the youngest, yet it drank very well, with a hint of menthol on the nose and ripe, slightly chocolatey fruit blanketing savory tannins.

Luis Pato, Vinho Regional Beiras (Bairrada), Quinta do Moinho, 2000
My second time with this lovely, mature red and I'm happy others shared the experience. It gives the same pleasure as a mature Bordeaux and shows spices, a touch of blood and the dampness of an old cellar. Lovely and complex.

Niepoort, Duoro, Charme, 2014
The Duoro representative is Dirk Niepoort's ode to Burgundy, albeit with different grapes. It shows a very fine texture and a sharp balance of flowers and exotic spices that recalls a marriage of Chambolle and Vosne. A very worthy wine.

Quinta de Pellada (Álvaro Castro), Dão, Carrocel Gold, 2012
And back to the Dão. Not every encounter with Pellada reds has been a happy one for me, but this was probably the best ever. It's ripe, but not overdone, spicy with an overlay of rotting rose petals. Great acidity and a classic form.

Barbeito, Boal, 10 Years Old Reserve
A very fresh and vibrant Madeira, with citrus and tea flavors adorned by walnuts and spices. The secret of a Madeira like this is how it marries sweet and umami flavors. It's an utter delight and I suggest letting it air for days to enjoy it at its peak.