Just back from a wine trip to Portugal - far away from the Algarve, visiting wineries in the Douro Valley, Dao and Alentejo. Not much has been written on Portuguese wine but the best book to recommend is the newly published "The Wine and Food Lover's Guide to Portugal" by Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter.
The Douro Valley is spectacular (once the rain stopped!). The first visit was to Quinta de la Rosa on the outskirts of Pinhao - in 2000 this estate's production was approximately 80% Port and 20% D.O.C. wine. Now their D.O.C. wines account for 80% of total production. Their winemaker is the dynamic young Jorge Moreira who was in the process of bottling their reserva wines but he made time to meet us and talk us through an amazing tasting - 2005 Cerejinha made from mainly Touriga Nacional, Quinta de la Rosa Reserva 2005, the 2006 which is being bottled at the moment, and a wine called "Poeira" which Jorge makes himself, separate from Quinta de la Rosa.
A lunch followed in the restaurant overlooking the river, finishing with chocolate brownie cake with cream and a glass of the 1997 Colheita - "Clear, medium brick colour with a complex bouquet of prunes, raisins, cinnamon, spice. Full rich raisoney palate, spicy, syrup of figs (for those who remember) and a finish that still lingers in my mind ... delicious.
But we are not on this trip to investigate port - to quote Jorge Moreira "I spend 90% of my time thinking about wine and 10% thinking about Port". This sums up how things are changing in the Douro.
Further adventures on a boat journey down the Douro to Quinta das Tecedeiras to follow shortly - and I will post photographs (mainly of me with the young dynamic winemakers - both male and female!) for those who may be interested ....