I can now put in writing that we have appointed Richards Walford as our sole distributors in the UK. I have long held this company in high regard, both for the calibre of the producers they represent and for their professionalism in the UK market. One of the partners, Roy Richards, owns a vineyard near Perpignan in Roussillon where, in partnership with Domaine Gauby, he produces a red and white wine named Le Soula. We have been comparing notes on our respective projects for some time but I have held off seeking UK representation for our wines until we had sufficient to sell. Richard’s Walford specialize in French wines, especially Burgundy, and they only represent one other Portuguese producer, Quinta do Passadouro in the Douro. I feel that putting our wine with a rather than a Portuguese specialist can only help our distribution. We sealed a gentleman’s agreement over lunch; roast lamb accompanied by two venerable Portuguese reds from Roy’s cellar. A 1954 Collares (archaic spelling) from the now defunct Visconde de Salreu is distinctly rustic, leathery with gritty tannins but the vestige of fruit remaining hints that this was something special. A 1955 Garrafeira from Carvalho, Ribeiro & Ferreira (but without geographical provenance) is altogether different: mature, leathery yet quite sweet and focused with soft, gentle fruit, slowly drying with age. These are wines from another era yet they prove that that Portugal has long been capable of making good, even great wine.
19 - 20 An outstanding wine (*****)
17 – 18 An excellent wine in its class, highly recommended (****)
15 - 16 A good wine, with much to recommend it (***)
13 - 14 An enjoyable but simple, straightforward wine (**)
10 – 12 A very ordinary wine without faults but with no great merit (*)
8 - 10 Disagreeable (no stars)
Below 8 Faulty