London and Richards Walford Annual Portfolio Tasting. This is the first time that our wine has been on show to the trade, something which makes me proud but slightly apprehensive. There is a good turnout of people from all walks of life: restaurateurs, sommeliers, wine writers and assorted members of the wine trade. There are plenty of exciting wines to attract the crowds with Huet (Vouvray), Rolly Gassman (Alsace), Alain Coche (Meursault) and various Bordeaux classed growths on show. I sneak a preview of Huet’s wines with Noel Pinguet and marvel at his 2005 Le Mont Moelleux before tasting a vertical of Chateau Brane-Cantenac back to 1996. Then I retreat to my station for the day behind Pedra Basta 2006 and 2007. We are sandwiched quite logically between Spain and Italy. My neighbours on the Spanish side are an isolated estate in Castille called Torre de Barreda. I talk to Juan de la Barreda (known as Juan ‘Two’ to distinguish him from his father Juan ‘One’). He tells me the family’s history, how after years of selling wine off in bulk they began bottling a small quantity of red from their old vines 10 years ago and found Richards Walford to represent them by chance. Their Pañofino Cepas Viejas is well-made, soft and restrained. At the end of the day I am tired but satisfied having told the Quinta do Centro – Sonho Lusitano – Pedra Basta story seemingly a hundred times over and it is gratifying that so many people enjoyed our wine. I have a list of all the people who I think liked it and it now remains to be seen if this converts into sales.
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