To Lisbon, or more specifically Quinta de Beloura near Sintra, for a meeting with our distributors in Portugal, Vinicom. Thirteen of us squeezed into their small boardroom. Their team included all the regional representatives for the country including the Alentejo, Algarve, Lisbon and Setúbal. Our regional sales breakdown shows we are doing quite well in the south of the country but not so well in the north. This is perhaps to be expected given that the Alentejo is much weaker than the Douro in Oporto and is typically seen as a source of cheaper wine. All the members of the sales team reiterated that Portugal is crowded out with wines at the moment. Although everyone agreed that Pedra Basta has a very good quality / price ratio we need to have a distinctive story to tell and create some more noise. [See Sonho Lusitano Vinhos page for the availability of Pedra Basta in Portugal]. At my last meeting with Vinicom in 2007 nearly everyone smoked and I left reeking of cigarette smoke. Today, although there was a large ashtray on the table, thankfully no one lit up until the end of the meeting. It is a reflection of how Portugal is changing. But in a restaurant in Lisbon with excellent food and a very good wine list (Horta dos Brunos, Rua Ilha do Pico, 27) I was saddened to see a couple of businessmen smoking Marlborogh all the way through lunch.
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