I am just back from a week on the road, promoting our wines. We started in Oxford with a tasting in a former jail (a first for me), followed by Birmingham, Manchester and London. Tastings in the first three cities were at the instigation of ViniPortugal, the generic body promoting Portuguese wines. Under the auspices of Judy Kendrick they are doing a great service for Portugal in the UK, targeting independent wine merchants and restaurants and they asked me to present a range of wines, selected from the best sellers among independents in the UK. I led a tutored tasting of seven wines (including the first UK showing of Pedra Basta 2008). This was followed by a ‘free-pour’ tasting of another twenty or so wines. For me the stars of the show were (in no particular order): Esporão Verdelho 2009 (although there were an alarming number of corked bottles), Filipa Pato’s elegant white Bossa 2009, Cedro do Noval 2007 (the second wine of Quinta do Noval, made with 25% Syrah), Quinta do Noval 2007 Douro wine (expensive but good) and Blandy’s Alvada, a seductive end to the tutored tasting that everyone really loved. We also received some very positive feedback about Pedra Basta as well as Duas Pedras 2009 and Pedra e Alma 2009, both of which we showed for the very first time at the Richards Walford annual Portfolio tasting at the Baltic Restaurant in London. Duas Pedras is a blend of Touriga Nacional (60%), Syrah (40%) and a tiny amount of co-fermented Viognier. It will be bottled young, this spring without recourse to oak so that the fruit character is to the fore. Pedra e Alma (‘Stone and Soul’) is effectively our reserve wine from the successful 2009 vintage, just the two best casks, one new oak, one second year made from fruit from our thirty year old vines. It showed very well this week, dense, not marked by new oak, with ripe, fine grained tannins. I can’t see us having the same wine from 2010 although I will have a better idea when I taste the wines next week. My thanks to JK Marketing, ViniPortugal and Richards Walford for a fascinating if exhausting week.
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