It is Dia de Mentira (April Fool's Day) and I am in Funchal for our distributor's annual tasting. We have recently changed our distributor in Portugal to a company called Portfolio. They are 60% owned by the Symington's of Port wine fame but distribute a number of wines from different parts of Portugal as well as Pol Roger, Hugel, Château de Beaucastel and Concha y Toro among others so we are in very good company. There are certainly no mentiras here! This is Portfolio's first event in Madeira and we will also be present at their tasting in Lisbon on 26th of next month. The tasting is taking place in the Max Romer Room of the Blandy's Wine Lodge, a calm, atmospheric place in the centre of Funchal. But unlike tastings in London which are usually fairly serious and take place in a fairly hushed environment, this event turns into a party with canapés and music. There is clearly a sizable body of guests here who know little or nothing about wine and have come along for a social. In fact the event makes the social pages of the Diário de Noticias the following week. Still it proved to be a good first showcase for our wine on the island and I met a number of existing and potential customers from restaurants and hotels. After the floods early last year Madeira is busy again and if we can get it on the right wine lists (we are already at Reid's) Pedra Basta should do well in Madeira.
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