To London: on a cold Monday evening over 300 members of the Wine Society congregate at the Merchant Taylor’s Hall in the City to taste Portuguese wines. No other wine merchant in the UK, perhaps in the world, could put on such a show with 49 Portuguese wines here to taste. There is a sideroom where a few journalists are tasting quietly before the main event. For me the highlights are a lovely minerally dry Douro white from Lavradores de Feitoria, a relatively inexpensive (£8.95) pure, unoaked Touriga Nacional from Castello d’Alba (sounds Italian), a savoury well-integrated oaked Touriga called Vinhas do Lasso from Alenquer and Quinta Vale D. Maria 2008, a well-structured yet fine-grained Douro classic. There were some good Ports too (see relevant section of this website for details). Then the onslaught as I stand pouring our own wines to over 300 people for a couple of hours. I receive excellent feedback for Duas Pedras 2009 which is on show to the public for the first time and it is gratifying that a number of people come back to tell me it is their favourite wine in the tasting. Pedra Basta 2008 also shows well. With its oak-age I find it tasting more Rioja-like over time, part of its appeal at this consumer tasting I think. It is to be hoped that enthusiasm I pick up here converts itself into pre-Christmas sales of Portuguese 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