To Porto for the biannual tasting of our Portuguese distributor Portfolio. I say tasting but it is really more of an entertainment for clients; restaurateurs, hoteliers, owners of garrafeiras (wine shops) from all over Portugal. There are wines to taste, arranged in groups to be tasted at different ‘moments’ over five hours. The event takes place at the newly restored Graham’s Port Lodge which is well worth a visit in itself. Built in the late nineteenth century, this has been stripped back and restored over a two-year period to expose the original roof beams and cast iron columns whilst making space to receive vistors. There is a large, airy tasting room, another room specifically for tasting vintage Ports, a shop, a wine bar and a restaurant (Vinum) which is being run by a Basque company with reataurants in Spain and South America. I am pleased to see that Pedra Basta is available here both by the glass and by the bottle. But back to Momentos, the tasting that culminated in a festa with the most extraordinary display of musica pimba I have ever seen. Musica pimba is the onomatopoeic term for the tub-thumping Portuguese songs that usually get belted out at village festivals or in thelagares in the Douro once liberdade has been declared (see my book Port and the Douro for a description and explanation). This musica pimba moment, apart from being accompanied by some fine wines, took in three dancing girls with short skirts and fishnets. As I was leaving they were singing a song with the refrain ‘eu chupo’ (‘I suck’)! I have just been at the biannual tasting of our UK distributors (Fields, Morris & Verdin) at Church House in Westminster where I can’t imagine eu chupo going down well at all. Still, it was a moment to remember and if it sells some more wine in Portugal eu chupo will have the desired effect.
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