WinePortugal

A Portuguese Wine “Goal” in New Delhi

Mauro Neves
Mauro Neves

It was around the same time last year when Delhi had a taste of Portuguese wines at the country’s ambassador H.E. Jorge Roza de Oliveira’s residence. The tasting  generated lots of interest and this enthusiastic response was conveyed by us to His Excellency, the Ambassador who promised that more such show casings were in the offing. Sure enough, the Indian capital yet again experienced some  delightful wines from Portugal at a tasting hosted at the British High Commission on 23 May 2014 by PortIndia, a Portuguese wine producers consortium that has an office at New Delhi with its enthusiastic helmsman Mauro Neves, managing the affairs.

For the uninitiated, Portugal has a rich wine heritage dating back to the 12th century.  Not many might  be aware that Douro region in the country is the first ever formally demarcated Quality Wine Specified Production Region (QWSPR) that was classified  in 1756 to protect the authenticity of Port- the best known fortified wine of the world. Area wise a small country, Portugal is around 600 kms in length and 200 in width.  The major wine regions of the country are  Vinho Verde, Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Ribatejo and Alantejo.The country is bordered by Spain on the northern and eastern sides  and the Atlantic ocean on the other two. This endows it with diversity of terroir (soil, microclimate and production methods) and in turn contributes towards a broad spectrum of wine styles over short distances. Apart from the international grape varietals that are being increasingly cultivated in the nation post its membership of the European Union in 1986, Portugal has a treasure of native grape varietals that make it an absolute must on a serious wine lover’s agenda.

Coming to the tasting, a good mix of these wines presented the varying flavours across regions and varietal blends. Mauro was completely hands on to ensure a personalised connect with wine lovers, a majority of them being expatriates.

Wines tasted

H.E. Jorge Roza de Oliveira
H.E. Jorge Roza de Oliveira

Wine: Torre De Aguiar (Frisante)Semi-Sparkling
Region: Beira Interior
Grapes: Siria, Malvasia Fina and others
A lightly sparkling wine incorporating the native Siria grape amongst others. Refreshing and sprightly  with citrus and stone fruit flavours. Good for hot Indian summer months.

Wine: Vinha Antiga
Region: Vinho Verde
Grapes: Alvarinho
A delectable dry wine with flavours of candied fruit red apple, spice and a lingering finish. A good wine for food pairing.

Wine: Monte Serrano Reserva
Region: Beira Interior
Grapes: Siria, Fonte Cal, Arinto
A light bodied refreshing white with a restrained first nose that blossomed on swirling to a perfumed bouquet. The flavours of white fruits make it a good aperitif wine.

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Wine: Campolargo  Sparkling White
Region: Bairrada
Grapes: Bical, Arinto and Cercial
Produced using the traditional method of secondary fermentation in bottle and rested in cellars for 12 months before release, this straw coloured wine had toasty, herbaceous aromas and a creamy palate with a medium finish that qualify it well as a food wine as well as a good aperitif.

Wine: Provam
Region: Vinho Verde
Grapes:  Alvarinho, Trajadura
A dry, medium finish wine with earthy, capsicum and gooseberry aromas and a light refreshing palate.

Wine: Entre II Santos
Region: Bairrada
Grapes:  Sauvignon Blanc, Bical
A clear light gold wine with a nose of grapefruit and white flowers.  A light bodied palate with delicately balanced acidity making it a well crafted wine.

Wine: Cova Juliana Espumante Branco Bruto (Sparkling white)
Region: Beira Interior
Grapes:  Siria
A light straw coloured wine that poured with a exuberant mousse that subsided rather quickly. On the palate, it was lightly sparkling (at best petillant) with complex fresh fruit flavours. The aromas ranged from citrus to tropical fruits with a yeasty overtone.

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Wine: Royal Oporto Extra Dry White
Region: Douro
Grapes:  Codega, Rabigato, Malvasia Fina and Viosinho
One of the stars of the evening,this wine seems to have been classified as ‘dry’ compared to sweet Port but in effect it has a much higher residual sugar content (at least in demi sec range). The lesser sweetness is on account of delayed fortification, other things remaining the same as traditional Port. The result is a pinkish-amber wine with intense aromas of figs, nuts and honey and a full bodied fruity and nutty palate with an excellent balance. An excellent aperitif wine but traditionally also served with tonic water and a slice of lemon/orange.

Wine: Evel Reserva
Region: Douro
Grapes:  Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca
Made from two native grape varietals, this was an intense ruby wine with ripe fruit notes of plums and cherries and a distinct oak feel. On the palate it was dry, medium bodied with  abundant red fruits,spice and  a lingering finish. A robust yet approachable red.

Wine: Piornos
Region: Biera Interior
Grapes:  Trincadeira, Jaen
A light ruby wine with aromas of sour cherries, red fruits and spice. Light bodied with lots of berry flavours on the palate. One of the reds you could casually  have without food too.

Wine: Moscatel White Port
Region: Douro
Grapes:  Moscatel
A luminescent reddish orange colour wine with intense dry fruits and spice aromas, matched on the palate with figs, nuts and quince flavours.  A good aperitif as well as dessert wine.

Wine: Royal Oporto 10 YO Tawny Port
Region: Douro
Grapes:  Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz
It had to be the pièce de résistance of the evening given its pedigree as a Vintage Port and it didn’t disappoint too! A deep amber colour exuding richness led to a complex nose of figs, dried raisins and liquorice and a riot of flavours à la bouche. This with a smooth velvety finish had everyone dreaming well into the night.

Regretfully, none of the above wines are available in India as yet. Mauro is actively looking for importers and given the positive response to these wines (a well received  tasting was held for a wider crossection of audience in the Canadian High Commission too) it may just be a matter of time when they arrive on the Indian shelves. In the FIFA season though, it may well be called a goal scored by Portuguese wines with the Indian consumer.

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Contact Person: Mauro Neves
mauro.portindia@gmail.com

Col Joe
wirtten by: Col Joe
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