So, I am standing here in a huge tent behind the Belém Cultural Center. The audience is a mixed bunch of individuals ranging from visitors wanting to get boozed up to the more elaborate wine aficionados doing their “thing.” Everyone seems to be having a good time, and I am about to taste some forty red wines from the Alentejo region. I received a wine glass upon entering the exhibition, and it is clear to comprehend as to why Alentejo wines are known as Lisbon’s’ darlings. I am here with an open mind and not comparing or contrasting Portuguese wines with French or otherwise. I regard this as another taste palette to become explored by open-minded oenophiles. Portugal has been quite secluded when it comes to wines, apart from Ports and Madeiras. Although Portugal has a long history with wines since the Roman era, it has not been looked at favorably by the wine spectators on an international level. It was a laughing stock to many but times has changed. With the backup of European funds, the art of vinification has improved in such a way that you will even find various red wines at some of the prestigious London restaurants. A few ranks highly on the prestigious wine lists and Portugal has become a contender. Overall, from my experience, most of the red Alentejo wines at the tasting venue were very “young,” but the future looks great. Price versus quality is the common denominator at this point as everyone wants ‘bang for the buck.’ The industry still needs to become a respected entity, and once the advertisement sector takes over prices will eventually rise. I was also present at this exhibition to create a wine list for some notable restaurants in London, Los Angeles, and New York, respectively. I cannot for commercial reasoning disclose this information before it becomes available at the venues, but I am going to suggest two wineries from the Alentejo region.
I had the opportunity to meet Luis Miguel and José Manuel and taste their selection of reds. They represent the 7th generation of traditional wine-making in Alentejo.
Nunes Barata Reserva Tinto 2015
It contains Syrah, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet, and Touriga Nacional, which makes it ideal with any strongly flavoured meat cuts. I prefer reds slightly chilled and decanted, as it will “open” the wine. Pricewise, it is around ten euros which is dead cheap considering the quality of this product. It would also pair very well with foie gras, or strongly flavoured Portuguese Alentejo dishes, anti-pasta, pizza, BBQ, and not to forget full-bodied cheeses.
I am looking forward to trying out more varieties on location. I had many spots to visit at the fair. Anyway, I am thrilled and proud to have met so enthusiastic and dedicated professionals enriching my tasting experience.
Check out their website on
Sociedade Agrícola de Pias
Although, a very “young” wine producer, I was surprised over how good some of the wines were given the price tag. You can read more about their history HERE
I am suggesting three reds by this vendor:
Encostas do Enxoé ’15
Aragonez, Alicante B., Trincadeira and Touriga Nacional
As the blend suggests, this wine matches perfectly with poultry, medium cooked meat and game. It has an oaky scent, yet fruity with a full-bodied red with soft tannins and a long pleasant finish.
Pulo do Lobo ´15
I do appreciate Syrah, however, this tastes of summer with a hint of floral and berries. It is silky to the palate and yet reveals its presence delightfully. I would pair this with light canapés and various fresh cheeses. Goes well with any mild salad and is not overpowering on the palate.
As PIAS ‘ 15
Aragonez, Alicante Bouschet and Alfrocheiro
This has a deep colour with a strong taste of fruits, it balances very well on the palate, yet with an ease semi-long finish rounding it up. I suggest game, BBQ and otherwise dishes with any spice. I am going to try this out with Indian cuisine. For some reason, it came to my mind. It is about experiences, eh?
Hope this gave you a little insight of the 2018 Fair
Thanks for reading