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London’s landmark Portuguese wine festival: FESTA by Bar Douro, 24th & 25th June

Blue sky thinking – FESTA by Bar Douro founder Max Graham & me in the Douro; photo credit Bar Douro

You can take the man out of Portugal, but you can’t take Portugal out of the man.  And so it is for Max Graham.  His desire to recreate a slice of the country where he was raised in London saw the entrepreneur found Bar Douro wine bars, now FESTA by Bar Douro – an ambitious ‘meet the maker’ festival of wine at Tobacco Dock on 24th & 25th June. And SO much more.

Tickets can be purchased here for three separate sessions – Friday 24th June 5-9pm and Saturday 25th June 12-4pm and 5-9pm, costing £35 per session. This will include a take home FESTA branded Riedel wine glass, the extraordinary as it is extensive ‘meet the maker’ tasting of over 250 wines and access to the food court, mercado and music sets.  Subscribers to The Wine Detective benefit from a £5 discount on a limited allocation of advance tickets – first come first served!

Enquiries about the trade and press preview on Friday 24th June (11am-4pm) can be made here.

A cultural statement

I am the Wine Director and could not be prouder of the ‘meet the maker’ line-up of 54 producers.  FESTA by Bar Douro not only features the UK’s most comprehensive gathering of cutting-edge artisanal, boutique and pioneering producers to date, it will also showcase every Portuguese region bar one (Lafoes).

This is in no small part down to the fact that FESTA is an independent initiative based on Max’s and my passion for Portuguese wine.  Just as Max gave me a free hand to select the producers for Bar Douro Wine Club, he gave me a free hand to select the producers and direct the themed panel discussions and tastings.  No holds barred.

Responding in kind, the producers will themselves be showing an eye-popping range of wines, bringing an authentic taste of Portugal’s dynamic wine scene to London.  Regular readers will recognise many of the attending producers and wines being shown.  This is your chance to taste my Wines of the Month and meet many of the stellar players and rising stars who have excited me over the years.  And brand new finds!

The human terroir – the makers – will put the wine in cultural context, as will a food court which, thanks to Max’s connections and strong sense of community, features London’s leading Portuguese restaurants and chefs, ‘Mercado’ (a Portuguese market), traditional and contemporary live music and a DJ, Portuguese of course!

Meet our makers

“FESTA is bringing the most exciting selection of Portuguese winemakers to the UK that I’ve seen so far.” (Simon Woolf, co-author, Foot Trodden, Portugal and The Wines That Time Forgot)

“Why am I looking forward to FESTA? I would be completely insane if I didn’t! It is unbelievable how many well-known winegrowers will be there in person.” (Carine Patricio, Portugal Sommelier of the Year 2020)

 

FESTA by Bar Douro pop up & online shop

Discovery Box 3 – Quinta das Marias Crudus 2018 & Bar Douro Wine Club Zine

It would be crazy simply to show such an outstanding selection of Portuguese wine.  FESTA by Bar Douro’s pop up shop and online store will list wines from every attending producer, so you can order wines for home delivery in the UK.  I shall also be curating a selection of take home FESTA wine boxes to purchase on the day.

Let me also put in a word for Bar Douro Wine Club.  Curated by me, the quarterly mixed case of six with accompanying zine tracks my ‘The Wine Detective’ adventures in real time.

The current Discovery Box 8 features two new finds from recent visits: Soalheiro Ag.hora Loureiro 2020 (Minho VR), discovered at Herdade do Rocim Amphora Wine Day in November and Quinta do Arcossó Bastardo 2018 from my Trás-os-Montes visit this March.  It will be shown at FESTA’s pop up shop, where you can subscribe to Bar Douro Wine Club and keep discovering and learning about cutting edge and under the radar wines from Portugal.

The food court & mercado

Echoing Bar Douro’s regular guest chef events, FESTA by Bar Douro will offer special menus and dishes from leading players on London’s Portuguese food scene. In addition to Bar Douro’s ‘petisco’ (small plate) dishes, Leandro Carreira of The Sea The Sea will recreate dishes from his new book, Portugal – The Cookbook, Volta do Mar will explore Portugal’s culinary connections with South America, Africa and Asia, whilst Bar Douro’s street food pop up Roulote will focus firmly on Portugal’s famous Bifana pork sandwich.

The Mercado will showcase national products and local delicacies including pasteis de nata, olive oils, charcuteries and cheeses, as well as boutique drinks brands such as Mavem Aguardente, Licor Beirão and Botica Ginjinha. There will be a Super Bock bar – as well as a craft gin and tonic bar which will also serve ‘P & T’ – White Port & Tonic. 

Here’s the latest on the food court menu to whet your appetite:
  • Bar Douro’s ‘petisco’ (small plate) line-up features Croquetes de Alheira (smoked pork sausage croquettes), mackerel & smoked tomato on sourdough & Presa Iberica with marinated peppers.
  • Bar Douro’s street food pop up Roulote will focus firmly on Portugal’s famous Bifana pork sandwich and pastel de nata.  The Porto-style Bifana is made with thinly-sliced pork shoulder, poached in a white wine & fermented pepper sauce and served in carcaças bread with savora mustard mayonnaise.
  • Leandro Carreira of The Sea The Sea will recreate dishes from his new book, Portugal – The Cookbook, signed copies of which are now available on the FESTA website and at the pop up FESTA shop at the festival.  Leandro’s dishes include Pickled Potato Noodles, Cured Cod and Coriander Oil, Sweet Potato Bread, Anchovies and Red Pepper & Sorrel Prego on Brioche.

Wine & song

Much like the wines, the music will draw on tradition and reflect contemporary trends.  Live Portuguese guitar and piano recitals will keep us company during the tastings.

Between 9pm-11pm on Friday and Saturday evenings (after the wine tasting), the tempo changes.  Lara Martins and João Menezes’ Trio play live on Friday evening, exploring different styles and genres of Portuguese Music- “Da saudade e outras nostalgias.”

On Saturday evening, the beat goes on with Lisbon-born Rita Maia, DJ and broadcaster at Gilles Peterson Worldwide FM.  Drawing from her show Migrant Sounds, Rita will play a live set of dance music from showcasing African music from Portuguese speaking countries – Angola, Mocambique, Guine Bissau, Sao Tome, Cape Verde as well as Brazil and Portugal.

‘Red carpet’ tastings, 24th & 25th June

Tickets (18/session) have already been selling ‘blind’ as it were but, with this heads up on the line-up, I recommend you jump in there and snap up an add on ticket before they sell out.    Just click on the session you wish to attend and you will see the add on ticket option for red carpet tastings.

Fine & Rare Red Carpet Tasting, 7pm, Friday 24th June (add on ticket £75)

Based on my Top 10 Portuguese Fine Wines of 2021 feature for Decanter (and a fair few The Wine Detective Wines of the Month) I’m thrilled and feel privileged to be showing these super rare wines from attending FESTA producers:

  • Azores Wine Company, Vinha dos Utras Criação Velha 1os 2019  (DOC Pico)
  • Wine & Soul, Guru NM (DOC Douro)
  • Ramilo Ramisco Rose 2020 (VR Lisboa)
  • Herdade do Rocim Vinha Micaela Tinto Vidigueira 2018 (DOC Alentejo)
  • Dona Maria Wines Júlio B. Bastos Alicante Bouschet 2015 (DOC Alentejo)
  • Luis Pato Quinta do Ribeirinho Baga Pé Franco 2015 (DOC Bairrada)
  • Casa Ferreirinha Quinta da Leda 2011 (Douro DOC)

Esoteric Fortified Tasting, 1pm, Saturday 25th June (add on ticket £65)

Going firmly off the beaten track, with only one (top tier Tawny) Port in the mix, we shall refresh the parts Portugal’s best known fortifieds do not, going to her other archipelago (the Azores, not Madeira), having Moscatel and Baga head-to-heads and enjoying a rare taste of the rarest (red) of them all, Carcavelos.

  • Filipa & William Baga Espirito de Baga Licoroso 2017 (DOC Bairrada)
  • Quinta das Bageiras Baga Licoroso 2007 (DOC Bairrada)
  • Villa Oeiras Vinho Generoso Tinto Colheita 2009 (DOC Carcavelos)
  • Co-operativa Vitivinicola da Ilha de Pico 10 Year Old Licoroso (DOC Pico)
  • Niepoort Moscatel do Douro 2000 (DOC Moscatel do Douro)
  • Horacio Simoes Excellent Moscatel Roxo NV (DOC Moscatel Roxo de Setubal)
  • Churchill’s 30-Year-Old Tawny Port

Portugal’s Best Kept Secrets Tasting, 6pm, Saturday 25th June (add on ticket £55)

I remember being dumbstruck by my first vertical tastings of top flight Vinho Verde – these are ‘in the know’ wines for the cellar. Thrillingly, FESTA’s top notch Alvarinho and Loureiro specialists have dug into precious museum stock to share a mature wine alongside their current release.  Here’s the line up:

  • Aphros Loureiro 2012 & 2021
  • Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2011 & 2020
  • Anselmo Mendes Contacto Alvarinho 2021 & 2011
  • Quinta de Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas Alvarinho 2020 & 2010

Trade & press session, 24th June

FESTA kicks off with an exclusive preview of the tasting, food court and mercado for the wine press and trade during the daytime on Friday, 23rd June (enquire here to register).  Moderated by leading opinion formers, four panel discussions and tastings will share insights from Portugal’s acclaimed producers, movers and shakers on cutting edge topics.  They are:

Does Portugal have a glass ceiling? Exploring Portuguese fine wine: 10-11am

Herdade do Rocim Jupiter Code 01 2015 – Portugal’s most expensive wine launch

Panel: Luís Pato, Pedro Ribeiro (Herdade do Rocim), Luís Cerdeira (Soalheiro), Sandra Tavares da Silva (Wine & Soul) & Raymond Reynolds.  Moderator: Richard Siddle, publisher/co-founder of www.The-Buyer.net.

Last year, Herdade do Rocim launched Jupiter Code 01 2015, Portugal’s first £1,000/bottle wine.  A bold move, not least given it was a ‘talha’ (amphora-made) wine.  Jupiter’s maker, Pedro Rocim will explore Portugal’s dynamic fine wine scene alongside prestigious fellow winemakers Luís Pato, Luís Cerdeira and Sandra Tavares da Silva, also Raymond Reynolds, the pioneering Portuguese specialist and purveyor of fine wine to the UK’s premier restaurants and wine retailers.

Back to the future – Portugal’s renaissance regions, varieties & techniques: 11.30-12.30pm

Medieval methods – André Gomes Pereira of Quinta do Montalto with a wicker basket – the original lo-fi filter

Panel: André Gomes Pereira (Quinta do Montalto), Nuno Ramilo (Ramilo), Ricardo Santos (XXVI Talhas), Mateus Nicolau de Almeida & Alexandre Lisboa (Villa Oeiras).  Moderator: Simon Woolf, co-author of ‘Foot Trodden, Portugal and the Wines that Time Forgot,’ New York Times Wine Book of the Year 2021

  • Quinta do Montalto Medieval de Ourem 2021 DOC Encostas d’Aire
  • Ramilo Malvasia de Colares 2019 DOC Colares
  • XXVI Talhas Palhete do Tareco 2021 DOC Vinho de Talha, Alentejo
  • Mateus Nicolau de Almeida Curral Teles Alfa 2018 DOC Douro
  • Villa Oeiras 7 Anos Carcavelos DOC Carcavelos

A rare opportunity to explore (and taste) aspects of Portugal’s unique wine heritage now undergoing a thrilling renaissance, including Colares’ un-grafted vineyards, Alentejo’s talha wines and the monastic traditions of Medieval de Ourem DOC.

Vines & wines without make up – Portugal’s vignerons & visionaries: 1-2pm

Filipa Pato at her biodynamic dynamisation station

Panel: Filipa Pato, Vasco Croft (Aphros), João Roquette (Esporão), Sara Dionísio (Casa de Mouraz) & João Barroso (Wines of Alentejo Sustainability Manager).  Moderator: Carine Patricio, Best Sommelier of Portugal 2020.

Portugal’s champions and pioneers of sustainability will explore developments and the direction of travel for the country’s growing organic, biodynamic and sustainable wine scene.

2.30-3.30pm: ‘Portugal’s old vines, field blends & comeback grapes.’

Frederico Machado & Ricardo Alves (Arribas Wine Company, Tras-os-Montes); photo credit Sarah Ahmed

Panel: Frederico Machado (Arribas Wine Company),     João Tavares de Pina (Quinta da Boavista), Susana Esteban, António Maçanita (Azores Wine Company/ Companhia de Vinhos dos Profetas e dos Villões) & Luís Leocadio (Titan of Douro).  Moderator: Sarah Ahmed

  • Arribas Wine Company Saroto Red 2020 VR Transmontano
  • Quinta da Boavista Terras de Tavares 2019 DOC Dão
  • Susana Esteban Tira o Véu 2019 DOC Portalegre, Alentejo
  • Azores Wine Company Vinha Centenaria 2019 DOC Pico
  • António Maçanita & Nuno Faria Listrão dos Profetas 2020 DOC Madeirense
  • Titan of Douro Fragmentado White Blend II DOC Douro

This session will showcase among Portugal’s oldest vines and most idiosyncratic native grape varieties.  The tasting flight will include wines sourced from un-grafted, field blend and polycultural vineyards on the mainland and rare as hen’s teeth examples from the islands of Pico in the Azores and Porto Santo in the Madeira archipelago.

If you are wine trade and press and would like to attend a panel discussion, please request a place when you complete the enquiry form to register on the FESTA website.

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