Encontro com o Vinho, Lisbon: all the fun of the fair.

I’m just back from Encontro com o Vinho e Sabores 2010 in Lisbon, one of Portugal’s largest wine fairs.  It’s open to both trade and consumers and I can highly recommend it.  In and amongst visiting producer stands and hunting out some new vinous gems, I attended some terrific seminars.

On Friday, journalist Joao Paulo Martins presented a selection of wines made from the Dão’s leading white variety, Encruzado.  I was bowled over by the ageworthiness of this variety – the 1971 Centro de Estudos de Nelas Branco had breathtaking structure.  Next up, “the magic of aged white Ports” featuring wines from Kopke, Burmester and Barros, concluding with the 1935 Barros which, together with a cask sample of Barros Very Old White, got my vote. 

At Saturday’s sessions, I got a second bite at the cherry tasting Niepoort Projectos wines (selection pictured), this time including a Sauvignon Blanc (yes!) and Moscatel do Douro 2010.  Next up, predictably swoonful Soalheiro verticals (of all three cuvees, classic, Primeiras Vinhas and the oaked Reserva), which reinforced why this producer’s Vinho Verdes are among my favourite white wines full stop; still loving the 2008 Soalheiro Primeiras Vinhas which decisively made the cut for my 50 Great Portuguese Wines.  Hard as it was to top these two sessions, Saturday’s finale – a tasting of Andresen Colheita tawny Ports – impressed at least as much, especially the 1991, 1970 and 1910. 

As for Sunday, I reluctantly ducked out of the Lavradores de Feitoria tasting  – I’d not made the rounds of producers’ stands.  No bad thing because it meant I tasted wines from a new Vinho Verde collaboration between Dão Sul and Quinta de Lourosa, a maiden limited release Syrah from Monte d’Oiro (a vine selection from Rhone cuttings) and, my highlight of the day, stunning reds and whites from Quinta das Bageiras.

 I’ll post tasting notes on my Portugal Regional Report page, starting with the Encruzado seminar this Friday.  And should you visit next year, make sure you visit Alma restaurant, my eating out experience of the year (see my blog here).

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