winner decanting

Wines of Portugal Sommelier Quest 2016: top somms, top wines

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Wines of Portugal’s Sommelier Quest winner Lukasz Walkowiak (3rd from left)

Harvey Nichols’ Oxo Tower Restaurant fielded this year’s winner of Wines of Portugal’s Sommelier Quest, Lukasz Walkowiak.  He picked up a cheque for £2000, while runner up Davide Dall’Amico of the RAC Club (pictured below) took home £500.  Having spent four days with the dynamic duo in Portugal introducing them to Vinho Verde, the Douro and Dão regions, I am very sure they will make excellent ambassadors for Portuguese wines.   

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Runner up Davide Dall’Amico, 3rd from left

But I think it’s fair to say everyone is a winner.  Through this intelligently iterative initiative, Portugal has won friends and influenced people.  After a day in the classroom with Charles Metcalfe, all nine sommeliers got to spend four days in Portugal with either me or Ronan Sayburn Master Sommelier, deepening their knowledge in readiness for the grand final.

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None of my tour had previously visited the Douro – here at Quinta do Crasto the liquid (wine & infinity pool) impressed.

At the final itself, among other tasks, each sommelier presented two stand out wines from their tour to the judges – Charles, Ronan and me.

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The finals – multiple choice exam; the Rodin pose paid off!

So how did these ambassadors spoil us in the final?  Below you’ll find a list of the finalists and their gastronomic wine choices.  As you can see, some producers particularly made their mark – especially Quinta de Perdigão in the Dão, picked five times ( I particularly enjoyed the Alfrocheiro).

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A good day for Quinta de Perdigão – five wines selected for the final

Compared by some to white Burgundy, examples of the region’s Encruzado grape from Perdigão and Quinta dos Carvalhais did well too.

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The finalists

As for our winner’s selection, suffice to say Quinta do Poeira ‘Poeira’ Tinto 2013 was one of my July Wines of the Month (reviewed here).  The producer of his white –  Quinta dos Carvalhais – also produced Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco Especial NV, which Sayburn likened to mature white Rioja. I couldn’t help but notice that my fellow judge and Master Sommelier held onto his glass!

Lukasz Walkowiak (Harvey Nichols Oxo Tower)  Quinta dos Carvalhais Reserva Branco 2011, Quinta do Poeira ‘Poeira’ Tinto 2013 (Douro)

Davide Dall’Amico (The RAC Club) – Anselmo Mendes Curtimenta Alvarinho 2014 (Monção e Melgaco, Vinho Verde), Quinta do Crasto Douro Touriga Nacional 2012 (Douro)

Marko Mägi (Le Gavroche) – Quinta do Perdigão Encruzado 2014 (Dão), João Portugal Ramos Estremus Red 2012 (Alentejo)

Maciej Lyko (Launceston Place) – Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2015 ( Beira Atlântico), Quinta do Perdigão Alfrocheiro 2010  (Dão)

Alexandra Scovarza (The Botanist) – Quinta do Perdigão Encruzado 2014 (Dão), Herdade Sao Miguel Reserva 2012 (Alentejo)

Giovanni Ferlito (The Ritz) – Luis Pato Vinhas Velhas Branco 2015 ( Beira Atlântico), Quinta do Perdigão Touriga Nacional 2009 (Dão)

Ana Roskoska (Hakkasan) – Soalheiro Quinta de Soalheiro Alvarinho 2014 (Monção e Melgaco, Vinho Verde), Lavradores de Feitoria Meruge Tinto Vinho Tinto 2013 (Douro)

Stefan Kobald (Social Wine & Tapas) – Quinta do Perdigão Encruzado 2014 (Dão), João Portugal Ramos Estremus Red 2012 (Alentejo)

Leonardo Barlondi (TĪNG, Shangri-La Hotel, At The Shard) – Quinta dos Avidagos Vinho Tinto 2012 (Douro), Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco Especial NV (Dão)

Ingrid Mand (Shepherd’s Market Wine House) – Anselmo Mendes Curtimenta Alvarinho 2013 (Monção e Melgaco, Vinho Verde),  Delaforce Touriga Nacional & Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Duriense)

 

 

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