On Monday 11 April I presented a line up of Portuguese wines to Dublin’s oldest wine club, Preamble. They meet downstairs in Blackrock Cellar which is a good start to any evening.
Three contrasting whites to start, a Vinho Verde made from Avesso and Loureiro, a skin contact Alvarinho from Lisboa and an oak aged Douro Branco showed how diverse and how good Portuguese whites have become.
From there we covered the regions Dao (Rotulo 2013), Bairrada (Poeirinho 2012), Alentejo (Mouchao 2009) and Douro (Redoma), each expressing different aspects of climate, soil types and varieties. Regional diversity is definitely one of Portugal’s great strengths.
To finish we tried three vintages of Redoma (Niepoort’s flagship red). It was fascinating to see not just how Redoma can age but even more so the evolution in wine making and style over the years.
2000 made in a way that was possibly quite modern in Portugal at the time. Fermentation in stainless steel followed by 18 months in french barriques (50% new) for 18 months. The wine is near or at full maturity now, wild berry and fig fruit, with a broad generous palate. All the elements well and truly integrated.
2007 was a great year and possibly all the better poured from magnum. This was a singularly impressive wine with complex aromas, the palate has lovely freshness and grainy tannins underpinning the fruit, you can sense everything falling into place nicely. 2007 returned to a more traditional way of winemaking – half the wine was fermented in granite lagares, the other half in stainless steel, aged thereafter for 22 months in a combination of 2000 litre oak vats and French barriques.
2013 was a complete change to more old fashioned wine making techniques, the wine was all fermented in granite lagares followed by maturation in a single 13000 litre cask! Of the three wines this was the most elegant, beautifully harmonious now, it still needs time to reveal its complexity, and would be fascinating to do the same tasting five years on!