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Thursday, May 8, 2014
Chateau Belingard, Bergerac sec 2012, 12.5% abv, €13.99 Karwig Wines
Something of a favourite here since early in the century (not that long ago really!). It stands comparison with the whites of neighbouring Bordeaux and is better value. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle is fresh and fruity with a long aftertaste.
Belingard sounds French but apparently it comes from an ancient Celtic language, “beleen garten” meaning the garden of the Beleen or Belin, the god of sun and war. More details on the story and the wine here . Highly Recommended.
Pegoes Branco 2013, Setubal (Portugal), 12.0%, €10.49 Wine Alliance stockists
This Setubal white is well worth looking out for. It is an excellent regional wine by the highly rated Santo Isidro Co-op (Jamie Goode says it is possibly Portugal’s best co-op) and at under eleven euro is fantastic value. It is made from the Fernao Pires grape (70%) and is pleasant and delicious, fresh and fruity, crisp and clean with zesty flavours, easy drinking with a clean refreshing finish. The advice here to drink it as soon as possible after purchase. Don't delay. Great value and Highly Recommended.
Monday, December 2, 2013
Portuguese Pearls, one red, one white.
Quinta da Lagoalva, Vinho Tinta 2011, 14.5%, Curious Wines (€14.99) and other stockists.
Colour: A bright and beautiful ruby.
Nose: Ripe fruit aromas.
Palate: Fresh and fruity flavours, slight spice, rich and velvety, a terrific mouthfeel and the long finish is more of the same. This has been compared to high quality Shiraz from the Barossa / McLaren Vale, an opinion that may possibly be underselling this outstanding wine. Very Highly Recommended.
This Vinho Regional Tejo is a blend of Castelão and Touriga Nacional. Tejo is the DOC and VR based around the River Tagus and Quinta da Lagoalva is noted by Hugh Johnson (2014 handbook) as one of the “more ambitious” producers.
Tinta, by the way, means red. You’ll notice that both the red and white used the traditional cork closure which is of course produced in Portugal. Cork, by the way, may be making something of a comeback. Indeed, it is well underway, according to Languedoc winemaker Philip Grant of Chateau Bellevue la Foret.
Speaking at a Winegeese event in L’Atitude 51 last month, Grant said he had noted a major improvement in the traditional closure since 2001 when the Portuguese cork industry reacted to the enormous pressure they was coming under from the emergence of the screw cap as the favourite closure of Australia and other wine producing countries.
Young and Refreshing from Setubal
Fontanario de Pegoes Palmela D.O. 2012, 12.5%, €11.99 to 12.99, Stockists
This white wine is based on the Fernão Pires grape variety with a touch of Arinto. It is young, fruity, ever so slightly spicy, and with a refreshing finish, making it ideal to accompany any fish or salad dish. This aromatic grape is also called Maria Gomes.
It is produced in the Península of Setúbal, a region just south of Lisbon. Palmela is set in the east of the peninsula and it is here that the cooperative San Isidro de Pegões operates and produces quite a variety of wines, including some of the famous sweet wines based on the Moscatel grape.
Cooperatives are often looked down on and indeed ignored by many wine writers and importers but luckily not by all. Otherwise we could miss out on some very good wines indeed. Writer Jamie Goode says this is “possibly Portugal’s best co-op” and, with winemaker Jaime Quendera at the helm, it has won scores of awards.
If you haven’t tried a Portuguese white before, take a chance on this one. It is a gem and Very Highly Recommended.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
A smooth, savoury triumph from Portugal
Marco de Pegões 2010, Setubal (Portugal), 13.5%, Stockists
From land once owned by a beer magnate, a mixture of local and French grapes and the expertise of winemaker Jamie Quendera has produced a rich full bodied wine. Flavours of dark fruits abound, there is a hint of spiciness and a grippy acidity.
This has been a very consistent wine over the past few years and the impressive red comes at a terrific price. “A smooth, savoury triumph!”, according to Curious Wines, and I whole-heartedly agree. They sell it at €10.99.
The grapes are Castelão 40%, Syrah 40%, Cabernet Sauvignon and Alicante Bouschet 20% and it is aged for four months in French and American new oak barrels. The wine is imported by Wine Alliance. Very Highly Recommended.
The story of the Setubal coop Pegões, founded in the 50s and rocked by the revolution in the 70s, is very interesting .Below is a little taster that you may follow up here.
It all started when the big landlord and beer magnate, José Rovisco Pais, donated his Pegões properties to the Lisbon State Hospitals. On these properties, the Government implemented a large “colonization” project, donating land to thousands of agricultural workers and directing the plantation of 2900 acres of vineyards. These workers became known as “Colonos”. The Cooperative was established on March the 7th 1958 in order to give technical and logistic support to the “colonos”. Part of the support consisted in the reception and processing of their grapes. The first Pegões wines were then born.