terça-feira, 6 de novembro de 2018

There's a "big fortified tasting" every year in the heart of London

    When the 2019 b.f.t. or big fortified tasting cycle begins, with the booking opening for exhibitors and all those interested in participating in this important exhibition, which is intended only for professional visitors (on trade, off trade and press), in time to organize and plan next year's activities and agenda, let's get to know a little better this event.

with permission the b.f.t.

    The b.f.t., what is it all about?

    It's an event held annually in the center of London, which began in 2010 and year after year quickly became a huge success. Presently a world reference and the largest show specialized and exclusively dedicated to worldwide fortified wines. A not to be missed exhibition, an excellent opportunity to get to know and learn more about the great diversity and the different fortified wine styles, also to reinforce its notoriety and recognition, positioning and quality, which is always to be valued. This promotion occasion is directed not only to the british market, but also to a much wider scope given the visibility that this show has achieved.
    It is visited by interested people whose purpose is to taste and know this special wines better, without the dispersion and lack of visibility that always happens in the general wine shows that are extended to all wine types.

    This is an event that has as privileged target the professional visitors, connected to areas such hotel and catering, importers, distribution companies, restaurants and sommeliers, wine critics and journalists and general press.

with permission the b.f.t.

    The records that define the b.f.t., last edition message:

    The last b.f.t. was its 8th edition, held last May 2018.
    In order to better understand the b.f.t. current scope, let us consider the following data:

    In the last edition there were a total of 637 registrations, of which more than 400 visited the event;
    Approximately the visitors were divided as follows;
  • 45% off-trade, large wine merchants such as Berry, Bros. & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, as well as other smaller wine merchants as Vintage Wine & Port, Oxford Wine company and retailers such as The Wine Society, Waitrose and Fortnum & Mason;
  • 27% on-trade, restaurants such as "The Fat Duck", "Bar Douro", "Petrus" and "Tate", bars such as "Ritz", "Wine Social & Tapas" and "The Port House", London clubs and university colleges;
  • the remaining 28% was made up of trade and general press (among others, Sunday Times, The Independent, Yorkshire Post, Decanter and Fine Wine Magazine), wine writers and bloggers (including Julia Harding from Jancis Robinson's Purple Pages, Richard Mayson, Alex Liddell and Neal Martin), educators from WSET as well as independent wine educators, restaurant wine list consultants, PR companies and leading London auction houses.
with permission the b.f.t.

    The national fortified wine producers in detail

    There was a reasonably strong presence of portuguese producers in the last edition as well as a variety of wine styles, with a wide presentation of the various types of fortified wines produced in Portugal, with a special emphasis on the Madeira wines representation, with the participation of 6 producing and exporting houses, with the fundamental support and co-financing of the IVBAM (Institute of Wine, Embroidery and Handicraft of Madeira) which thus intends to reinforce its presence in the british market that in 2017 was the most important in value for Madeira wine.

    Some Port wine houses have presented in first hand experience their latest 2016 vintage Ports, the most recent classic vintage Port declaration: Quinta das Lamelas, Sandeman, Offley, Quevedo, Barros, Burmester, Cálem and Kopke.

with permission the b.f.t.

     From a total of 290 wines presented at the exhibition (from Portugal, Spain, France and Australia), 206 (about 71%) were wines from portuguese wine producers and were thus distributed:

    144 Port wines, 50 Madeira wines, 9 moscatél de Setúbal wines and 3 other fortified wines, which in turn represented a total of 55 wine brands, 24 Port wine brands, 7 Madeira wine brands, 3 moscatél de Setúbal brands and 1 other wine brand, presented by a total of 43 producers, 18 for Port wine, 6 for Madeira wine, 2 for moscatél de Setubal and 1 for other fortified wine style.

    Besides the wine presentation and tastings, the programe also includes interesting, informative and enriching special tastings with commented presentations, the Masterclasses, which included among others not less interesting, "Niepoort, Dawn of a new vintage", in which Dirk Nieport explained the art of combining the blend of the different components from the same vintage, to create a vintage Port, and "Barbeito: new challenges and projects, from 1981 to 2017", a trip through the different categories and styles of this producer's Madeira wines.

with permission the b.f.t.

    We must also mention that contrary to the commitment of the IVBAM already mentioned, the IVDP (Douro and Port Wine Institute) unfortunately has so far not considered this event as an opportunity to promote Port wine, not so much for the major and renown houses, but above all in supporting the small bottling producers who would have an excellent opportunity here to present themselves and their wines, enriching the Port wine presentation diversity, extending the proposals to other Port wine profiles.

    The same is true for the participation of other portuguese fortified wine producers, some unique and original wines, I remember for example the Carcavelos wine and the incentive and support of the Oeiras City Council, which has done so much to ensure that this historic fortified wine does not disappear.

    The 2019 b.f.t. edition

   In 2019 the main focus of the organization is to increase the number of visitors of the event, which will remain only for professional visitors and not open to the general public and individual consumers, except for the participant's guests.
    The date scheduled for the 2019 edition is April 16th, earlier than previous editions, but so scheduled to ensure  a greater agenda compatibility and so the possibility of more producers being present.

    It is also important to mention that the organization takes into account the special cases of the small producers for individualized solutions of space sharing in the show.

with permission the b.f.t.

    The opinions...

    In the opinion of Óscar Quevedo (Quevedo Port Wine), a participant in the b.f.t. last edition: "participating in the b.f.t. is the best way to get people to taste and display our Port wines to the UK press and buyers. An event immaculately organized and with a huge focus on Port wine. An event for which the IVDP should very seriously consider the organization of a joint participation.".

    Maria Pinto (Quinta das Lamelas/Lamelas Wines), who participated together with another Douro producer, Quinta do Mourão, states that "we are very satisfied with the event, from the organization and visibility to the public invited", and that "we recommend it to other producers, mainly the smaller Douro based producers.".

    "I find it exceptionally good.", Dirk Niepoort.

    "People are coming here already with the frame of mind that they are going to taste fortified wines and I think this is very good news.", Johnny Graham (Churchill's).

   To find out more and register b.f.t. 2019: thebft.co.uk

   The photos of the present publication were kindly provided by the b.f.t. to whom we are grateful.


Todos os anos há um "big fortified tasting" no centro de Londres

     Quando tem início o ciclo do b.f.t. ou big fortified tasting 2019, com o anúncio da abertura de inscrições e reservas para expositores participantes e interessados neste importante acontecimento, que se destina apenas a visitantes profissionais (on trade, off trade e imprensa), num momento de planeamento da agenda de actividades para o próximo ano, ficamos a conhecer um pouco melhor esta mostra.

com permissão the b.f.t.

     The b.f.t., de que se trata?

    É um acontecimento que se realiza anualmente, no centro de Londres, que teve início em 2010, e que ano após ano rapidamente se tornou num acontecimento com enorme sucesso, que é hoje uma referência mundial e a maior mostra especializada e dedicada exclusivamente a vinhos fortificados de todo o mundo. Actualmente, é um evento imperdível, uma excelente oportunidade para conhecer e dar a conhecer a grande diversidade e os diferentes estilos de vinhos fortificados, assim como para reforçar a sua notoriedade e reconhecimento, posicionamento e qualidade, o que é sempre de valorizar. Esta oportunidade de promoção vale não só para o mercado britânico, mas também num âmbito muito mais alargado, considerando a visibilidade do evento.

    É visitado por pessoas interessadas e que têm à partida o propósito específico de provar e conhecer vinhos fortificados, sem a dispersão e a falta de visibilidade que acontece inevitavelmente nas mostras mais gerais e alargadas a todo o tipo de  vinhos.

     Este é um evento que tem como destinatários privilegiados os visitantes profissionais, sejam ligados à hotelaria e restauração, importadores e empresas de distribuição, sommeliers, críticos e jornalistas.

com permissão the b.f.t.

    Os dados que definem o b.f.t., a mensagem da última edição

    A última edição do b.f.t., que foi a 8.ª, decorreu no passado mês de Maio de 2018, na Church House, em Westminster, na cidade de  Londres.
   Para se perceber o alcance actual deste acontecimento, consideremos os seguintes dados:

    Nesta edição houve um total de 637 registos, dos quais mais de 400 visitaram o evento.
    Em termos aproximados, a divisão e constituição dos visitantes foi a seguinte:

  • 45% off-trade, grandes comerciantes de vinho do mercado britânico, como por exemplo, Berry, Bros. & Rudd, Corney & Barrow, assim como outros vários importantes comerciantes com menor dimensão como Vintage Wine & Port, Oxford Wine Company e retalhistas como Wine Society, Waitrose e Fortnum & Mason;
  • 27% on-trade, os responsáveis de restaurantes como "The Fat Duck", "Bar Douro", "Petrus" e "Tate", bares como "Ritz" e "Wine Social & Tapas" e "The Port House", clubes londrinos e colégios de universidades;
  • Os restantes 28% foram constituídos por comerciantes e imprensa generalista e especializada (entre outros, Sunday Times, The Independent, Yorkshire Post, Decanter, Fine Wine Magazine), críticos de vinhos, jornalistas e bloggers (por exp., Julia Harding que integra as "Purple Pages" de Jancis Robinson, Richard Mayson, Alex Liddell e Neal Martin), formadores do WSET e outros formadores independentes, consultores de restaurantes, empresas de relações públicas e as principais casas leiloeiras de Londres.
com permissão the b.f.t.

    Os produtores nacionais em detalhe

    Nesta edição houve uma grande presença de produtores e vinhos nacionais, com uma apresentação alargada dos diversos tipos de vinhos fortificados produzidos em Portugal. Uma forte representação dos vinhos da Madeira, com a participação de 6 casas produtoras e exportadoras, com o apoio e co-financiamento fundamental do IVBAM (Instituto do Vinho, do Bordado e do Artesanato da Madeira) que assim pretende reforçar a aposta no mercado britânico, que em 2017 foi o mais importante para o vinho da Madeira em valor.

    Alguns dos produtores de vinho do Porto, apresentaram e deram a conhecer em primeira mão, os seus mais recentes vintages de 2016, a mais recente declaração de Porto vintage clássico: Quinta das Lamelas, Sandeman, Offley, Quevedo Porto, Barros, Burmester, Calém e Kopke.

com permissão the b.f.t.

   De um total de 290 vinhos fortificados em prova (com origem em Portugal, Espanha, França e Austrália), 206 (71%) com origem em Portugal e assim distribuídos:

    144 vinhos do Porto, 50 vinhos da Madeira, 9 moscatel de Setúbal e 3 vinhos fortificados de outros estilos, que por sua vez representavam um total de 55 marcas de vinhos, 24 de vinho do Porto, 7 de vinho da Madeira, 3 de moscatel de Setúbal e 1 de outro estilo de vinho, que foram apresentados por um total de 43 produtores nacionais, dos quais 18 de vinho do Porto, 6 de vinho da Madeira, 2 de moscatel de Setúbal e 1 de outros vinhos fortificados.

    Para além da apresentação de vinhos, a mostra compreende também na sua programação interessantes e instrutivas provas especiais com apresentações comentadas, que constituem as "Masterclasses", entre outras não menos interessantes, registamos "Niepoort, dawn of a new vintage", em que Dirk Niepoort explicou a arte de combinar os diferentes vinhos da mesma colheita para a criação de um Porto vintage, "Barbeiro, new challenges and projects: a view from 1981 to 2017", uma viagem por diferentes categorias e estilos dos vinhos da Madeira deste produtor.

com permissão the b.f.t.

     Temos também que referir que, ao contrário da aposta empenhada e comprometida do IVBAM que já mencionamos, o IVDP (Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto) até agora não tem considerado e assumido este acontecimento como uma oportunidade para promoção dos vinhos do Porto, não tanto para os grandes produtores de renome, mas sobretudo para o apoio a pequenos produtores engarrafadores que conseguiriam aqui uma excelente oportunidade para se apresentarem e aos seus vinhos, enriquecendo a diversidade e o conjunto dos vinhos do Porto em participação.

    O mesmo se diga de outros vinhos fortificados portugueses, originais e únicos, estou a lembrar-me do vinho de Carcavelos e do incentivo fundamental da Câmara Municipal de Oeiras para que este vinho não desapareça.

    A próxima edição, The b.f.t. 2019

    Em 2019, o principal objectivo da organização é o aumento do número de visitantes, que se manterá unicamente para visitantes profissionais e não aberto ao público em geral e consumidores individuais, excepto para os convidados dos participantes.
    A data prevista para a sua realização é 16 de Abril de 2019, decorrerá na Church House, em Londres. Mais cedo do que tem sido habitual em anos anteriores para corresponder a uma maior disponibilidade de participantes.
    A organização tem ainda em conta os casos especiais de pequenos produtores para soluções individualizadas de partilha de espaços nesta mostra.

com permissão the b.f.t.

    As opiniões...

    Na opinião de Óscar Quevedo (Quevedo Port Wine), participante na última edição: "a participação no b.f.t. é a melhor forma de dar a provar e expôr os nossos vinhos do Porto à imprensa e compradores do Reino Unido. Uma prova organizada de forma imaculada e com um enorme foco no vinho do Porto. Um evento que o IVDP deveria muito seriamente pensar em organizar uma participação conjunta.".

    Maria Pinto (Quinta das Lamelas/Lamelas Wines), que participou conjuntamente com outro produtor engarrafador do Douro, a Quinta do Mourão, refere que "estamos muito satisfeitos com o evento, desde a organização, visibilidade e público convidado", e que "recomendaríamos a outros produtores, principalmente os mais pequenos produtores engarrafadores.".

    "Uma prova excepcionalmente boa", Dirk Niepoort.

    "As pessoas vêm cá com o estado de espírito de que vão provar vinhos fortificados e penso que isso são muito boas notícias.", Johnny Graham (Churchill's).

    Para mais informações e registo: thebft.co.uk

    As fotografias utilizadas na presente publicação foram gentilmente cedidas pela b.f.t, a quem deixamos o nosso agradecimento.


segunda-feira, 1 de outubro de 2018

Le vin à la bouche! Quinta do Passadouro Vintage Port 1994


    A 24 year old vintage Port, produced by Dirk Niepoort, during the period of his collaboration (until 2004) with Quinta do Passadouro (located in Vale de Mendiz, in the Pinhão river valley in the Cima Corgo Douro sub-region).

    1994 was a year of great and memorable vintage Ports, a classic vintage year of generalized vintage declaration by Port producers. Generally the vintage conditions were ideal and the grapes were perfect.
    Also remember that 1994 was the year that Fonseca and Taylor's vintage Ports obtained the maximum score possible, 100 points., by the prestigious american magazine "Wine Spectator".

    We could start by defining the Quinta do Passadouro Vintage Port 1994 as a medium weight vintage Port, which at this stage appears to be at an ideal point of its evolution.

    It already has a more open colour, wich can be described as dark red with brownish hues, reminding the colour of some 10 year old tawny Ports.
    With a lively fruity nose, black (raspberries and blackberries) and ripe red fruit (cherries) and some floral notes.
     It has some freshness in the mouth, it is balanced and rich, velvety with an elegant texture, black and red fruit and cherry liqueur notes. Persistent with a good mouth length.


     Um Porto vintage com 24 anos, da fase de colaboração (que se manteve até 2004) de Dirk Niepoort com a Quinta do Passadouro (localizada em Vale de Mendiz, no vale do rio Pinhão, na sub-região do Cima Corgo).

    1994 foi um ano de grandes e memoráveis vintages, um ano vintage clássico de declaração generalizada entre os produtores de vinho do Porto. Em geral, a vindima decorreu em condições ideais e com uvas perfeitas.
     Relembre-se também que 1994 foi o ano em que os vintages da Fonseca e da Taylor's obtiveram a pontuação máxima, 100 pontos, pela prestigiada revista norte-americana "Wine Spectator".

    Podemos começar a definir o Quinta do Passadouro Porto Vintage 1994 como um vintage de médio porte, que nesta fase parece estar num ponto ideal de evolução.

    Apresenta já uma côr mais aberta, de um vermelho escuro com tons acastanhados, que faz lembrar a côr de alguns Porto tawny com 10 anos.
    Tem vivacidade no nariz, com fruta evidente, frutos pretos, amoras e framboesas e fruta vermelha madura, cereja e notas florais.
    Sente-se alguma frescura na boca, é equilibrado, rico, elegante e com uma textura aveludada, frutos pretos e vermelhos e notas licoradas. Com um bom comprimento de boca.


May also interest:
Também pode interessar:

domingo, 16 de setembro de 2018

The 2016 Vintage Port special tasting, the 2018 Port Wine Day


    It was was actually a Vintage Port Wine day, with the 2016 Vintage Port presentation. A classic vintage year recently declared, the fourth classic vintage of this century, of a demanding and challenging harvest, in which it was essential all the experience and knowledge and chosing the right moment to start harvesting, with exceptional quality wines, in an extraordinary and memorable tasting event which took place at the Leixões Cruise Terminal, where also took place the 2016 classic Vintage Port formal proclamation ceremony held by the Confraria do Vinho do Porto or Port Wine Brotherhood and the blend making of the "Confraria Vintage", a special Vintage Port blend made of 40 declared different Vintage Port brands.

    For Port Wine!

George Sandeman, Confraria do Vinho do Porto (Port Wine Brotherhood) 10th Chancellor, on duty on the day of the 2016 Vintage Port proclamation ceremony.
    Organized by the IVDP - The Douro and Port Wine Institute - in which approximatly 50 Port wine producers presented their main Vintage Port brands.

    To taste young Vintage Ports in its early life stage is always demanding and an experience of resistance and the memory that we will keep corresponds always to an unrepeatable moment in the long evolution capacity of these unique and very special wines.

    With the opportunity to get to know and taste some first edition 2016 vintages, like "Quinta da Oliveirinha", produced by Alves de Sousa, a quinta located near Pinhão (Cima Corgo sub region) from a vineyard by the river; "Talentvs",  a Vintage Port produced by Seara d'Ordens, to be produced in classic vintage years and only when the quality desired by the producer is achieved; "Água Alta", produced by Vieira de Sousa, the same Quinta da Água Alta which originated the Churchill's single quinta vintage Ports until Quinta da Gricha final acquisition in 1999.

   It's worth noting some vintages that remainned in memory by its strong character and identity, aromatic and with a very good structure, freshness and good acidity: Churchill's, Noble & Murat (with a special dry finish) and Quinta do Infantado (characteristically a drier Vintage Port).

   A curiosity that resulted of the comparison of the Vintage Ports presented by Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa (from the Baixo Corgo sub region) and the recent Quinta da Oliveirinha (from the Cima Corgo sub region), with the clearest freshness of the first one, which would lead us to consider if, with the recent climate change consequences, and the search for acidity and freshness in wines, should not we consider the historic region of the Baixo Corgo (the coolest of the three sub regions of the entire Douro wine producting area), to achieve this characteristics?

    We will return to the 2016 Vintage Ports shortly in a future publication, for now some images of the event.

A prova especial Porto Vintage 2016, Port Wine day 2018

    Um Vintage Port wine day, com os Porto Vintage 2016, um ano vintage clássico, o quarto deste século, de uma colheita desafiante e muito exigente para os produtores, em que foram determinantes toda a experiência e conhecimento das vinhas no momento da vindima, com vinhos de qualidade excepcional, numa prova extraordinária e memorável que decorreu no Terminal de Cruzeiros de Leixões, onde ocorreu também a cerimónia formal de proclamação do Vintage 2016 pela Confraria do Vinho do Porto, assim como a feitoria do "Vintage Confraria", que junta num lote especial 40 Vintages declarados de diferentes produtores.

    Pelo Vinho do Porto!

    A prova foi organizada pelo IVDP - Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto - em que aproximadamente 50 produtores apresentaram os vintages das suas principais marcas.

    Provar vintages novos em início de vida, é sempre exigente e uma prova de resistência, mas a memória com que ficamos corresponde sempre a um momento irrepetível na longa capacidade de evolução destes vinhos únicos e muito especiais.

    Com alguns vintages em primeira edição, o "Quinta da Oliveirinha", produzido por Alves de Sousa, de uma quinta localizada próximo do Pinhão (no Cima Corgo), de uma vinha junto ao rio; o "Talentvs", produzido pela Seara d'Ordens apenas em anos clássicos e quando a qualidade pretendida satisfizer os critérios do produtor; o "Água Alta", produzido por Vieira de Sousa, com uvas da mesma Quinta da Água Alta a partir da qual a Churchill's produzia o seu Vintage de quinta até à aquisição definitiva da Quinta da Gricha em 1999.

    Com destaque para alguns Vintages que ficaram na memória, com carácter e identidade, aromáticos, com grande estrutura, frescos e com boa acidez: Churchil's, Noble & Murat (com um final seco) e Quinta do Infantado (talvez o Vintage mais seco em prova).

    Também a comparação dos vintages apresentados por Alves de Sousa, Quinta da Gaivosa (do Baixo Corgo) e o mais recente Quinta da Oliveirinha (do Cima Corgo), com a maior frescura evidente do primeiro, que nos levou à consideração se, com a tendência das recentes alterações climáticas com a subida das temperaturas, e a procura de frescura e acidez nos vinhos, não seria de considerar a histórica região do Baixo Corgo (notoriamente a mais fresca das três regiões da região demarcada do Douro) para conseguir estas características?

    Voltaremos aos Vintages 2016 em breve, em próxima publicação, por agora deixamos algumas imagens do acontecimento.


terça-feira, 31 de julho de 2018

Niepoort Open Door 4th edition

Niepoortland .4

    In the gardens of Niepoort wine cellars, on rua Cândido dos Reis, no. 598, in Gaia, as usual for the last four years, the beginning of the "slow season", on a pleasant summer afternoon with a wide variety of quality wines of the usual suspects (I would venture to comment that I felt too many visitors this edition).

    A glimpse of the event with images from our archive:

    © HSM

 Niepoort open door 2017, 3rd-edition                                   Niepoortland! 2016

quinta-feira, 19 de julho de 2018

Calém or A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.


Short facts about the city of wine (2)
The building facing Cais da Estiva and the river Douro and Rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, Porto

    Calém, "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.", also known as Calém house, was a Port wine producing and exporting firm, founded in 1859, by António Alves Calém. In 1912 its offices were located on rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, in Porto (photos above) and with its Port wine warehouses on the opposite bank of the river Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia, on avenida Diogo Leite, nos. 24 to 42 (photo below).
    In 1918, the "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda." company was acquired by the Sogevinus group - Sogevinus Fine Wines, S. A. - and the Calém brand integrates today the Sogevinus wine portfolio brands alongside with Barros, Burmester and Kopke.
     Currently, the n.º 7 of rua da Reboleira, in Porto, is the "Quinta do Sagrado" company offices, Port and DOC Douro wine producers, which is also owned by the Calém family, which through this firm maintains its historical link to the Douro and wine producing and marketing.

Calém Port wine warehouses on avenida Diogo Leite, Vila Nova de Gaia

Calém ou A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.
Factos breves sobre a cidade do vinho (2)

    Calém, "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.", também conhecida como Casa Calém, era uma firma produtora e exportadora de vinho do Porto fundada em 1859 por António Alves Calém. Em 1912, os seus escritórios estavam localizados na rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, no Porto e com os seus armazéns na margem oposta no rio Douro, em Vila Nova de Gaia, na avenida Diogo Leite, nos. 24 a 42.
    Em 1998, a firma "A. A. António Calém & Filhos, Lda." foi adquirida pelo grupo "Sogevinus" - Sogevinus Fine Wines, S. A. - e a marca integra o universo de marcas de vinhos deste grupo com a Barros, Burmester e Kopke.
    Actualmente, no n.º 7 da rua da Reboleira, no Porto, funcionam os escritórios da empresa "Quinta do Sagrado", produtor de vinho do Porto e DOC Douro, que mantém assim a sua histórica ligação à produção e comercialização de vinhos.


May also interest:

Blackett & Ca., Lda.                                                The Shadows of the Gaia Entreposto                                    
Short facts about the city of wine (1)  



segunda-feira, 25 de junho de 2018

Noble & Murat, how a classic vintage Port is born

or the vintage Port composition

Quinta do Bragão, Celeirós do Douro: Noble & Murat winery

    The most recent Port wine producer, but only apparently or formally. There is an experience, knowledge and an intimate connection of many years to viticulture, Port wine production and the Douro region which are decisive for this project and for the quality of the wines produced here, as we have already noticed in a previous publication (
Noble & Murat, an historical Port wine brand reborn).

    There is a strong and evident commitment to superior quality Port wine special categories production, natural wines, authentic, without artifice and with a strong identity and character, serious Port wines whose consistency the future will surely ensure.

    The heart of Noble & Murat's Port wines

    The Noble & Murat winery is located in "Quinta do Bragão", at the border of Celeirós do Douro, in the middle of the Pinhão river valley and on its right bank (from here we can see Quinta do Fojo, Quinta do Passadouro, Quinta da Manoella, Quinta do Silval and further on Quinta do Noval). A winery with the typical ambience and a rare charm which is an expression of the Douro traditional wineries.

    It is here, in this river valley that Alexandre Antas Botelho and António Borges Taveira families, the Noble & Murat partners, have their roots and a centuries long tradition of wine production, trading and export, since the sixteenth century. We can say with propriety that the Douro is in the soul of this house and is reflected in the Port wines it produces. A project closely linked to the Douro's viticulture roots.

    It is important to remenber that, in the Douro, wine production is carried out mainly in two ways, on the one hand, the "quintas", and on the other hand the isolated vineyards. Let us consider that, with the exception of large wine producers, owners of several "quintas" in the Douro, the wine production on the basis of a single "quinta", has to work with the vines and grapes of that specific property with its own characteristics, with a smaller and a more limited range of choice and less diversity than those producers, as is the case of Noble & Murat, which have at their disposal several vineyards, with different locations, with greater diversity and peculiarities, old vines and vineyards of different ages and grape varieties, located at different altitudes, climatic conditions and solar exposures. All theses factors allow the producer more possibilities and variety of choice and will confer greater richness, complexity and longevity to the final result, as we will see throughout this text.

    Noble & Murat produces Port wine from 6 vineyards, 3 of which are owned by the firm's partners, with privileged and diversified locations in the Pinhão valley and in the Tedo valley (Cima Corgo Douro sub-region), with intense field work of constant monitoring and control.

    The process of wine production and vinification is traditional and entirely manual, understood and assumed as the method that most respects grapes and terroir.
    After careful selection, the grapes are vinified separately, through a traditional winemaking process, with some peculiarities worth noting in order to better understand, not only the wines, but the producer's philosophy.

    As we said, the product of the vineyards is vinified separately, and exclusively foot trodden in small "lagares" (granite or stone treading tanks) made of schist and granite slates, with a high ratio man per wine cask in the "lagar", which ends up having a huge influence on the wines. To understand the rarity and the meaning of this process, in a "lagar" with an approximate dimension of 5 x 5m the grapes are trodden by about 24 to 26 men, and in the smaller "lagares", with adimension of 2,5 x 3m by about 15 men. More than a working team, a wine family that every year does this work together.

    The grapes are vinified with the grape bunch stems, which involves more work, but it's also a decisive method for the final wine quality and character. The fermentation with the stems allows the absorption of heat and contributes to temperature control during fermentation, helping the aeration of native yeasts and conferring the so-called "green tannin", the grape stems acidity will give tannin and aroma and its decisive for the wine longevity. There is also a lot of hard manual work at this stage, for example, when the "blanket" rises (the solid layer that forms in the "lagar" consisting of grape skins, seeds and stems) it is worked manually with the traditional "macacos"(1) throughout the fermentation.

    One of the many important wine making process details is the pressing quality using an old press (a "FAS" press lined with stainless steel that extracts the last drop of wine from the solid matter coming from the "lagares"). The producers believe that a good press will contribute to the necessary extraction and body, which is to say, will bring color and tannin to the wine. A full "lagar" will be equivalent to about a press and a quarter. This "press wine" then integrates the wine that comes out from the "lagares".

    Another of the peculiarities that is also one of the house secrets is the wine fortification procedure, to achieve a greater integration and homogenization of the grape spirit added, for a better aroma, flavour and structure preservation.

    After the separate vinification of each of the vineyards, the resulting wine is kept individualized in "tonéis" (large wood vats) to follow and evaluate its evolution, quality and its potential for vintage Port.

    The vineyards, the grape selection and the winemaking process is exactly the same for the Late Bottled Vintage Port wines and Vintage Ports. The LBV is traditional, unfiltered, more structured and full-bodied, and literally a vintage bottled later. When the wine is removed from the "lagar" a selection is made and the wine destination is determined at this moment. In those years in which vintage port is not produced, almost all wine is destined for the Noble & Murat LBV Port.
    Some of the wine produced in each year is also reserved for longer wood ageing, for a future Tawny colheita port (tonel 11) and also some is saved for an aged Tawny port.

A classic Vintage Port composition
Understanding the Vintage Port assemblage elements 

    Vintage Port wine is a rare wine of exceptional quality, produced in very small quantities, with the very best grapes from a single harvest in a year with perfect conditions and which is the supreme expression of Port wine. It is also a blended wine, but not like Aged Tawny ports in the sense of blending different aged in wood wines from several harvests, but in the sense of a blending of the very best grapes from selected vineyards and from the same vintage, according to the desired wine profile.

    At Noble & Murat, there are 6 wines, resulting from a grape selection from 6 vineyards, being the expression of 6 terroirs, each with its own distinct and very specific characteristcs, different profiles that are the result of tasting and evaluating these 6 elements.
    We had the opportunity and gratifying experience to taste and get to know each of these wines, undoubtedly a tasting essencial to understand vintage Port wine. Our thanks to Alexandre Antas Botelho and Noble & Murat for a tasting usually only accessible to those involved in the house wine production.

    Let us now consider the elements that make up the composition of the lateste classic Vintage port, the Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016.
    The wines are kept in "tonéis" and cubas (large stainless steel vats) for about 2 years.

    The 1st element from cuba 8 (these stainless steel vats have a capacity of 5000 liters)
    From a very old vineyard in the Tedo valley. A wine in which the primary fruit aromas dominate, with evident intense and fresh fruit, an earthy and very mature wine.

    The 2nd element from tonel 7 (these large chestnut wood casks have variable capacities, between 5500 and 7000 liters)
    Originating in another Tedo valley old vineyard, its a wine notoriously more acidic and tanic, still not very expressive, with the red fruit standing out.

    The 3rd element, from tonel 8
    From a vineyard in Covas do Douro. It is the "scent" wine sample, very aromatic and exuberant, but at the same time with less structure and less length when compared to the previous wines. We could say that this sample lacks all the characteristics of the previous wines. 

    The 4th element, from tonel 9
    From a Tedo valley old vineyard. Clearly a more complex wine, as main notes we can point that its a half dry wine, initially seems sweet but later is cut by a clear dryness, a much more balanced wine. Here one notices the concept of a superior quality vineyard. If there was only the grapes from one "quinta" available, this would be the single quinta vintage Port, a wine that stands out by itself.

    The 5th element, from tonel 10
    From a vineyard located in Vale de Mendiz. It is a very complete base wine, full and with a lot of color, exuberant, earthy and with good acidity, it also has a lot of aroma, a chewy wine, impressive and rough, stands out for the tannin length.

    The 6th element, from cuba 11
    From another vineyard located in Vale de Mendiz and also from a Tedo valley vineyard that has the peculiarity of being a unique vine of touriga nacional grape variety, originating in a unique vine clone(2) of this variety (an exception to the Douro predominance of the touriga nacional grape vine clone from "Quinta do Ataíde"). It is a very floral and lush wine, fine and with litle acidity.

    The final result would be the Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016, already approved by the IVDP last May, shortly after our visit, in a classic vintage Port year. This vintage is mainly characterized by its exuberant nose and floral aromas, also for its red and black fruit character, with an excellent structure, good acidity and a dry finish. A more elegant and aromatic vintage port when compared to the 2015 vintage port edition, which is more austere and structured.
    Of the 2016 Vintage Port will be bottled 3000 botles, and the remaining wine will be bottled as the house LBV Port 2016.

    From the Noble & Murat wine collection we also tasted some original and very interesting wines worthy noting:

    The "Tonel 11"; an essay still under study to evaluate the long wood maturing period and to determine the future of this wine, probably an old Tawny Port. It is composed of a great variety of wines (9), a blend made up of vintages from 2012 to 2014, in which besides the fruit, the wood presence, elegant and complex, with cherry and crystallized fruit aromas and flavors.

    And a courtesy of Alexandre Antas Botelho, a special, original and very rare Port wine, made with grapes from a very old, pre-phylloxeric ungrafted vines, that no longer exists, it was a vineyard that grew in goblet (a shrub vine), with about 60% red grape and 40% white grape varieties. It has the particularity of being a new wine made from a very old vineyard. To taste this Port wine is really an historical and unrepeatable moment. It is an original and an extraordinary wine, with a slightly open color, chemical, with a clear red fruit nose, very fine and elegant, with acidity and dryness present.

    In the current Noble & Murat portfolio:

  • Noble & Murat LBV Porto 2012;
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2015 (6,600 bottled);
  • Noble & Murat LBV Porto 2013 (available at the end of 2018)
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016 (soon available)
  • Noble & Murat 20 year Tawny Port (available at the end of July 2018)

    Noble & Murat
    Alexandre Antas Botelho and António Borges Taveira
    mob: +351 96 327 42 50
    email: noble.murat@gmail.com

    (1) Macaco: a wooden utensil, about 1,5m long, which in the lower part as attached wood cross tips. It is used by the "lagareiros" (the men who work in the "lagar") during fermentation, punching the blanket and forcing the solid matter to descend to the bottom of the "lagar". It is intended that the grape must begins to ferment with the red grape skins, seeds and stems, in order to remove the maximum coloring matter and tannins. ("Illustrated Port Wine Dictionary", by Manuel Poças Pintão and Carlos Cabral).

    (2) (vine)Clone: it is obtained by the vegetative multiplication of a single plant, to reproduce in other vines obtained from this, the same characteristics. The vines are very adaptable, they react according to environmental conditions with different behaviors (resistance to diseases, grape ripening, more or less compact bunches and even slightly aroma and flavor differences), which has as a consequence many varieties of the same grape variery, which does not originate a new one, but a subdivision of the grape variery, Clones are used to replicate specific characteristics of a grape variety.


May also interest:

Classic vintage port vs. non classic vintage port     An historical port wine brand reborn