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Carol Emmas reviews ViniPortugal's Wine Workshops - Jan 27

Published:  16 February, 2011

It was all about diversity at the recent ViniPortugal's Wine Workshops held at the Portuguese Consulate in Manchester on Jan 27.

It was all about diversity at the recent ViniPortugal's Wine Workshops held at the Portuguese Consulate in Manchester on Jan 27.

Hosted by producer, wine writer Richard Mayson - we were always going to get the pluses of the region, as he's a little biased having set up there, but quite rightly so. The country not only has the benefit of a wealth of exciting regional differences, it also has 450 grape varieties and most of those are indigenous. It's a quickly changing country and is currently exporting wine that offers good value on every merchant's shelf.


Wines in the workshop were:


Sogrape Vinhos SA, Quinta de Azevedo, Vinho Verde, 2009 (£6.99) is fresh with mouth watering lemon and lime tastes and a steely finish with good acidity and balance. Mayson explains the saying goes of Vinho Verde that, "If you don't have one at 11am, you have to have 11 at one".

Into the warmer south the Alentego, Herdade do Esporão Verdelho 2009 (£10.00) has rich tropical flavours and a hint of pineapple, it's also nutty, but with a good fresh acidity.

Cooperativa Agrícola de Sto. Isidro de Pegões CRL, Stella Rosso, 2007, Setubal. (£6.99). A blend of Casteläo, Cabernet Sauvignon, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet, this wine can only be described as jolly. With an earthy fresh raspberry and bramble fruited nose, it has good fruit, lively tannins and an upbeat, playful bite (£6.99).

Mayson's own wine, Quinta do Centro, Pedra Basta 2008, Alentejo (£13.99) is a blend of Trincadeira, Aragonês, Alicante Bouschet and Cabernet Sauvignon, displays soft berry fruit on the nose, good earthy fruit, finesse and well-integrated oak on the palate. Mayson is all for the blending of wines and considers the process not inferior but "greater than the sum of its parts".

Quinta do Noval, Cedro do Noval 2007, Duoro (£14.50), is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Syrah and Tinta Roriz has spicy buoyant fruits on the nose with a hint of violet. It displays savoury fruit on the palate and packs a good punch on the finish.

And finally the Blandy's Alvada, 5 year old Madeira (£12.49 50cl) is made from 50-50 Malmsey and Bual. With treacle and molasses on the nose, it's rich but zingy and unctuous palate is abundant with the nectar of figs, apricots and raisins. Mayson bemoans the fact that so often Madeira only gets used in cooking and thinks of it as a "little island, just waiting to be rediscovered."

The Annual Tasting of Portuguese Wines, March 2 - to register