The idea for the Algarve Wine Society’s opening event of 2019 evolved from a conversation between António Teixeira, owner of A Rolha wine bar in Porches, and vice president of the society, Steve Rigby. They came up with the idea of comparing recent wines from the Bairrada and Dão with those from decades ago.
António thought it would be interesting for members to be able to assess how good wines could be left to age. The group tasted the varietal Quinta do Poço do Lobo with the Arinto grape and a blend thereof from both the 1991 and 2014 vintages. They also tried the 1996 and 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon and, as with the Arinto, a blend thereof, providing an excellent education for members.
The tasting was held in the seasonally-closed Raj Restaurant in the Holiday Inn Armação de Pêra.
António’s brother, Roberto, prepared a series of tapas (petiscos) to create several “courses” to accompany the wines, which were served, young and aged, alongside the food.
There were wines from both traditional grapes and international varieties, but A Rolha wine bar specialises in serving only wines produced from Portuguese grape varieties, something about which António is passionate.
Caves São João, a company in the Bairrada region, provided the wines. This company was established in the 1930s and originally produced only the “espumante” (sparkling wine) for which the Bairrada region is renowned, but as years went on and they expanded to the Dão, they started making both red and white wines.
The company has cellars stocked with hundreds of bottles of fine wines going back to the 1960s and was represented by Pedro Mesquita, who had travelled all the way from Braga, and the local agent Telmo Silva from Catuna e Silva.
Members and guests tasted a cross section of wines starting with an espumante on arrival followed by four different white wines, two aged and two younger, then three reds and finally an exceptional Late Harvest.
The evening was a huge success, people were attracted from across the Algarve and, amongst guests who attended, were two German visitors staying in the hotel who, it so happened, owned a family vineyard in southern Germany.
Maybe a future destination for the Wine Society to visit…