By Nigel Adams
The Algarve Wine Society held its annual gala dinner and dance at Hotel Vila Sol last Friday night.
An excellent attendance by the society’s smartly turned out members ensured the evening’s success and, with the pre-drinks flowing, the evening got off to a lively start.
But business came first, and in the society’s case this meant the annual general meeting, which was convened by the Assembleia Geral’s President Michael Savage.
Anne Green, President of the Direcção, in her written report summarised the 11 events which took place in a successful 2012, including several wine tastings followed by dinner, the traditional gala black-tie dinner dance following the AGM, a summer party, a Christmas lunch and a gourmet dinner and trips to the Bordeaux region in France, Almendralejo in Spain and a trip to the Ribatejo region in Portugal.
The Secretary, Larry Hampton, reported that there are 214 members, with 21 new ones having joined since the start of the year. The new members present were introduced to the meeting in turn and welcomed.
There are 10 events planned for 2013, the next one being on March 20, a blind tasting of Algarvian wines. In April, a surprise gourmet event is being planned, in early May an organised trip to the Costa Alentejana area south of Setúbal and later in the year in September a trip to the Douro.
The Treasurer, David Grindley, gave his report, declaring a healthy financial situation for the society. Edwin Bisset, President of the Conselho Fiscal, assured the assembly that the society’s books were in order and kept according to sound and accepted accounting principles.
There were a number of changes to Committee members, most notable of which was Larry Hampton stepping down as secretary after 10 years’ service. Larry has been a driving force in the society, organising many trips abroad as well as numerous tastings at home and his enthusiasm will be sorely missed.
In recognition of his notable service, Larry was made an honorary member of the society. Others standing down were Edwin Bisset, John Edge, Elsbeth Graf and Simon Rose, all of whom have made significant contributions to the society.
With business matters over, the members meandered happily over to enjoy a fabulous dinner at L’Olive Restaurant. The meal started with wild mushrooms puff pastry with green asparagus, followed by sautéed grouper fillet with clams, lemon risotto and aromatic herbs, and then a palate-cleansing Mango sorbet with sparkling wine followed. The main course was caramalised duck breast with rosemary honey, red fruits sauce with broccolis with almond butter and couscous, then a cheese plate and an orange chocolate mousse to finish.
The wines were an excellent sauvignon blanc – Pinto – discovered in the recent trip to the Tejo, a Pinot Noir from Campolargo and the meal was rounded off with a 20 year-old Tawny port from Churchill Grahams.
Thanks to David Grindley’s organisation and the excellent service at the L’Olive Restaurant we had another successful evening. Special thanks are extended to Aurea and the staff at Vila Sol and the band Neverland who kept us dancing late into the evening.
The Algarve Wine Society’s membership is at its upper limit, and a waiting list is in effect, but if you would like more information about the Society, please contact the Secretary Nigel Adams