The newly-renovated Memmo Baleeira Hotel in Sagres was the splendid setting for the most recent of the Algarve Wine Society’s wine tasting and dinner.
More than 70 members and guests made the journey to the beautifully sunny but windy location.
The west coast’s appropriately-named Vicentino winery provided the wines for the evening – different, salty, heady wines.
A huge range of wines were offered for tasting by presenters Luís Mota Veiga, Vicentino’s brand developer, and Nuno Almeida, sales manager for Frupor group, producers of Vicentino wines – oaked and unoaked rosés, three delicious, distinctive white wines, and three reds. The tasting was informal, and the presenters insisted on personal conversation with tasters.
Favourite wine was possibly the winery’s Sauvignon Blanc, the 2018 crop entirely sold out and featured on wine lists of all the most prestigious restaurants in Lisbon.
Bernardo Cabral, Vicentino’s winemaker, was voted winemaker of the year in 2015. He currently makes the wines in shared premises near Beja, but shortly the winery will have its own facilities.
Four wines were selected to accompany the very fine, beautifully executed dinner. The rosé 2017 was served with a delicious smoked salmon, Asian sauce and yuzu pearls, the Sauvignon Blanc 2018 with a delicate robalo fillet confit with sweet potatoes and a mini salad, a single varietal Syrah 2017 with wonderful lamb with its own jus sitting on a nest of exquisite “bird’s nest” of potatoes and, finally, their very special Pinot Noir was served with the chocolate dessert.
Vicentino was founded near Zambujeira do Mar by Norwegian grower Ole Martin Siem, who originally grew greenery for florists – “all the things you never specify in a bouquet” – and such is the quality of the land that a Burgundian grower has taken a hectare of land from them in order to experiment growing Chardonnay.
The wines are grown in sea-facing land and the saltiness of the area comes through in all the wines.
The majority of the members stayed the night in the hotel, enjoying the newly-renovated bedrooms and the divine, polished concrete surrounded indoor pool.
The verdict was unanimous: “It was well worth the journey to enjoy the hotel, the surroundings and the delicious wines.”
By GAYNOR STAPLETON