Storms and thunder prevented the Algarve Wine Society from holding its first event since January 2020 on Tuesday, September 14.
Thanks to the ever flexible and cooperative Luís Pequeno from Restaurante O Barradas near Silves, it was possible to postpone until the end of the week in anticipation of better weather.
Members met for a splendid lunch in gorgeous sunshine three days later. Committee member Nick Sykes and his wife Alison took over the reins from Steve Rigby, Vice President, and newcomer winemakers Arvad, from nearby Estômbar, joined forces with Luís to provide quite excellent wines.
Arvad (meaning ‘refuge’ in days gone by and possibly the origin of the name given to the Arade River) was founded from scratch by a Lisbon businessman in 2016 in a beautiful location on the banks of the so-named river.
Well-known winemaker Bernardo Cabral was engaged as consultant. Representative of the winery, Mariana Canelas, explained that, with the exception of the Negra Mole, all grapes are grown on their own land and, interestingly, all the labelling and waxing of the corks for the Negra Mole production is done by hand.
The young winery has already had serious accolades for their wines, including a gold medal from the Forum of Oenologists for their fresh, delicate 2019 Rosé, which guests received as a welcome drink. They will shortly be inaugurating a tasting room at the winery, which will be open to the public by appointment.
A lovely lunch was served.
Fresh fish from Sagres provided the first two courses accompanied by wines from Arvad. First an interesting white, a blend of Arinto-Sauvignon Blanc, with fillets of mackerel and a light, fresh Negra Mole red with John Dory in an interesting lime curry sauce.
Four red wines followed to complement a Mirandesa veal cheek and cheese.
Arvad’s Touriga Nacional, Arvad’s Reserva and two home-produced by Quinta do Barradas winery, the Barradas Seleção and the award-winning Barradas Reserva. All were superb.
It was a great occasion for old friends to meet in the tree-shaded courtyard of the restaurant. Everything including the weather was perfection.
These Silves/Estômbar producers are for sure making a serious impression into the world of Algarve wine production.
The Algarve Wine Society’s next event is a tasting dinner at Benamor Golf Club near Tavira on October 20 when members and guests will taste wines from Casa Santos Lima who have recently started wine production in an area close to Tavira. This adds to their extensive listings of wines from Lisbon, the Alentejo and the Douro.
By GAYNOR STAPLETON