The most hotly-anticipated wine tasting event of the year

Tasting time

A taste of what’s new from the Decante Vinhos 2019 catalogue launch event at Vila Vita Parc

The annual event to mark the launch of Decante Vinhos’ new catalogue took place on Sunday and Monday this week, as always in the grand ballroom at Vila Vita Parc in Porches. This is, without a doubt, the most hotly-anticipated wine tasting event of the year for catering professionals and those otherwise connected to the world of wine in the Algarve.

This year I was short of time and did not taste anything like the 140-odd wines I tasted there last year over the two days. All I could manage was a quick visit on Sunday afternoon, starting with a quick walk around the room to see what was new from the Portuguese producers, giving the international wines a miss this time.

My first stop was to have a quick chat with Spanish winemaker Susana Esteban whose winery is located this side of the border, in the São Mamede hills of the Upper Alentejo. Susana has just launched her first claypot wine; Procura na Anfôra is a field blend white from 85-year-old vines at some 700-metres altitude, fermented and aged in clay amphora.

The wine has a complex nose of white fruits and citric notes, good body and great acidity.

Also made in a clay pot is a new red from Filipa Pato who, like her father Luís Pato, champions the Bairrada region’s Baga grape.

Her 2017 Post-Quer..s Baga red is testament to the unique qualities of claypot ageing; in this case, the wine is aged in small unlined pots allowing for considerable micro-oxygenation. This is a Baga of considerable concentration that would normally need at least a few years of bottle-ageing before becoming approachable, but the tannins are rounded and supple whilst the wine displays great freshness – absolutely delicious. Filipa is pictured here with this wine and another recent launch, Território Vivo, more of a traditional-style Baga, also outstanding, fermented and aged in a huge used oak “tonel” barrel.

Every year at this event, Soalheiro, one of the biggest names in Alvarinho from the Vinho Verde region in the far north of Portugal, have at least one new launch up their sleeves, and this year was no different. I sampled their new bone-dry Brut Nature sparkling wine and another interesting sparkler made from oak-aged Alvarinho, both very good.

And I also tried a couple of their herb infusions, from a new line of nine different dried herbs grown on the estate, including the bright red “Strawberry Fields Globe Amaranth”, apparently a natural anti-inflammatory. 

Once again, Vila Vita Parc and Decante Vinhos are to be congratulated for the faultless execution of an excellent event that brings together the Algarve’s catering industry like no other.

By Patrick Stuart
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Winemaker Filipa Pato with her two new Baga wines
Soalheiro never fails to impress
Herb infusions from the Soalheiro estate
Clay-pot wine Procura na Anfôra by Susana Esteban
The most hotly-anticipated wine tasting event of the year