Tag: port

Portuguese cuisine for beginners

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Portuguese cuisine can be considered part of Mediterranean cuisine. Its 3 axes are bread, wine, and oil. But it also has a significant influence from the Portuguese ex-colonies of Asia, Africa and Latin America (Brazilian cuisine), mostly in the use of spices such as piri piri, paprika and cinnamon.

What is the basis of Portuguese cuisine? We will briefly explain below.

1. Bread:

The bread (called PAN or PAO) is one of the basic elements of Portuguese cuisine. It is not always made with wheat flour but is frequent made of corn (especially in northern Portugal). The bread is part of very traditional dishes such as açordas and breadcrumb lentils. Among the best known you find the round loaves and medium-sized Broa de Avintes called Fogaça and “caralhotas” Almeirim. The “pão-com-chouriço” are consumed at fairs and festivals. While in northern Portugal, the “balls” are popular (bolas) they are similar to rolls but are stuffed with minced meat inside them. In this case, it is a good choice to combine with a good port wine.

2. Fish and seafood:

There are a variety of Portuguese dishes based on fish and shellfish. They eat a lot of freshwater fish. With the exception of the cod, which is very present in the Portuguese cuisine. For a better the conservation of this fish, it is usually dried with salt, since it is often consumed in areas distant from the sea.

3. Soups:

During Fall and Winter, soups are an extremely popular part of the Portuguese cuisine. Among them, we find the chestnut soup that also can be eaten sweet, green broth consisting of sausage, cabbage, and potatoes that can be paired with a good red wine and “fejoada”. To achieve a good pairing, we recommend warm wines, preferably a rustic variety of Carignan.

4. Wines:

In addition to Porto and Madeira, there are also green wines from the north,  white wines and young Porto (generally made in the city of Vila Nova de Gaia), Madeira wine Carcavelos, or muscatel of Setubal, and also the red wine Borba or Dão, among others. However, wines from Portugal deserve a separate chapter… Stay tunned!

 TAGS:Ferreira Dona Antonia ReservaFerreira Dona Antonia Reserva

Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva: a fortified wine from Port made of tinta barroca, touriga franca, tinto cão, tinta amarela, tempranillo, tinta çao, port, tinta roriz, touriga nacional and touriga francesa and presents an alcohol content of 20.00%.

 

 

 TAGS:Blandy's Duke Of Clarence RichBlandy’s Duke Of Clarence Rich

Blandy’s Duke Of Clarence Rich: a fortified wine from the region of Madeira and shows an alcoholic content of 19%. 

 

 

Portugal as a land of wine: Azores and Madeira

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Madeira wine, or just Madeira, is also known as Generoso Madeirense or Vinho de Torna-Viagem and is produced on the island for over 500 years.

Departing ships loaded with wine, considered second-class, made possible to discover the power and impact of fermentation. The wine was stored in the cellars of the ships for over a year and the accumulated heat in the tropical region cruises transformed it into excellent nectar.

When fermentation happened on solid ground, two types of technique that originated 2 kinds of wine were developed: the “canteiro” wine, fermented in barrels stored in the top storage during the early years, which lower floor as they aged (you can drink them from the 4th year); the “estufado” wine heated in vats at 55° C for 3 months, which can be consumed from the 3rd year. In the Azores of the XIX century, the “estufado” wine was a strong-tasting drink and colour similar to Sherry.

Madeira is a fortified wine, rich, with an alcohol content between 17 and 22º, which remains in oak barrels through a slow and concentrate oxidation process. This type of wine is divided into: Blend, wines of varying age, with an average of 10 years and from the same strain; Colheita (vintage), wines from the same vintage and a single strain. They can be consumed from the 4th year; Vintage, which ages at least for 20 years and then must pass a test that determines the authorization to be bottled or not. These are wines of great age, great acidity and freshness. There are some Vintage 1975 in perfect condition.

However, the fame of the islander wines do not spread to all the islands in the same way.

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Wines from Azores“Pasado” wine (Malvasia strain) and “Seco” wine – produced on the island of Pico, had a vinification process similar to that of Madeira, where the fermentation was interrupted by adding brandy, as with the Port wine, but the wines from Azores were considered lower quality than Madeira wines.

Probably because of the lack of data existing on the issue, for a long time it was believed that the wine elaboration was limited to the islands of Pico and Graciosa, but they were actually all devoted to the growth of vineyards. Although they were rocky islands with very difficult climatic conditions, as a result of volcanic eruptions, the Azores have performed an intensive effort of vineyard planting.

In the first half of the nineteenth century the islands suffered an aggressive outbreak of powdery mildew, which forced the replacement of strains such as Verdelho (white Verdejo), and instead some American vines were planted, especially the strain “Isabela” (banned today in Europe for its high content of methanol).

The elaboration of spirits suffered a considerable increase, and flavours multiplied, from molasses brandy of the island of S. Jorge, to the dark spirits of Terceira, and the red fig, loquat and peach liquor, from Pico Island.

White wine recovery was gradually achieved and one of the examples of the history of wine in Azores is the Cooperative Winery of Graciosa Island.

In Madeira, the Madeira rum, white and aged, has won a role that can even be visited – the “Engenho do Porto da Cruz” is a museum centre, near the “Casa del Ron”, where you can drink some exceptional reserves.

Among the strains traditionally used in the islands we can find:

  • Malvasia – One of the first strains that reached the islands of Azores and Madeira during the first half of the fifteenth century. This strain produces a sweet wine, with aroma and flavour of nuts and notes of honey. A perfect pairing with cheeses and chocolate.
  • Verdelho – It produces a semi-dry wine, taste of ripe pineapple and tropical aroma. Good pairing with cheeses and soft broths. This strain is used in the two archipelagos.
  • Cercial – With this strain is made a dry wine, with citrus and caramel aromas. It is ideal as an aperitif or combined with nuts or olives. This strain is used in the two archipelagos.
  • Boal / Bual – The result is a semi-sweet wine, with honey aroma and taste of caramel. It is ideal in the pairing with fruits, cheeses and desserts. High quality strain in the Azores and used in the two archipelagos.
  • Tinta Negra – Some say that this strain is the result of crossing Pinot Noir with Grenache. In Spain it is known as Negramoll and is cultivated mostly in the Canary Islands. Pairing with vegetables, rice and white meat.

 TAGS:Madere CruzMadere Cruz

Madere Cruz: a fortified wine with DO Madeira which blend contains negramoll.

 

 

 TAGS:Blandy's Madeira Malmsey 10 Years OldBlandy’s Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old

Blandy’s Madeira Malmsey 10 Years Old: a fortified wine of the best of malmsey grapes and presents an alcohol content of 19º.

 

 

Portugal as a land of wine: Porto and Douro

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Ancient, rich in microclimates and variety of strains. This is the demarcated Douro region which sits on shale soils in an area of great beauty that is distributed by secular terraces next to the banks of the Douro river in Portugal.

In addition of being World Heritage and birthplace of Port wine, the region is producing excellent white and red table wines, sparkling wines and muscat. The complexity of the aromas of Port wine named “Vinho de cheiro” (wine of odour) in another era, continues to seduce the senses throughout the centuries. The proof is that it has already a day to celebrate its age: on September 10, the Port Wine Day celebrated 259 years of the first demarcated region of the world.

Among the strains permitted in Douro wines winemaking, the most used are Touriga Nacional (the “Portuguese Cabernet”), Tinta Barroca, Tinto Cão and Tinta Roriz (the Spanish “Tempranillo”). The vast majority of wines are made from various strains but the monovarietal also have a presence, often in wines based on Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca.

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The winepress, with manual or mechanical treading, is part of the traditional method of wine production in the Douro region. However, some producers provided more recent methods, such as stainless steel tanks with temperature control during fermentation. The advantage of the first method is its ability to extract the tannins, while the second allows the production of wines with well preserved aromas. Using both methods simultaneously results in complex wines, quite dense and structured. There is also a new generation of oenologist committed on proving that Douro not only lives from Port wine. In this region, table wines are made with new methods and by specialists in winemaking.

In 2014, the prestigious magazine Wine Spectator has tasted 18,000 wines from around the world to classify them according to their quality, price and availability in the market. Their Top 10 selection includes three wines from the Douro region.
The Port wine Vintage Dow’s 2011 by Symington Group was chosen as the best wine of 2014, 99 points out of 100. In third and fourth place, both with 97 points, were the Chryseia 2011 (also Symington) and Quinta do Vale Meão, by Olazabal & Filhos, descendants of Antónia Ferreira, the famous “Ferreirinha”.

The Real Companhia Velha is more than 250 years old and owns an archive of historical documentation (across the Douro river, in Vila Nova de Gaia, where the great cellars are) linking the Douro wines to personalities such as the Marques de Pombal, Napoleon and Catherine of Russia.

This company sells and produces Port wine on its 535 hectares of vineyards, distributed over 7 properties producing table wines, such as the Quinta das Carvalhas, one of the oldest in the region, and the Quinta de Cidró, in S. João da Pesqueira.

From this last property comes our first buying suggestion at Uvinum:

 TAGS:Ferreira Dona Antonia ReservaFerreira Dona Antonia Reserva

Ferreira Dona Antonia Reserva is a fortified wine with this DO: Port of the best of port and tinta roriz grapes and with an alcoholic strength of 20.00º. 

 

 

 TAGS:Graham's 10 anosGraham’s 10 anos

Graham’s 10 anos: is a Port blended vinified with tinta çao and port and 20º of volume of alcohol.

 

 

* This article was originally published by Rita Bonet at O Blog da Uvinum.