Tasting Notes: Modern Portugese Wines, led by Rob Caswell, Solent Cellar, Lymington, 30 September 2020

Many thanks to Rob for leading this, and for selecting such a varied group of wines.

Quinta do Ermizio ‘Chin Chin’ Vinho Verde 2019

The Quinta do Ermizio ‘Chin Chin’ is a dry fresh fun interpretation of the classic Vinho Verde Blend. Bright notes of pear & nectarine are balanced by its coastal salinity & slight spritz. On the night, The Chin-Chin was a good bit of fun  which most of us enjoyed if not taking it too seriously! (Solent Cellar £10.58)

Symington Altano Branco 2019, Douro

A blend of Malvasia Fina, Viosinho, Rabigato, Códega de Larinho and Moscatel Galego – gosh, all these indigenous Portuguese grapes!Top of Form AAA delightful fresh and vibrant Portugese white made from grapes sourced from high altitude vineyards surrounding the Douro river. On the palate it offers plenty of sweet mandarin orange and nectarine fruit, combined with a lovely stripe of lemon zest acidity to give balance and length. Excellent value for such a well-made wine (Solent Cellar £9.61) and very well liked on the night.

Herdade de Sao Miguel Colheita Seleccionada 2018, Alentejano

This vintage a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Touriga Nacional, Syrah & Cabernet Sauvignon that changes slightly each year, the last few vintages of this wine have been on fire. Beautifully defined dark fruit (there always seems to be a generous lick of cassis in this wine, even when the Cabernet component is actually quite modest), just a frame of toasty oak (although that roasted Alentejo character amalgamates with that too), and just enough Alicante crunch to keep it all fresh and energetic. On the  night,  this young Sao Miguel was felt to be quite fruit-forward and easy but not trivial drinking with enough structure to carry it. Good value (Solent Cellar £13.46)

Susana Esteban Aventura Tinto Alentejano 2016

Susana was named Revista de Vinhos winemaker of the year in 2011. She originally hails from Galicia in Spain, but made her reputation as a winemaker in the Duoro and how is based in Alentejo. She makes small quantities of handcrafted wines from old vineyards. This wine is a blend of Aragones and Touriga Nacional. Named after Susana Esteban’s celebration of the spirit of adventure in becoming a wine producer. This red is fresh, fruit and elegant with a lovely floral life. Soft and velvety, and it has great ageing potential. On the night, the Aventura, was something of a puzzle, going in and out of favour as it opened in the glass or overnight in some cases, I wondered if there as a touch of “cork” on my bottle but certainly a wine to make you think, as I suspect the winemaker wanted! (Solent Cellar £16.35)