In Portugal, the grape varieties are so numerous that we just know that there are over 300 types! Also on the terraces built on the hills, each row is mixed. What makes the mix or « blend » is made directly to the collection of the grapes before the wine making. Probably why you don’t get to read 10% Merlot on a label from Portugal. Between the bottom and the top of the hill, climate changes a lot and you will get differences from the downhill to the highest points. Each producer may sell only 1/3 of production and keep the rest to stock vintages for future blends.
Rui Falcao Wine Expert came from Lisbon to introduce the Portos during a Master Class in Montreal. Here is what you would have learned :
Vintages Portos have an aging potential of more than 100 years for LVB « Unfiltred » Portos. A bit like « Vin Jaune » from Jura in France, it is a strong wine in alcohol with centuries of aging capabilities. The strong seasonal variation during winemaking is another common point. This means that in Portugal « We keep the bottles for our children and not for when we retire! The Easy Way to find out if the bottle is made to age: the cork stopper is like with wine, with no plastic parts.Portugal is with Amorim group the largest Natural Cork producer in the world, so they also have a great expertise in corks and enclosure.
The « Classical Vintage » are by Gentlemen Agreement limited to 3 per decade. 2000, 2003, 2007 and 2011 are exceptionals. If you read « 10 Years » it’s actually a blend of different years, it is not a vintage or duration of the aging! Finally, an LVB is drunk within 24 hours, when a Tawny can be kept open several days … It’s Sommelier Best Friend in restaurants!
I wish best of luck to Ronaldo and his team!
|Franck Boulbès CEO-Président
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