Bristol now has its very own wine, but don’t worry if you’ve never seen it on the shelves. At present, there’s just one small problem: the label is missing some key information, so it isn’t legal to sell it in the UK yet. But I have tasted it!
That was at a wine tasting evening arranged by the Bristol-Porto Twinning Association – a group that fosters links and arranges exchange visits between Bristol and friends in the Portuguese city with whom we have had trading links for many centuries.
The event was hosted by Alan, the owner of Clifton Cellars, one of Bristol’s best independent wine merchants. He brought along a selection of wines which truly showed how far Portugal has advanced since the days when it was only known for Mateus Rosé.
The tasting included 2 very different whites: Quinta de Gomariz’s vibrant, citrussy Alvarinho (aka Alboriño) from the Vinho Verde region (£13.99) and Lagar de Darei, a richer and subtly oaked bottle from the Daô made from the local Encruzado variety (£11.98)
Of the reds, Patraô Diogo’s Aragonez- (Tempranillo) based red (£12.85) is a fascinating and rare representative of the tiny Colares region on the coast west of Lisbon. Its sandy soils have resisted the phylloxera bug and so vines there can be planted on their own rootstocks. The Vinha da Mouro (£13.50) from the Alentejo showed a lovely southern warmth and richness and brought the evening to a happy close.
But, what about the bottle pictured above? The ‘Port O’Bristol’ is from a traditionally planted vineyard at the far eastern end of the Douro Valley. Produced by Ramos Pinto’s winemaker, this was brought over in barrel from Portugal in a sailing boat and bottled in Bristol. There’s a tiny production and this is the first vintage of a wine that is certainly a ‘work in progress’ at present but one that is worth keeping a close eye on.
If you are interested in joining the Bristol-Porto Twinning Association, please leave me your details below and I will happily pass them on to the Membership Secretary.