April 11, 2010

Portuguese Big Tasting Wines: With Beef Stew and with Pork Ribs

By In Food and Wine, Wine Notes

vida nova Syrah aragonez 2007

It’s an ambitious series of linked events; live public tasting at Lord’s Cricket Ground, others at Waitrose Canary Wharf and the food hall at John Lewis in Oxford Street plus the involvement of the twitter community… welcome to Portugal’s Big Tasting.

My good friends Niamh and Denise launched another Guerrilla tasting onto London’s streets – which Niamh reports “it went really well! We had 3 wines at the Green Onions Supper Club in Hackney. People loved them esp the Douro red” – and in deepest Thames-side Oxfordshire I made a stew, grilled some pork ribs and am about to throw some giant prawns on the barbie. Well, it would be a barbecue if I actually had a garden. And a barbecue. A griddle pan will have to suffice.

Failing to source all the wines involved in the tasting a make do and mend session, with two of the reds and the white, and matching them to the foods mentioned made for a fun weekend.
The Portuguese-created social wine discovery site Adegga has a full list of the Big Tasting events wines and you can track the activity on twitter via the #tbt2010 tag.

Of the wines the Vida Nova 2007 from the Algarve (that’s a Cliff Richard wine), a blend of Syrah, Aragonez and Alicante Bouschet, and the Tinto da Ânfora 2007 (Aragonez, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Alfrocheiro, Cabernet Sauvignon) were cracked open and sampled against a hearty beef stew and a pile of pork ribs that were marinated overnight in a chilli sauce. The one white in the six bottle line-up, a Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde, will be subject to a separate post, is about to be savoured with prawns, simply griddled and served with a little Lingham’s Ginger, Garlic and Chilli Sauce mixed with a dollop of mayonnaise.

Price-wise there is little difference between the Vida Nova at £7.99 and the Tinto da Ânfora at £6.99 but the former was the deeper, richer, more classy, intense and more complex wine of the two. The Ânfora, obviously a different grape mix grown in a different region, is a touch more rustic and more hearty. The Vida Nova has a delicious top note of red berries while the Ânfora offers a fruity upfront sweetness before stroking the teeth with soft tannins and ending on a rustic lick of red fruits. Its combination of fruit, sun drenched earth and wafts of herbs and undergrowth is a winner.

Being hungry while the stew and rice bubbled atop the stove a chunk of Parmesan, being the only cheese in the fridge, was sampled with each. Not a great match with the Ânfora. The cheese stamped aggressively across the red berry flavours. The harder hitting Vida Nova had fewer issues. A rather nice combination.

And with the beef stew? Both were fine, its not a dish that many red wines would disagree with, but on balance I preferred the sweetness inherent in the Ânfora, the flavours melding beautifully with the richness of the sauce. The pork ribs – quite spicy from all that chilli sauce – did not disagree with either wine. A preference? The Anfora.
tinto da anfora 2007

Tinto da Ânfora, 2007, Alentejo, Portugal [Adegga / Snooth]
Waitrose £6.99
Trampling along crumbly red hillside path, crushing wild herbs here, sweating in the dappled sun.
Vida Nova Syrah Aragonez, 2007, Algarve, Portugal [Adegga / Snooth]
Waitrose £7.99
Mixed berry throwing contest, who can hit the red tiles at the top of the farm wall? Using those sour cherries is cheating.

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Top :: Comments

  1. The London Foodie April 14, 2010

    Despite being born in Brazil and visiting Portugal regularly, I am always at loss at what Portuguese wines to try. I have been drinking a lot of white Porto wine recently, it works a treat as a chilled aperitif in my opinion. I think this campaign is great and I will certainly be reading more about this here. Portuguese food is great too and I am so pleased to see it featured. Have you tried “Bacalhau” (salted-cod)? It is one of my favourite foods.

  2. TheWinesleuth April 16, 2010

    Which Vida Nova did you try? I thought it was rubbish! Although it did remind me of South African pinotage (pongy, burnt, etc) so that might have something to do with it 😉
    Otherwise, I am a BIG fan of Portuguese wines both red and white, sweet and dry.The Waitrose Douro red 2007 was my favourite of the 6 wines chosen for the event. Big and chocolatey, deep, ripe fruit – hang on, I better get over to my blog and write that down! Cheers!

  3. Andrew April 16, 2010

    London Foodie: I tend not to eat that much fish, simply for ethical reasons. With you on the white port though.
    Winesleuth: well it depends on how you interpret my tasting note but if I could highlight ‘farm’, ‘sour’, ‘throwing’. But then we often disagree… which is why I like you so much 🙂


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