Tag Archives: Alvaro van Zeller

Visit to Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto

In June this year we visited Porto and Douro, starting with a few days in Vila Nova de Gaia and Porto and concluding with visits to some of the quintas in Douro. In Vila Nova de Gaia we had several fantastic and very well organized tours and tastings, but also a few drop by tastings at some lodges we had not booked in advance.

Symington is one of the leading Port companies and has several lodges in Gaia. We visited Graham’s and Cockburn’s. At Graham’s, that is one of the bigger lodges in Gaia, the tours are very professional and interesting and the tasting was very good.

Tasting at Cockburn’s

Coopers at work in Cockburn’s lodge

Cockburn’s new lodge offers also a very good tour and tasting and includes a very interesting view into how the coopers make or renovate the pipes, barrels and vats.

Alvaro van Zeller in the Barao de Vilar lodge

Barao de Vilar Colheitas

 

 

 

At Barao de Vilar wine maker Alvaro van Zeller showed us their stock and bottling operation in Gaia. Barao de Vilar is much smaller as a company than the major port groups, but they are also one of the most creative. In order to make an impact they are making very clever packages and bottles, such as their 100 years tawny, consisting of four small bottles of 10+20+30+40 = 100 year tawny. Alvaro and his team also have a number of very old colheitas, of which we had the great honor to taste 1990, 1977, 1963 (Barao de Vilar vs Palmer), 1962, 1950, 1934 in addition to their vintage and white colheita. It was an absolutely amazing tasting which we will remember for a long time.

2016 Vintage Ports tasted at the Calem lodge

Sogevinus owns Cálem, Kopke, Burmester, Barros and some other brands. We visited the newly renovated and upgraded Cálem lodge that combines hi-tech presentation in combination with a traditional tour to provide a good experience. For example, they have a 5D-cinema experience. We had a very interesting tasting of their latest 2016 vintages as well as some fabulous older colheitas. We really appreciated to be able to taste their fine ports in the company of Sogevinus PR & communication manager Jose João Santos, Business manager Stefano Marello and winemaker Carlos Alves.

Beautiful colours of Dalva and Cruz port wines.

Cruz and Dalva are situated in the main square in Gaia, at Espaço Porto Cruz. Gran Cruz bought the company C. da Silva and their brand Dalva in 2007 and they are now both presented at Espaço Porto Cruz. At Grand Cruz you can have a meal in their restaurant or try a selection of their ports. We got a very good expose of Cruz and Dalva port including their fantastic white ports, Dalva Golden White, and Presidential Vintage 2011. Presidential is an alternative brand for Dalva used in some markets.

In addition, we stopped at some other lodges and had some ports in the bar at:

  • Ramos Pintos,
  • Quinta dos Corvos
  • Augusto´s
  • Portologia, port wine bar in Porto

 

Portvinsmessen – The annual portwine event in Roskilde

On March 4 we were participating in the annual event in Roskilde, Denmark, called ‘Portvinsmessen’ (The port wine fair). As usual many Danish importers were represented and several of them were backed up by representatives from the port producers.

Both tasting periods of the event were sold out and it is apparent that Denmark continues being a big market for quality port. Focus was on quality ports like Tawny with age, Colheitas and Vintage Ports. As usual our focus was on the Vintage Ports and we provide tasting notes for all of them here on the site.

We were especially impressed by some of the more mature Vintage Ports available, like the range of Warre’s Vintages with 1980, 1985 and 2000 also accompanied by their single quinta Cavadinha from 1998 and 2001. All provided by Kjaer Sommerfeldt.

We also of course liked the Taylor Vintages from 1997, 2003, 2007 and 2009. All very impressive, and best of them was the 2007. These are available from Portvinsyd.

Last but not least, the brothers from Vintageportvin.dk, showed there wide range of mature quality Vintage Ports. This year they had extended there offering with a range of Romaneira Vintages and also with Sandeman. From Sandeman we could try some of the Vau Vintages, from the very first, 1988 (the only one called Quinta da Vau) to 1997 and 1999. Best of the Sandeman Vintages was the astonishing Vintage 1970 which is a fantastic port wine showing what this producer is capable of when it makes it best. For us, this was the best Vintage Port of the day.

We also tasted a fantastic old Colheita-blend  simply called Porto 201, a blend of 1843, 1870 and 1888 (43+70+88=201) from Maynard, very kindly offered to us by Alvaro van Zeller.