DOC-bagging

Anything but Port, this includes all non-Port fortified wines even if they call themselves Port. There is a search facility for this part of the forum.
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Anything but Port, this includes all non-Port fortified wines even if they call themselves Port. There is a search facility for this part of the forum.
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JacobH
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DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 18:37 Mon 14 Jun 2021

One of my aims for this year was to get more familiar with other wine regions of Portugal than the Douro. I am currently experiencing an opportunity to drink more Portuguese wines than I might normally have. 88) As a result, I thought I might see how many different DOCs & other regions I could “bag”.

The first exercise is to get a decent understanding of the scale of the problem.

My understanding is that there are currently 28 DOCs; 3 IPRs (the category below a DOC); and 14 Vinho Regionals (the lowest of the regulated categories which cover the whole country).

I think, as a start, I can knock a few of these off:
  • The chances of ever seeing a bottle of Madeirense DOC (the non-fortified wine from Madeira) or Madeiran VR outside the island seems about nil.
  • The three IPRs (Pico, Biscoitos and Graciosa) are all from the Azores and, again, getting a bottle of them strikes me as unlikely, as well as the VR from the islands. That said, I would like to try the Pico and Biscoitos DOCs since these seem to be oxidised fortified wines made from similar grapes to Madeira, if I ever come across one.
  • Lourinhã (one of many DOCs near Lisbon) is apparently only used for producing brandy.
I also get a sense that some DOCs are produced in quite massive quantities whilst some of the DOCs around Lisbon are scarcely made.

Whilst I have drunk wines from many of these regions in the past, I am starting from a clean sheet for this exercise.

Has anyone else made it through the full house?
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 18:54 Mon 14 Jun 2021

I start with the top and bottom of the country. A big-brand Vinho Verde DOC (probably Casal Garcia but I can’t quite remember) is as I always remember it to be: quite refreshing if somewhat bland. A Syrah from Quinta do Barranco Longo was a reasonably pricey bottle for an Algarve VR and really very disappointing. I don’t think I’ve drunk any Algarve wines before but this seemed to hit all of the problems with them: far too little substance and acidity for its strong alcohol. Perhaps the DOCs will be more interesting?

Things then get better. The 2019 Herdade do Esporão, Monte Velho Tinto is a cheap wine from the Alentejo DOC. I was defeated by the label until I unpicked that Aragonez is Tinta Roriz / Tempranillo and Trincadeira is Tinta Amarela. Trying to get on top of things like this is exactly why I thought I would engage in some bagging. The other grapes are Touriga Nacional and Syrah. Fresh and nicely balanced, I would happily have a big stash of this in my cellar for easy drinking. Recommended.

Finally, I reminded myself that when you have no idea how long a bottle has been open a Madeira DOC is always a safe-choice since it is unlikely to have been harmed. No idea what it was, but would guess a young sweet Negra Mole blend which was perfectly acceptable with some pineapple.
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 20:26 Mon 14 Jun 2021

I have, but I'm from Portugal, so it's sort of cheating.

If you need any info or help, don't be afraid to ask.

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 22:02 Mon 14 Jun 2021

MigSU wrote:
20:26 Mon 14 Jun 2021
I have, but I'm from Portugal, so it's sort of cheating.
I’m not sure I’d count that as cheating! I’d be surprised if many people have got the whole lot, especially some of the real oddities like Madeirense DOC or Carcavelos! How are you doing on sub-regions? Aren’t there about 10 for Vinho Verde, alone? ;-)
MigSU wrote:
20:26 Mon 14 Jun 2021
If you need any info or help, don't be afraid to ask.
Thank you!

I’m still picking off the easy regions at the moment. For Bairrada DOC, there is some Aliança Danúbio Bruto, a dry sparkling wine. It’s another cheap one but much more drinkable than the endless cheap prosecco that we now get in the UK, much of which is barely drinkable. Again, trying to up my knowledge, I notice one of the grapes that goes into the blend is Baga: a red grape that is lightly pressed for the sparkling wines (à la pinot noir or pinot meunier in champagne). I’ve drunk sparkling Bairradas before but I don’t think I’ve tried a Baga red. I think Dirk Niepoort is quite keen on them and has been making them in recent years. I should look out for one.

I also tried a little bit of a dry white from the far North, Soalheiro ALLO, which I think counts as a Minho VR rather than a vinho verde & my first Port of this exercise: Van Zellar 10 Year Old Tawny.
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 22:53 Mon 14 Jun 2021

JacobH wrote:
22:02 Mon 14 Jun 2021

I’m not sure I’d count that as cheating! I’d be surprised if many people have got the whole lot, especially some of the real oddities like Madeirense DOC or Carcavelos! How are you doing on sub-regions? Aren’t there about 10 for Vinho Verde, alone? ;-)
I've only had Madeirense DOC once, when I was in Madeira. It was a very forgettable wine (I couldn't even tell you which wine it was, to be completely honest), I just got it out of curiosity.
Carcavelos is another one that I've had only once. It was very very rare for a while, but it's been making a bit of a comeback, lately.
I also drank Algarve VR only once, a few years ago, at a cousin's wedding. It surprised me in how quite pleasantly drinkable it was - Barranco Longo Private Selection Red, a blend of Aragonez (Tinta Roriz) and Alicante Bouschet. I don't much care for Syrah, so I'm not surprised you didn't enjoy your bottle of Barranco Longo :lol: 88)

I didn't get into the rabbit hole of playing the 'sub-region game'. I've had many by 'accident', but, as you say, VV alone has 9 of them, so it's something one only does if one really really wants to, for the sake of completeness.

JacobH wrote:
22:02 Mon 14 Jun 2021
Thank you!

I’m still picking off the easy regions at the moment. For Bairrada DOC, there is some Aliança Danúbio Bruto, a dry sparkling wine. It’s another cheap one but much more drinkable than the endless cheap prosecco that we now get in the UK, much of which is barely drinkable. Again, trying to up my knowledge, I notice one of the grapes that goes into the blend is Baga: a red grape that is lightly pressed for the sparkling wines (à la pinot noir or pinot meunier in champagne). I’ve drunk sparkling Bairradas before but I don’t think I’ve tried a Baga red. I think Dirk Niepoort is quite keen on them and has been making them in recent years. I should look out for one.
Baga is the grape variety of Bairrada (at least in reds). Widely used, widely respected, and widely loved - but very tricky to tame in the vineyard.
Bairrada sparklings are quite good, I like them a lot, and one can get great ones for very modest prices. I agree with you that, pound for pound (or euro for euro), it can beat proseccos in many price points.

JacobH wrote:
22:02 Mon 14 Jun 2021
I also tried a little bit of a dry white from the far North, Soalheiro ALLO, which I think counts as a Minho VR rather than a vinho verde & my first Port of this exercise: Van Zellar 10 Year Old Tawny.
That is correct, it's a Minho VR. I've had it, it's a pleasant, crisp white, Alvarinho+Loureiro.

I would've assumed you would've already crossed Port off your list :lol:

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 22:14 Tue 15 Jun 2021

MigSU wrote:
22:53 Mon 14 Jun 2021
I also drank Algarve VR only once, a few years ago, at a cousin's wedding. It surprised me in how quite pleasantly drinkable it was - Barranco Longo Private Selection Red, a blend of Aragonez (Tinta Roriz) and Alicante Bouschet. I don't much care for Syrah, so I'm not surprised you didn't enjoy your bottle of Barranco Longo :lol: 88)
You can’t really go wrong with Aragonez / Tinta Roriz / Tempranillo, I don’t think. When I tried some single-varietal Ports many years ago, the only one that was really quite good was the Tinta Roriz!
MigSU wrote:
22:53 Mon 14 Jun 2021
Baga is the grape variety of Bairrada (at least in reds). Widely used, widely respected, and widely loved - but very tricky to tame in the vineyard.
That’s interesting. Thank you. Shows how much I have to learn...
MigSU wrote:
22:53 Mon 14 Jun 2021
I would've assumed you would've already crossed Port off your list :lol:
As I said I am starting from scratch for this exercise, and I don’t think the white Port in a cocktail counts! ;-)

I’m still picking off the lower fruits and so try some Dão DOC tonight. I ask for the Tinto by Pedra Cancela but am accidentally brought the Branco. Whites are very much not my thing but it seems rude not to drink it. It apparently primarily Encruzado, which I don’t know. However, it is really rather nice with toasted, even oaky, flavours that I don’t usually associate with Portuguese whites. But that is probably out of ignorance; I rarely drink them. Afterward, I try the Tinto. It’s what I think is a common blend for Dão: Touriga Nacional, Alfroucheiro, Tinta Roriz. It takes some time to open up but, when it does, it is excellent. Extremely floral it reminds me of a young, grapy VP which extremely high intensity; reasonably acidity and moderate tannins which are rounded and not agressive. Very enjoyable. Another one that I would happily have a stash of at home. I presume the Touriga Nacional is doing a lot of the heavily lifting here but I am also intrigued about the Alfroucheiro. Why is it grown in the Dão but not the Douro? And why don’t they use some Touriga Francesa to help the Touriga Nacional, as happens in Port?
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 22:31 Wed 16 Jun 2021

I am desperately trying to eradicate my prejudices against white wine. Accordingly, in order to bag a Alentejano VR, I have quite a session with the wines of Herdade da Malhadinha Nova. Four whites and a rose unfortunately confirms all of my prejudices against white wine generally. The most interesting is the rose but that is because it is a decent red in disguise. The best of the whites is probably Verdelho but my poor palate, destroyed by Port over-consumption, cries out for it to have been fortified and oxidised...
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 08:41 Thu 17 Jun 2021

:lol:

In this particular case you're forgiven, since, in my view, Alentejo whites are mostly a lost cause (I make an exception for the mountainous areas of northeast Alentejo).

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 08:53 Thu 17 Jun 2021

I somehow missed this post...
JacobH wrote:
22:14 Tue 15 Jun 2021

I’m still picking off the lower fruits and so try some Dão DOC tonight. I ask for the Tinto by Pedra Cancela but am accidentally brought the Branco. Whites are very much not my thing but it seems rude not to drink it. It apparently primarily Encruzado, which I don’t know. However, it is really rather nice with toasted, even oaky, flavours that I don’t usually associate with Portuguese whites. But that is probably out of ignorance; I rarely drink them.
Encruzado is the premier white grape of the Dão. It's pretty much only found there. I love it. I've yet to encounter a bad Encruzado varietal wine.



JacobH wrote:
22:14 Tue 15 Jun 2021
Afterward, I try the Tinto. It’s what I think is a common blend for Dão: Touriga Nacional, Alfroucheiro, Tinta Roriz. It takes some time to open up but, when it does, it is excellent. Extremely floral it reminds me of a young, grapy VP which extremely high intensity; reasonably acidity and moderate tannins which are rounded and not agressive. Very enjoyable. Another one that I would happily have a stash of at home. I presume the Touriga Nacional is doing a lot of the heavily lifting here but I am also intrigued about the Alfroucheiro. Why is it grown in the Dão but not the Douro? And why don’t they use some Touriga Francesa to help the Touriga Nacional, as happens in Port?
I like alfrocheiro. High acidity, deep colour, vibrant red berries.

Why is it grown in the Dão but not the Douro? Tradition, I suppose (it's a Dão native, that has now migrated south en masse, particularly to Alentejo). The same reason why they don't much use TF in the Dão.
Otherwise we'd all be using the same grapes. Honestly, I prefer the current situation, makes it more fun and interesting :D

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 08:54 Thu 17 Jun 2021

If you're ever in my neck of the woods feel free to contact me, I'll happily share the contents of my cellar.

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021

MigSU wrote:
08:54 Thu 17 Jun 2021
If you're ever in my neck of the woods feel free to contact me, I'll happily share the contents of my cellar.
Thank you very much! I’d love that! (And of course, when you visit Kent, we can have some English wines; followed by some Port!).
MigSU wrote:
08:53 Thu 17 Jun 2021
I like alfrocheiro. High acidity, deep colour, vibrant red berries.

Why is it grown in the Dão but not the Douro? Tradition, I suppose (it's a Dão native, that has now migrated south en masse, particularly to Alentejo). The same reason why they don't much use TF in the Dão.
Otherwise we'd all be using the same grapes. Honestly, I prefer the current situation, makes it more fun and interesting :D
Yes: absolutely. But it is interesting why some grapes migrate all over the country and others do not!

I have progressed a bit further in my bagging today. Very much to my surprise, I find a rosé wine called Vulcânico by the Azores Wine Company that is Açores VR. The blend is equal parts of Saborinho, Agronomica, Aragones and Touriga Nacional. For a rosé, it’s rather nice. The red grapes give it some fruit but it also has a salinity that I wouldn’t expect. I'd buy this again.

I follow it up with a 2016 Dona Ermelinda Reserva. The front of the bottle says this is a Palmela DOC, although the “selo” on the back of the label says it is a Setúbal VR. I might claim one of each. The blend seems to have a decent amount of Castelao, the local grape for Palemla, together with an eclectic mix of Portugal-wide & international grapes: Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been moderately oaked and is perfectly pleasant, though nothing special, unfortunately.

I also managed to pick up a bottle of Viúva Gomes Colares which was potentially one of the more challenging regions to bag, but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to try it!
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 23:44 Fri 18 Jun 2021

JacobH wrote:
22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021

I follow it up with a 2016 Dona Ermelinda Reserva. The front of the bottle says this is a Palmela DOC, although the “selo” on the back of the label says it is a Setúbal VR. I might claim one of each. The blend seems to have a decent amount of Castelao, the local grape for Palemla, together with an eclectic mix of Portugal-wide & international grapes: Touriga Nacional, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s been moderately oaked and is perfectly pleasant, though nothing special, unfortunately.

I also managed to pick up a bottle of Viúva Gomes Colares which was potentially one of the more challenging regions to bag, but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to try it!
It's a Palmela DOC. I checked out the back label and I think your confusion comes from the fact that it says "Comissão Vitivinícola Regional da Península de Setúbal", which is just the certifying body ('Regional Commission').

To be perfectly honest I don't really rate Península de Setúbal table wines (I really rate their Moscatel wines, but that's a different kettle of fish). I find them...I suppose "unremarkable" would be the appropriate word.


It sounds like 90% of your time in Portugal is being occupied by chasing down and drinking particular wines :lol:

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by nac » 17:46 Mon 21 Jun 2021

JacobH wrote:
22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021
...when you visit Kent...
Jacob - didn't realise you were in the GoE. Where?

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 10:17 Tue 22 Jun 2021

nac wrote:
17:46 Mon 21 Jun 2021
JacobH wrote:
22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021
...when you visit Kent...
Jacob - didn't realise you were in the GoE. Where?
Just outside Sevenoaks. I assume you are, too? Whereabouts are you?
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 10:31 Tue 22 Jun 2021

MigSU wrote:
23:44 Fri 18 Jun 2021
It's a Palmela DOC. I checked out the back label and I think your confusion comes from the fact that it says "Comissão Vitivinícola Regional da Península de Setúbal", which is just the certifying body ('Regional Commission').

To be perfectly honest I don't really rate Península de Setúbal table wines (I really rate their Moscatel wines, but that's a different kettle of fish). I find them...I suppose "unremarkable" would be the appropriate word.


It sounds like 90% of your time in Portugal is being occupied by chasing down and drinking particular wines :lol:
Ah. Thank you very much. That makes sense. Did you know that some people visit Portugal and only drink Sagres & Super Bock?!

I haven’t had much luck in getting hold of more of the less-common table-wine DOCs, but I did come across a half-bottle of Villa Oeiras basic Carcavelos DOC. This is the “standard” blend of Arinto, Gallego Dourado and Ratinho which claims to be aged for 10 years. The colour is a rather attractive golden hue. The nose was a bit disappointing at room temperature: I got rather a lot of non-drinkable ether. Chilling it right down solved that problem. Tasting it, it was extremely nice. Not overly complex but with some aftertaste; it reminding me of a sweet white Port which had had some time aging to take the freshness of it. Will be interesting in trying some of their older blends if I ever see them
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 10:43 Tue 22 Jun 2021

JacobH wrote:
10:31 Tue 22 Jun 2021
MigSU wrote:
23:44 Fri 18 Jun 2021
It's a Palmela DOC. I checked out the back label and I think your confusion comes from the fact that it says "Comissão Vitivinícola Regional da Península de Setúbal", which is just the certifying body ('Regional Commission').

To be perfectly honest I don't really rate Península de Setúbal table wines (I really rate their Moscatel wines, but that's a different kettle of fish). I find them...I suppose "unremarkable" would be the appropriate word.


It sounds like 90% of your time in Portugal is being occupied by chasing down and drinking particular wines :lol:
Ah. Thank you very much. That makes sense. Did you know that some people visit Portugal and only drink Sagres & Super Bock?!

I haven’t had much luck in getting hold of more of the less-common table-wine DOCs, but I did come across a half-bottle of Villa Oeiras basic Carcavelos DOC. This is the “standard” blend of Arinto, Gallego Dourado and Ratinho which claims to be aged for 10 years. The colour is a rather attractive golden hue. The nose was a bit disappointing at room temperature: I got rather a lot of non-drinkable ether. Chilling it right down solved that problem. Tasting it, it was extremely nice. Not overly complex but with some aftertaste; it reminding me of a sweet white Port which had had some time aging to take the freshness of it. Will be interesting in trying some of their older blends if I ever see them
Jacob, did you get my PM?

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by nac » 14:40 Tue 22 Jun 2021

JacobH wrote:
10:17 Tue 22 Jun 2021
nac wrote:
17:46 Mon 21 Jun 2021
JacobH wrote:
22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021
...when you visit Kent...
Jacob - didn't realise you were in the GoE. Where?
Just outside Sevenoaks. I assume you are, too? Whereabouts are you?
East Farleigh - just outside Maidstone.

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 11:29 Sat 26 Jun 2021

nac wrote:
14:40 Tue 22 Jun 2021
JacobH wrote:
10:17 Tue 22 Jun 2021
nac wrote:
17:46 Mon 21 Jun 2021
JacobH wrote:
22:27 Fri 18 Jun 2021
...when you visit Kent...
Jacob - didn't realise you were in the GoE. Where?
Just outside Sevenoaks. I assume you are, too? Whereabouts are you?
East Farleigh - just outside Maidstone.
Not very far away at all. We should try to have a Kent offline! (Whilst I can’t think I’ve seen a BYOB place in Kent, I don’t think I’ve ever looked for one).
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 11:50 Sat 26 Jun 2021

I have also been continuing with my DOC-bagging.

We opened the 2012 Viúva Gomes Colares DOC. This is an entirely new region to me. I really like it. It’s made, I think, from Ramisco which is the traditional Colares grape which is grown un-grafted in sandy soil near the coast. Apparently many of the vineyards are extremely old. Ramisco is often described as extremely tannic but I didn’t find that. It was quite a light and elegant wine, showing a decent amount of age with a herbal nose. I would definitely drink more of this and would also try some very old ones if I could find them.

I also try a no-name Moscatel de Setúbal to get the Setúbal DOC. Not very enjoyable: a rather too sweet and uncomplex wine that is nothing like the Moscatel do Douro I remember drinking years ago at Quinta do Portal. But probably not representative.

Moving up the cost, I have a glass of the 2013 Raposeira “Blanc de Noirs”, a sparkling wine from Távora Varosa DOC made from Touriga Francesa (!). It is not very good. Very little fruit and an oddly bitter aftertaste. I didn’t enjoy it and would much prefer another glass of the Aliança Danúbio sparkling from Bairrada.

For the final low-hanging fruit, I try Churchill’s 2007 Quinta do Gricha Douro DOC. There are two DOCs from this quinta: a “Gricha” and the “Quinta do Gricha”. The latter is the more serious wine. It is fabulous. Huge complexity; rounded tannins; beautiful aftertaste. It’s not a cheap wine (about £60 from Bar Douro’s wine shop) but one of the best Douro DOCs I have tried in recent years.

Thereafter, for Beira Interior DOC, I try the 2014 Vinha do Castelo by Quinta do Cardo. This is a pure Tinta Roriz. It blows me mind since I would never have guessed that that is what it was made from. The nose like no other Tinta Roriz / Tempranillo / Aragonez. It is incredible herbaceous, together with striking aromatic spices. Perhaps even some frankincense or oude. It very much reminds me of a much, much older wine. In the mouth, the herbs dominate again, with dill being the main one. It’s not a particularly expensive wine: I think it was about £17 a bottle in the UK, although it seems to be impossible to find. This is a real shame because I’d love to have some bottles of it. It’s not one of those wines you would drink every day but which would be great to have for when you are in the mood for something very specific.
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 12:16 Sat 26 Jun 2021

Ah, interesting. See, now you've tasted something I haven't: Churchill's Douro DOC. Never had any of them.

I like Beira Interior as a region, it has a lot of potential and some very good wines, with Quinta do Cardo being one of the good producers. I never had that 100% tinta Roriz, though, and now you've piqued my interest, I'll see if I can bag it.

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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 10:30 Mon 28 Jun 2021

For a Tejo VR, I try a 2017 Quinta da Alorna which is a blend of Tinta Roriz, Castelão, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. It’s perfectly drinkable but rather unexciting. Perhaps I should have tried something a little more premium, instead.
MigSU wrote:
12:16 Sat 26 Jun 2021
Ah, interesting. See, now you've tasted something I haven't: Churchill's Douro DOC. Never had any of them.
I used to have a glass of their Churchill’s Estate Tinto and sometimes the Reserve / Grand Reserve at Bar Douro which were both quite good, too, although I think they may have been re-arranging their table wine selections to put the Quinta do Gricha ones at the top rather than Churchill-branded ones (which I guess include wines from other estates, too).
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by JacobH » 10:06 Tue 29 Jun 2021

Asking a bar-man to bring me something “interesting” in a small wine bar which was rather generously stocked with Portuguese wines, he returns with another bottle of Vulcânico by the Azores Wine Company. This time it is the tinto / red which is a field blend, apparently containing a very large number of traditional Portuguese varieties. It’s quite a light red wine, especially for a field blend, but has wonderful complexity on the nose: some salinity and herbs. I thought I would mention this here since I might have assumed that wines from the Azores would be mere novelties, but they most definitely are not and well worth trying if you see one.
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Re: DOC-bagging

Post by MigSU » 17:37 Tue 29 Jun 2021

Good stuff, Jacob. Your commitment is commendable.

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