April 2010

The Big Tasting 2010

by Suw on April 6, 2010

Via new Twitter friend Robert McIntosh, Kevin and I find ourselves taking part in The Big Tasting 2010, an online/live tasting event from Waitrose and Vini Portugal (on Twitter as @VPwine). The big day itself is Monday 12th April, with live streaming of the tasting from Lords Cricket Ground at 7pm. Oz Clarke will be doing the honours so it’s sure to be entertaining. Sadly Kevin and I are going to be in Tblisi at the time, so won’t be able to join in live. Bah.

We did, however, get the six bottles last week and have so far managed to taste three of them. Well, I say “taste”, but what I really mean is “slurp down”. They were all rather nice!

The six wines are:

  • Tagus Creek Cabernet Sauvignon / Aragónez 2008 Ribatejo, £5.69
  • Tinto da Ânfora 2006 Alentejo, £6.64
  • Sogrape Quinta de Azevedo 2008/09 Vinho Verde, £6.16
  • Vida Nova Syrah / Aragónez 2007 Algarve, £7.59
  • Arco de Esporão 2008 Alentejo, £9.49
  • Waitrose Douro Valley Reserva Quinta de la Rosa 2007, £9.49

We got all ours in a box, so didn’t have any idea about how they were priced individually and I have to say that I’m surprised they weren’t more expensive.

We have so far guzzled, sorry, I mean, tasted the Quinta de Azevedo (white), the Douro Valley Reserva Quinta de la Rosa (red), and the Tinto da Ânfora (red). I must say, they named The Big Tasting well, as the de Azevedo is the only white in the collection and the rest are big reds. Some of them are more accurately described as biiiiig big reds.

Now, I’m not a wine-tasting expert, so don’t expect proper tasting notes as I can barely tell my cabernet sauvignon from my gin and tonic. Nevertheless, I know what I like and I really liked all three. The Douro Valley I “paired” with some leftover ginger chicken Chinese and it stood up to the abuse very well indeed. It’s a soft, dry red, quite easy going down, but we did split the bottle over two nights because it was a little bit too big for one sitting.

The Quinta de Azevedo we had with garlic prawns and penne. It’s a very young wine, with a taste of green apples – happily more Granny Smith than sour apple, though. Quite a grassy wine with a hint of acid, but again very drinkable.

The third bottle we had last night with various Italian dishes. We couldn’t decide which of the four remaining bottles we wanted to try, so we let Grabbity pick for us:

And I have to say that she made a very good choice. The Tinto da Anfora was a great wine, a bit easier going than the Douro – fruitier, I thought. Went down very quickly!

We’ll have to taste the other wines when we return from our travels, but if our experience so far is anything to go by, it’ll be a pleasure. I’m not very good at remembering which wines I like, but these I will make an effort to remember. Kev and I don’t drink Portuguese very often, mainly because we are more experienced with New World, and especially American, wines, so it’s been great to have this introduction. It’s no surprise that the reds are so big, though, given that Portugal is the homeland of port and other fortified wines.
So yeah, I’d highly recommend you give these wines a try if you’ve a mind to. For around six quid, it’s gotta be worth a shot!

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