On a warm summer’s evening at The Broker in Leadenhall Market, members and their guests were instructed in the mysteries of the sommelier. "Smell the fragrance of the wine and ask yourself what type of minerals it reminds you of", he said. The wine reminded him of the first drops of rain on hot, dusty earth. Hmmm, possibly.
"Then", he said, "smell again. Ask yourself what type of vegetable it reminds you of". Easy, grilled mushrooms. "Then", he said, "ask yourself what event it reminds you of". He was relaxing now. He gave the example of his granny’s slippers. I took a whiff and had it straight away: servicing the lawnmower.
Best of all, though, was the test for acidity. Take a mouthful of the stuff and, without swallowing, breathe in through the mouth. This was best not attempted in a white shirt. On this basis, all the wines tasted pretty acidic.
But, of course our convivial host, Luis Lucas of the Portuguese Wine Society, could afford to be frivolous. The wines he produced were structured, full of flavour and beautifully made, produced by the best vineyards in Portugal. The wines would grace, and be a point of interest on, any dinner table. Assisted by the Broker’s marvellous selection of canapés and then superb Paella, we became enthusiastic supporters of the Portuguese wine industry.
The wines were tasted in order of latitude, starting in the north of the country and working south, as follows.
Alvarinho (Vino verde)
Caladessa Decalada (white)
Muralhas de Monçao (rose)
St Joao (sparking rose)
St Joao (sparking red)
Caladessa (powerful red 14.5%)
Luis’s contact details appear below. Ask for the Association’s usual 10% discount on a case.
Luis Lucas, Portuguese Wine Evangelist, The Portuguese Wine Club