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What’s Up Lisbon? Art Predator arrives!

October 31, 2009

ONe of the Douro Boys shares an old old old white porto with usAfter 24 hours of travel, last night I arrived in Lisbon where Enoforum Wine’s Delfim Costa picked me up and escorted me to the VIP Hotel nearby –just in time to join in the evening’s festivities of dinner and tasting.

Most of the dishes on the buffet was new for me and I loved everything I tasted. Two kinds of octopus! Beans cooked in bacon or some variation of goodness using the flavor and fat from a pig (mmmn, bacon!)

But the real standouts of the evening were wines from Douro. The first I tasted was one that Delfim wrangled from one of the Douro Boys. It was spectacular and I swear I will find out what it was. Between us, Delfim suspected that it might be the best wine in the room. For me, it offered everything I want in a wine, especially a wine to enjoy with a meal. Keeping in mind that when I tasted it last night I was running on adrenline and no sleep having spent the previous 36 hours traveling! But my palate knows an amazing wine when one crosses it. This wine was complex–rich, full, fruit, yet also delicate notes of rose. I think I could taste a whole bottle of it and still be discovering nuances.

With my desserts, Delfim and I went in search of another red wine and some port. Well, the room was full of partially empty and completely empty bottles, but we found another red from Douro and a port (name to be inserted here soon!). Then we spied a 10 year tawny (name to be inserted here soon!), and the search was over. Delfim poured samples for me and himself as well as  his colleague Luis and Jo Diaz who organized the wine blogging contest from which I won my trip. It was a lovely tawny and I’d been hankering for some tawny for awhile so it was great to have that itch scratched. As the hour grew later, Delfim then Luis excused themselves, leaving Jo and I to talk and enjoy the tawny.

Earlier I’d watched with interest as one of the Douro Boys carried in a case. What treasures might be there? But as Jo and I were engaged in conversation, and happy with  the tawny, we continued as we were instead of joining the boisterous group at the other end of the room.

Fortunately for us, one of the Douro Boys (Luis Seabra, winemaker for Niepoort wines from Douro, Portugal ?), brought over a white port, a very special old bottle of white port. Here’s a photo of Jo Diaz showing him her photos of the wine. IMG_1240 Jo Diaz and a "Douro Boy"

I am ruined. I’d never had a white port before.  Now I’ve had one of the best, followed by a 1983 aged port which the Douro Boy served to us from a decanter to capture the sediments. Doubly ruined. The 1983 was fantastic–almost like Disney’s Fantasia, like a wind that purrs at times and other times pounces. It was like little cat feet dancing on my tongue. And for flavor–how to describe? Funny thing is the first descriptors are anise or licorice. I don’t like that flavor. Yet I loved it here. Jo found it too cold at first and smooth like silk satin. We both warmed ours up a little, and found more texture and more to the nose, which she described as velvet, as red and rich as a monk’s robes.

I brought the remnants of each into my room with me. When I tasted the 1983 again, it was all about SPICE SPICE SPICE! Like I had stuck my nose and my tongue into a spice cabinet! Eventually I narrowed it down to mostly cinnamon with some clove.

Come back to click some links, and to see the names when I get a chance. In the meantime, here’s my first installment from the European Wine Bloggers Conference at the VIP Hotel in downtown Lisbon, Portugal!!

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