>> Tuesday, December 15, 2009
PART 1 of the interview with Charles Metcalfe, who can be called the guru on Portuguese wines: on the excellent wine and food in Portugal today.
Charles also talks about the recent history of Portuguese wines. 20 years ago, when Charles and his wife Kathryn wrote their first book about Portuguese wines, there used to be only a small number of producers. Today there is a large variety and large number of a young generation of winemakers in Portugal. The old image of rustic reds and oxidised whites is now history. The new generation winemakers make wonderful wines. Today there is so much more knowledge on how to make high quality wines.
There is a vast variety of Portuguese grape varieties that give wines of characters and flavours that are unique. Some examples: Vinho Verde with aromatic grape varieties such as loureiro; Douro, not just red but also whites; Bucelas with e.g. arinto; etc.
One of the big surprises with Portuguese wines for many people is that there are many excellent fresh and aromatic white wines from grapes such as bical, sercial, and arinto.
Is Portugal perhaps a New World wine country (with all the new technology and new knowledge)? Charles says perhaps, but perhaps not. It is maybe more a question of rediscovery of the old world. Portugal has also benefited enormously benefited from infrastructure investments financed by the European community.
What about the prospects for the Portuguese to market and sell their wines with these local and unknown grape varieties on the international market? Are Portuguese grape names the future? Perhaps for arinto, touriga nacional, and maybe on or two others. Otherwise it is probably more important to emphasise the brand. But it can be very small brands e.g. Quinta do Crasto or Quinta de la Rosa to take two examples from the Douro Valley. Brands and branding is probably the way to go rather than the grape varieties, says Charles.
We must also mention the book The Wine and Food Lovers Guide to Portugal: A monumental book on Portugal, its food, the wineries and places to visits, hotels to stay in etc. A travel guide for people who love eating and drinking. By Charles Metcalfe and Kathryn McWhirter of course.
This interview was made at the European Wine Bloggers Conference #EWBC 2009 in Lisbon: http://winebloggersconference.org/europe/
On the book: http://www.innhousepublishing.com/
Charles blog, The wine singer: http://thewinesinger.blog.co.uk/
More on Charles: http://www.wineeducators.com/charles_metcalfe.html
Music: Kaleidoscope, Sol e dad, http://www.jamendo.com
By BKWine, http://www.bkwine.com. Interviewer: Per Karlsson, BKWine
See all our wine videos on our BKWine TV channel: http://www.youtube.com/bkwine