/•/ Luiz Alberto, #winelover. Founder of the #winelover community, judge at International wine competitions, wine educator and communicator.
/•/ Philip S. Kampe, #winelover: Growing up in New Orleans has opened my eyes to the world of wine, food, and culture. My heritage is a combination of French, British, and Hungarian. Add eight years of European life coupled with a wife of Italian roots and you will understand my journey into this amazing world.
Thursday, November 30, 2017
TAP Innaugural Wine Tour 2017 by Maria Reveley
Symington General Manager, Jose L. Alvaras Ribeiro
Quinta do Bomfim
Terraced Vineyards on the Douro River
The Inaugural TAP Wine Tour
The Douro Region
The Inaugural 2017 TAP Wine Tour celebrated the winners of a
blind tasting to become the wines chosen for 2018 TAP flights.
Abilio Martins, SVP Marketing at TAP, and his teams developed
this effort to promote the Portuguese culture on TAP through its wines and
In 2016, TAP served 1.2 million bottles of national wines making it the biggest
showcase for Portuguese wines in the world.
TAP intends to broaden and diversify its on-flight ‘Wine
List’ to include red, white, rose, muscatel, port and sparkling wines to create
a true onboard Wine Experience.It will
offer quality wines from small and large producers with an estimate usage of
2.5 million bottles over the next two years.
This Inaugural Wine Tour was the culmination of many hours
of tasting by wine experts, first in Lisbon, and
then on two flights to Prague.In the air, taste buds change with air
pressure, so the winners on the ground were re-tasted, again blind, to make
sure the very best wines would be served to TAP flyers in 2018.
To enhance this experience even further, the crews are being
trained to better serve the wines of the new lists. The Wine Experience joins
the Taste the Stars project, in which TAP invited five (5) Portuguese Chefs,
all distinguished with Michelin stars to join Vitor Sobral, TAP’s gastronomical
consultant, to create superior on-board taste experiences.
These chefs are: Henrique Sa Pessoa, Jose Avillez, Miguel
Laffan, Rui Paula and Rui Silvestre.
As remarked by Fernando Pinto, TAP’s CEO, “Just like the
Portuguese, TAP has huge passion for Portugal.Not only do we bring the world to Portugal, as
with us, this passion has no boundaries and we’ll take it all over the world.”
What follows is a description of one of the winning regions,
the Douro, in northern Portugal,
and its winning wines.
Valley is a UNESCO World
Heritage area.It is stunningly
beautiful, with steep mountains and hand tended vineyards.The Douro
River runs through the region and the
city of Porto.
And, at sunset, you can begin to understand why the name – River of Gold
– is so on target.
The river winds through granite escarpments and terraces of
schist. The steep mountains of the Douro
Valley have been tended
for hundreds of years by hand.
The Douro Region is the FIRST DEMARCATED AND REGULATED WINE
REGION IN THE WORLD!This area produces
port, excellent DOC Douro wine, sparkling wine
and muscat.It was established by decree
in 1765 by the Marquis of Pombal and classified as a World Heritage Site by
UNESCO in 2001.
A few words about Port Wine, which some call the nectar of
the gods. Port wine has a richness and intensity of aroma that is unique, with
a high level of alcohol (between 19% and 22%).There is white, ruby, tawny, rose and late bottled vintage (LBV) Port
The methods used to make these delicious wines are much the
same as hundreds of years ago.The LBVs
are considered by many to be the Crown Jewels of Port Wine.
TAP’s Wine Tour winner in the Douro
was Symington which prompted a visit to Quinta do Bomfim, where we were met by
Jose L. Alvares Ribeiro, Executive Director.
The Symingtons of Scottish, English and Portuguese descent
have been Port producers for five generations since 1882. Five members of the
family work together in their four historic Port houses: Graham’s, Cockburn’s,
Dow’s and Warres, being one of the foremost producers of premium quality Port.
The Symingtons were also pioneers in the development of Douro wines in the late 1990’s, producing Chryseia, Post
Scriptum (both with the Prats family), Quinta do Vesuvio, Quinta do Ataide and
Mr. Ribeiro explained that there are 110 varietals in the
Douro and that originally the Douro produced
only red wines.When they applied brandy
to kill the yeast, they started making Port. Fifty-five per cent of all
mountainous vineyards in the world are in the Douro
and it is three to four times more expensive to produce wines here than in any
other area of the world.
Although the soil in the Douro
is poor, it does retain water because of the schist, and the vines are very
resilient, developing deep roots to find the water. The vines can withstand the
extreme weather of the Douro.
We tasted the Quinta do Ataide 2014, 100% Touriga National,
the national grape of Portugal.
Ruby red with dark cherry and plum notes, this young wine shows promise.The long awaited Quinta do Vesuvio 2015 will
be released shortly.Both wines are from
their best plots on the vineyard, where clay rather than schist prevails.
The Dow’s 1980 vintage Port ages beautifully with a clear
color and velvety, rich tones.
All in all, this area of Portugal is a magical and beautiful
place that honors hundreds of years of tradition in wine-making.It’s a region one must visit.