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Vinho Tinto Eternal Wine Book

The Eternal Winebook

This is my personal version of an eternal Book of Portuguese Wines. The book is eternal in the way that it never stays the same. Now and then new pages are added, or the old pages are rewritten, updated or corrected.

Dansk English

© 2016-2017 Vinho Tinto Eternal Wine Book

Sardinhas na Telha – Sardines in a roof tile

Visits to Portugal Posted on Fri, September 22, 2017 08:27:34

Dansk English

Most people who have stayed in Portugal have experienced the scents of sardines, which are grilled on small coal pits on the sidewalk outside the houses. Grilling is the most common way to prepare sardines, but there are other ways, – and I do not think about preserving them with olive oil in small cans. One of the most delicious sardines dishes I have tried was served by a friend of my Portuguese family. He was a contractor in Buarcos, but he also owned a farm in the village of Outeiro south of Figueira da Foz. Occasionally, he invited a group of people to the farm. Everyone was picked up by his truck, which were generally used to transport gravel and planks, and then we were driven to the farm. A large portion of fat sardines were brought with us in a large tub, and when we arrived, the baking oven was lit up. The oven was a “forno de lenha”, which in Italy is called “forno a legna” and used for pizza baking. The oven is filled with firewood which is ignited. When the oven has warmed up, the sparks are scratched aside and bread is baked by the ovens residual heat.

Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017.

This day, however, the oven was used to prepare sardines. The sardines were laid across the roof tiles, after which oil was poured followed by a layer of corn flour and onions. Then the tiles were placed in the oven and when they were ready, the sardines were served with small, new mashed potatoes (“batatas a murro”) and cornbread. Both potatoes and bread were cooked in the oven.

The sardines and bread were eaten with your fingers. The fork was that was handed out, was used only to pick up the salad from the salad bowl that was placed in the middle of the table. With this meal, we enjoyed chilled red wine, which the host himself had grown in Oteiro. At the bottom of each bottle he had placed one single grape, so fermentation went on in the bottle creating a bit of bubbles.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

The José Maria da Fonseca winery

Visits to Portugal Posted on Fri, June 16, 2017 09:05:51

Dansk English The companys first bottling device. Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017.

The José Maria da Fonseca winery is located in the town of Azeitão. Today the company is managed by José Maria da Fonsecas descendants named Soares Franco. The company markets more than 30 brands, but in Denmark and in many other countries, the company is best known for its Periquita wines, which are sold in discount stores and supermarkets. The company make wines in the Península de Setúbal, Alentejo, Douro, Dão and Vinhos Verde and 80% of production are exported.

We visited the winery, previously the family home and also the place where the wine was produced and stored. Today the house has stocking facilities and tasting facilities and there is also a small museum. José Maria da Fonseca was the first in Portugal, who bottled the wine, and at the museum the companys first bottling apparatus is on display. With that four bottles at a time could filled. In the courtyard behind the house (it was almost a park) rows of the most common grape varieties in Setúbal region was grown.

The visit ended in the companys tasting room, where we tried a white wine, a red wine and a fortified wine. The white wine was the dry Colecção Privada Domingos Soares Franco Verdelho 2016. The red wine was Ripanço 2014, a full-bodied red wine, which would be fine with tasty meats. The fortified wine, Alambre Moscatel de Setúbal 2010, is pleasantly sweet with scents of raisins. It would be fine for desserts or as an aperitif.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Peninsula of Setútal

Visits to Portugal Posted on Sun, June 04, 2017 10:25:08

A monastery at the Setútal Peninsula. Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017.

Dansk English

Until 1974, the huge bridge across the Tagus was named after Portugal’s long time brutal dictator Salazar. After the military coup on April 25th 1974, not many days passed before the letters of the old name were cut down and replaced by the name Ponte 25 de Abril. On the other side of the bridge the Christ statue resembling the one on Corcovado in Rio is seen. Later on one passes the signs for the beach at Costa de Caparica. The peninsula is named after Portugal’s third largest city, Setubal, a large industrial city with both a car assembling factory and chemical industry. The city is situated at the Sado River and on the other side of that, a large tourist area on the Troia Peninsula is located. A ferry from the city’s major fishing port brings you to Troia, where excavations of Roman villages can be visited.

Setúbal town’s Market Hall, who recently was named Portugal’s most beautiful and full of fresh products are placed in the city centre. H.C. Andersen stayed on a farm just outside of Setúbal during his visit to Portugal in 1866 – that’s 151 years ago. On top of near by mountain one sees the town of Palmela, which gives name to one of the Setúbal peninsulas three wine regions: Palmela DOC. Arrábida mountains, which is now a natural resort, is located on the peninsula’s southern half. At the entrance to the area is a large cement plant – Cecil – which was previously partly owned by F. L. Schmidt. Formerly nature suffered from the dust arising from cement production. Now a days the chimneys has filters, which has improved the situation. The area has stunning views of sea and nature. Another of the attractions of the area is the idyllic fishing village of Sesimbra, located in a small bay surrounded by cliffs. On top of a mountain above the town a castle is seen. At the city’s sea front promenade, several local eating places in different price segments are found. In the bar, housed in theSociedade Musical Sesimbrense (Sesimbra musical company) they have only one lunch dish, which is on the other hand very cheap.

The village of Azeitão houses three wineries. The smallest of them is the Quinta de Catralvos, which also rents out rooms with views of the vineyards. One of the major wine houses, Quinta da Bacalhôa, is located in the heart of the city. It is owned by an eccentric millionaire exhibiting blue-painted versions of the Chinese terracotta warriors in front of the winery. The third winery, José Maria da Fonseca, is just opposite the Quinta da Bacalhôa. One can visit these three wineries and get to taste their products.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

By the Wine – José Maria da Fonseca

Visits to Portugal Posted on Tue, May 23, 2017 09:08:13

Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017

Dansk English

The wine bar By the Wine – José Maria da Fonseca is located in Rua das Flores near Praça Luís de Camões in Lisbon’s Chiado district. The wine bar is named after the winery, José Maria da Fonseca, which manufactures the Periquita-wine, sold in the Netto supermarkets. In Denmark, you will also find Periquita Reserva and Lancers Rosé, both low end priced. Only wines from José Maria da Fonseca are sold at By the Wine, but in return they have – almost – all the wines, made by the company. Some are very good and relatively expensive. In addition to being a wine bar By the Wine is also a shop where you can buy most of the company products. You will 42 items on the list of table wines, espumantes, fortified wines and brandies.

We visited the restaurant on a Thursday at 1 PM, and for at start we were the only guests. The neighbourhood is a bit of rough, but we had the feeling that it is developing into something very fashionable. Houses are under construction everywhere, and on the way to By the Wine we passed many small local restaurants that it would be exciting to visit. By the Wine was hidden behind a major construction project, so it’s not a place you just discover accidently, – you must know it is there.

We got a table in the main hall, right when you enter the restaurant. The vaulted ceiling is entirely covered by 3267 green wine bottles – a reminder that Periquita was the first Portuguese wine sold in bottles. The bar is placed along one wall, and along the other are placed a series of two-man tables, of which we got the innermost. Further into the restaurant there is a room for visiting groups.

The restaurant has lunches on the menu, but also cheese and sausage dishes. We chose a board with various sausages, ham and cheese, which costs 25 euros, but have enough food for two persons. With that we had bread, and my wife ordered a glass of Vinho Verde Twin Vines, which is an easy and pleasant wine with aromas of gooseberry and elderflower. It was a good choice for both sausages, ham and cheese. All the wines are sold by the glass, and as it turned out, one could also buy half a glass. I wished to try a wine that is made from 157 different black grapes, but it was not on the list. In return, they served Periquita Superior, which is a very powerful wine with some tannic. It was fine with the spicy sausage, but a little too rough with the milder cheeses. Afterwards I had half a glass of José de Sousa Mayor, which was a very pleasant wine. I ended with a full glass of Hexagon Tinto, which is also a heavy wine with much tannin. To finish, Kirsten had half a glass of Quinta de Camarate Doce, which is a very sweet wine without much more than the sweetness to offer.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Garrafeira Nacional

Visits to Portugal Posted on Sun, May 14, 2017 10:44:29

Dansk English Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017

The Garrafeira Nacional wine shop is located in Rua Santa Justa in the Lisbon downtown. The shop is situated in the opposite end of the street where you see the famous elevator, reminding of something that Eifel could have built. Garrafeira Nacional was founded in 1927 and is probably the most famous wine shop in Portugal. In addition to the store in Rua Santa Justa there is one in the same neighborhood in Rua da Conceição and even one in the market halls Mercado da Ribeira. The shop has a vast selection of Portuguese wines, and they also have a web shop that sends wines throughout Europe.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Captains Courageous

Visits to Portugal Posted on Thu, April 20, 2017 08:59:43

Dansk English Photo: Steen Olsen © 2017

When in Cascais, you have a view to the coastal cities near Lisbon. You can also see a lighthouse in the middle of the entrance to the river Tagus. On the other side of the sea, one sees the Setúbal peninsula with Costa da Caparica beach and further out steep slopes. One also sees the Arrábida mountains, which is now a nature reserve. If you have nothing else to do, you can watch the large cruise ships on their way to or from Lisbon, as well as all sorts of other ships in the dense traffic on the Atlantic. One day we watched the four mast lugger Santa Maria Manuela passing by. It is a steel vessel built in 1937 in Lisbon as a “Bacalhoeiro”. Until the late 1980s, these ships travelled to Newfoundland and Greenland to catch cod for the production of stock fish. In 1998, we visited such a ship with several dinghies fastened to the deck docked at the World Expo in Lisbon. The fishermen went out one-by-one in the dinghies to catch cod on hooks. They would then sail back to the ship with the cod. If fog suddenly appeared, fishermen accidently might lose contact with the ship and may never be found.

The Portuguese “always” have red wine for their stock fish dishes, and in the days when I spent all my summers in Buarcos on the Portuguese west coast, I often in the evening watched fishermen riding their bikes to the port of Figueira da Foz to take to the sea. On the bike carrier, they brought their food in a small termo (a marmita), and on the handlebars a bottle of red wine. White wine is for sissies and for tourists.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Cantinho do Avillez

Visits to Portugal Posted on Thu, April 13, 2017 07:23:34

From the Cantinho do Avillez. © Photo: Kirsten Andersen.

Recently, before we went to Lisbon on a three-week stay, Flemming Møller from Vino Gaudium, suggested that we should visit Cantinho do Avillez, located in Chiado a few blocks from Rua António Maria Cardoso, the once head quarter of the secret police, PIDE, during Salazars dictatorship. The owner of the restaurant, José Avillez, has several other bars and restaurants, one of which, Belcanto, has received two Michelin stars.

We had booked a table at Cantinho do Avillez, and walked from the station at Cais do Sodré to the restaurant, although it was uphill – very much uphill. We went through the Chiado where a lot of new apartments are being built. Cantinho do Avillez is a very friendly place with friendly young waiters. For starters, my wife chose baked Nisa cheese and the main course she chose was stock fish flakes, baked in a vacuum bag with bread from Mafra, savoy cabbage, green beans, low temperature cooked eggs and “exploded olives”. For both dishes, she had a white wine that paired very well with the food: Catarina Branco 2016 from Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, SA

For starters, I had sautéed chicken liver with onions fried and pan seethed in port wine. For main course, I had braised pork chop neck of the black Alentejo pork with French Fries, “farofa” and black beans. Farofa is specialty which you often gets with your food in Brazil. It is fried, grated cassava. For dinner, I had a Douro red wine, Grainha Reserva 2014 from Quinta Nova. It was a perfect fit for both dishes.

The visit to Cantinho do Avillez was a great experience that we would like to do again one day.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

Mercado da Ribeira

Visits to Portugal Posted on Wed, April 05, 2017 13:41:56

Dansk English

Since 1892, Mercado da Ribeira (a.k.a. Mercado 24 de Julio) is the main market hall in Lisbon. A few years ago, we visited the market halls, which at the time seemed neglected and abandoned. In 2014, the Time Out Lisboa magazine took over the management, and now the halls have been completely remodeled and has flourished again. When we recently arrived by train to the station at Cais do Sodré we crossed the street to see how it has come to look like. In one of the two halls, there is still market as before, but it has been modernised, so it did not look quite as deserted as at our last visit. This part of the market is open from 6 AM to 2 PM. In the buildings west hall, the large restaurant area has been installed. In the centre, you can buy beer, cider, wine and coffee and all around there are benches and tables where you can enjoy your food and drinks. All around there are shops selling Portuguese specialties, and you will also find a branch of the famous wine shop, Garrafeira Nacional. This part of the market is open from 10 AM to 12 PM, except on Saturdays when closing time is 2 PM.

Please mail questions, comments or suggestions to vinho-tinto”at” Replace “at” with @.

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