Sugar in Wine Demystified

Sugar in wine – a topic that has claimed a lot of interest in the past ten years. For many, the topic has spawned from more focus on health and weight. For a smaller majority, sugar, or rather lack of sugar is a sign of quality of wine. I must admit that for me it was initially the first, and during recent years, as I have learned more, the latter. As I have started understanding different methods of wine making, I have also understood the role of sugar and the importance of where it comes from. Here is a quick summary and my attempt to demystify the topic of sugar in wine. Continue reading “Sugar in Wine Demystified”

High Flying Wines – Does Altitude Effect your Palate?

A couple of days ago, M noticed this fun article talking about what makes wine taste better on planes. As we travel a lot, also with plane, we found the reading quite entertaining and relevant. Who knew, that altitude had such a big influence on your taste buds.  Continue reading “High Flying Wines – Does Altitude Effect your Palate?”

The Difference Between Estate and Single-vineyard Wine

I must admit, that I learn new details about wine every day. Sometimes I feel fairly knowledgeable, with a lot of information in my head. However, there are so many details in the wine world, so many words that have a different meaning than what I first expected, that I find myself investigating the simplest things. There is also a bit of a language thing, as different wine regions use similar words to mean something completely different. One example, and what I investigated today is what is the difference between an estate wine and a single-vineyard. Why do I need to know this detail? I would say it’s because I am really interested in where the wine comes from and who is in control of its production. Continue reading “The Difference Between Estate and Single-vineyard Wine”

Discovering Portugal

The past month or so, our blog has been going a steady path. We have been writing a lot about shops, restaurant and reviewing some wines. We have shared experiences from along our travels and extended our focus to coffee and cocktails. We have shared all that we have enjoyed along the way and will continue to do so.

However, we are now back in Sweden and focus will inevitably shift back to Europe and more into our business. This is why today I would like to share with you something about our next adventure, which will be discovering Portugal as a wine region and a potential for extending our business. On Monday, M will be heading to Porto to meet up with some exciting new producers and I will join him for next weekend to meet our friends at Vieira de Sousa and drive around the beautiful Douro valley. But before we set out to travel, we thought we would do some studying to not sound like completely amateurs when talking to our new acquaintance.

Five things I read today about Portuguese wine:

  1. Wine laws today are based on the French Appelation d’Origine. There are three basic categories of Portuguese wine: Vinho de Mesa, Niho Regional, and Denominação de Origem Controlada. The lowest level is Vinho de Mesa, Table wine where grapes can come from anywhere in Portugal and the winery does not need to include a vintage. Above Vinho de Mesa is Vinho Regional, Regional wine. In a regional wine, 85 percent of grapes must come from the region on the label. Regional wines, however, are not subject to the strict requirements of a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC) wine. Each DOC must follow specific guidelines and the grapes in these wines must come entirely from the region on the label.
  2. Portugal has eleven major wine regions. The Douro is by far the most significant to fine wine production. Other regions of international recognition include Dão, Vinho Verde and Alentejo.
  3. Portugal has the very large number of (up to 500) indigenous grape varieties. Some of the most commonly used both by traditional and modern winemakers are Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz. Older vineyards are planted with multiple grape varieties and as a result, sometimes these field blends are so varied that identifying all of the grapes isn’t possible. When new vineyards are created, single planting is now the norm.
  4. The country has clear climatic divisions. In the northern part of the Portugal, the climate is maritime with warm summers and cool, wet winters. In some areas rainfall can reach 100 inches a year. Towards the south its a different story, as rainfall is lower and summer temperatures are much higher.
  5. Equally dramatic as France and Spain, Portugal suffered from the phylloxeira epidemic (wine plaque) of the early 19th century and lost a significant number of its old vines. After the plaque, many abandoned the wine-business and the ones who didn’t planted new, larger yield varieties resulting to overall lower quality. Today, we are seeing a rise of small boutique wineries, quintas, focusing on better wine making techniques and using grapes from a single region to create cleaner and softer wines that are better received by the international wine market.

I think I need to do some more studying before next week, but this is a good start for discovering wine in Portugal. I can’t wait to share pictures and stories about the actual trip. If you are up for Portuguese wine-talk, you can check out the post we did on Port a few months back (link here). Have a great weekend!