From Denmark to Portugal

… in one easy bottle.

My last night in Denmark we toasted my next move by drinking a bottle of Portuguese wine – made by a Danish wine maker based in the Alentejo.  This was another terrific suggestion from Thomas at Vinoteket – Cortes de Cima 2006 Vinho Tinto, Vinho Regional Alentejo.  This was a blend of Syrah, Aragonez (better known as Tempranillo in Spain) and Touriga Nacional (a classic Port grape – I’ve always loved Richard Mayson’s pithy description of it as “deep, dense and focused with cast-iron backbone”).  This wine is aged two years, half that time in oak.  Red and black fruit, some spice notes, nutmeg came to mind, and tannins that were not so chunky or chewy as in the wines I usually favour – I think the label description used the word velvety, I would go with that – and a very satisfying finish.  The oak was not assertive, I think it just worked to meld the flavours a bit, no overt vanilla or any of that nonsense (now you know how I feel about oaky wines!).  Wonderful wine, we had a flank steak that night, it was a great combination.  This was 99 dkr, which is about £12.

Cortes de Cima has an incredibly rich and well-designed website, so I’m not even going to try to recapitulate – take a look, it’s interesting.  Thomas recommended a visit to the domaine, he enjoyed it very much himself.  Personally I’m fascinated by the concept of having a traditional Danish Christmas lunch in the heart of the Alentejo.

Arrived Portugal the evening of the 19th, spent a couple days in Lisbon, then came up to Porto Sunday.

Have been busy trying to settle sheer logistics (getting a tax number, a bank account, an english-speaking estate agent and viewing some flats…), but of course first thing I had to walk out the Dom Luis I bridge, and admire the view… rather different from last July’s image.

Besides the autumnal mist, notice above and to the left of the Croft sign that massive five story edifice being constructed into and on the crest of the hill.  That will be the Fladgate Partnership’s Yeatman Hotel and Spa, due to open in the coming year.  Jamie Goode has written about The Yeatman project recently on his Wine Anorak site, and has some more detailed pictures and information.

The weekly wine tasting dinners, sponsored by a range of wine firms not just those in the Fladgate Partnership, sound wonderful, as well as the idea of a wine-related spa.  Château Smith Haut Lafitte were, I think, the first to go into this, and certainly their Caudalie line of skin care products are excellent.  Anyone who has been justifying their wine drinking by pointing to the high levels of anti-oxidants in wine will be pleased to know they do as much good topically applied as imbibed (so it’s not a total loss if you spill some on yourself!).  Personally, I’d rather be treading the grapes to get my dose, and I hope my next harvest will be up in the Douro, otherwise I may have to settle for a treatment at the spa when it opens.

So much to look forward to, now I am settling here.