Showing posts with label tasting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tasting. Show all posts

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Destination: Portugal - Wine Tastings & Mysterious Tales

Destination:  Portugal - Explore Port Wine

Spring is the most pleasant time of the year. Days start to get longer and warmer, and spending time outside suddenly feels very inviting. The green gets greener, the blue sky turns brighter and flowers blooming everywhere it all seems magical. Well, and it is, at least here in Portugal!
Porto is Portugal's second largest city and was elected Best European Destination 2017 and awarded as European Leading Destination 2018. Every year the city attracts thousands of tourists eager to discover the ancient downtown, the typical riverside with colorfully painted houses, to get lost in century old streets, to enjoy the Portuguese cuisine and, of course, to taste wine.
It´s great to be outdoors during the spring months. To take a walk along the lavish green Douro's landscape taking your time to relax or to sail the Douro River and breathe for a while. Moreover, if you are thinking that the perfect setting would include a Port Wine tasting and maybe some delicious food as well, we are going to make that happen.
Here is a list of the Top 4 Experiences you just can't skip this Spring.

Picnic in the Vineyards
Picnics are a fun thing to do. But when do you have the opportunity to do it right in middle of secular vineyards sightseeing the snake like Douro river in the background?
Some wine estates in Portugal are able to provide that unique experience perfect for everyone. Enjoy it with your family, friends or even in a romantic getaway. Some wineries sell the tour and picnic is included, so be ready to choose your spot in the vineyard and unveil what is inside your basket to celebrate the moment. Everything you are about to taste was carefully selected and the wine will be the perfect pairing. Only the best regional wine and delicacies (or in Portuguese: Petiscos) combined with some charming and distinctive details selected for you will be inside your basket. Immerse yourself in the magnificent scenery and enjoy each flavor and each minute.
Explore Portugal with a picnic in the vineyards

The must go Port Wine Cellars Tour
  You don't need to go a specific winery or vineyard in the Douro Valley to taste the best Portuguese wines (though we strongly recommend you do!). If you're in Porto and haven't planned a trip to the Douro but find yourself in the mood for a Port wine tasting, there are plenty of choices, mainly on the other side of the Douro River, in Gaia.
In the cellars, you will learn more about the history of Port wine and the Douro region and discover its most iconic figures. Powerful women that controlled a so-called men world back in the 1800’s, piracy tales and Barons that had a doomed faith to drown in the Douro River and never to be seen again.
Each visit is different, featuring a tasting room, artesanal cheese or chocolate pairings, on-site sommeliers and much more. To become a real Port Wine connoisseur keep reading and download the free Guide to the Best Port Wine Cellars and book your tour in Portugal.

Cruising 2019 in Portugal  
Wine cruises can be relaxing, fun, romantic, you set the tone we provide all you need on board for the smoothest sailing either for a short escape of one or two hours or to spend the night on board.
The view is stunning and the wine, by the moment you already know how it is, unique and produced in the man-made slopes along the Douro river as far as the eyes can see.  A truly delight for those who need a moment out of the real world, a moment of indescribable beauty.
To set sail in Douro River you will be able to go on board of modern sailing boats or boats with a vintage feel to it accordingly to your preference. 
In addition, if you are visiting Algarve in the south of Portugal a Yacht cruise will take you along the immense bright blue of the Atlantic Ocean and you will be able to spot secret beaches hidden between the rocks.
Wine Tourism in Portugal has cruises that are able to suit your particular taste. Everything for the perfect spring day!
A wine cruise in Portugal is an incredible experience

Cultural Tours - The Locals Choices
Yes, cultural tours can be exhausting, if the only thing you do is to walk around a town and visit platitudinous churches or museums. But what if this tour takes you only to the most beautiful European historic sites and shows you the true cultural heritage? A cultural richness that adds up some top quality wines and delicious petiscos. Yes, your cultural tour magically turns into a once in a lifetime experience. What about now? A Wine Tour in Porto with a River Cruise and Tour to The Port Wine Cellars, or a  Full-day Wine Tour in Alentejo?  Maybe you are more into a city feel, and if that is so: Wine and History Tour in Lisbon will be the most appropriate choice.

Adventure and sustainable tours
As a wine lover you know wine goes with any activity, mostly if you are on your Spring vacations. So, why not to mix it up with some adventure and nature experiences? OK, as long as the only thing you are driving is a Bike or a Kayak! And since spring is also the last chance you have to stay fit before summer, we have some excellent suggestions for you, that goes from an unique Wine and Golf Tour to Health and Wellness stays. In fact you can mix them and do it all during you stay. What about Bicycle Tours and Bird Watching,  Kayak and Bike Tours or get the adrenaline running in the 4x4 Wine Tour?
We have so many incredible experiences waiting for you in Portugal all year long.  Did you know that Portugal is the European country with more sun hours? Yes, it is true.  So now, it is time for you to see, taste, and feel for yourself.  Create your own unforgettable memories of 2019, here in Portugal.
For more suggestions, visit Wine Tourism in Portugal website and have a look at the list of all the experiences you can book in the Douro region.

Wine Tourism in Portugal is leading the path in making Wine Lovers discover what a great wine country Portugal is.
The only hub for booking the finest and most awarded wine places and wine experiences in Portugal.
Nowadays with more than 130k visits per month from travelers all around the world, Wine Tourism in Portugal is a key company and inevitable business partner for the wine related industry.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Your First Impression of Wine Could Be Your Last

Drink Good Wine or Don't Drink Any Wine At All
As I sit here in a hotel room in Ohio for business for a few days, I decided to unwind a bit after a fifteen hour day of travel and work.  Luckily for me, the hotel is brand new, modern, comfortable and yes - it has a relatively-fully stocked bar.  The day didn't call for two fingers of straight Kentucky bourbon as travels often do.  So, against my better judgement, I decided to order the "house" Cabernet.  Those of you who have followed me both with this and the Midwest Wine Guy wine blogs know that I'm a Cab snob.  No, not a snob, but rather an aficionado of Cabernet and really any wine that is made well.  So, I order the Cabernet, walk outside to the lounge area and make a phone call.  

Wanting to unwind from the day before dinner, I thought I'd sip a bit and catch up on emails and text messages that had been given their pecking order throughout the day.  And when I put the wine to my lips, I immediately shook my head.  I wasn't mad at the hotel for serving the wine.  I was ticked at myself for ordering it.  While I'd like to believe that this mid-level hotel chain had a top sommelier picking their offerings for the national brand, I suspect instead that it was the general manager perusing the bargain aisle at the local Pick 'n Save who was eyeing the clearance section in order to save a few bucks and make the liquor budget for the month.

The wine was putrid.  It was a far cry from the wines around the world that I've enjoyed for many years and not even in the same stratosphere as those that I've shared with you.  It was purple.  It was wet.  And those were the good qualities!  But for someone who has tasted hundreds - actually thousands - of wines, I can ignore the obvious crap and force a few swallows while I am enthralled in my iPhone.   Maybe I'm a glutton.  Maybe I just expected this experience.  Maybe I didn't care.

A quick dinner at a local pub with a Kentucky Bourbon Barrel Ale (that was the star of the evening) and I was back to the hotel.  I'd been up for about seventeen hours at this point and really, REALLY needed a night cap.  I strolled over to the hotel bar again, nearly laughed at the thought that the "bartender" (who also served as the bellhop and night time security guard) probably didn't know how to concoct an old fashioned, so I...............opted for................another glass of wine.  But this time I ordered...............wait for it............................................................a California Merlot.

I ordered the Merlot because I knew the producer and was very familiar with their work.  Keep in mind, this was still the low.............VERY low.........think bottom of the barrel offering from this producer.   Grocery store end cap is where you normally find this wine, but dammit I was going to have this and enjoy it, even if it gave me heart burn.   It didn't, but it still wasn't good.  It was almost marginal at best and I was glad I was alone and hadn't suggested this for anyone else.

What the hell is your point, you ask?  About fifteen years ago I got into red wine and it was really by luck.  Up until that point I was almost completely a white wine or sparkling wine drinker.  One day I thought I'd broaden my horizon and expand my palate, so I ordered a case of red wine online, knowing almost nothing about the wine, the producer, the AVA - nothing.  But, lady luck was on my side that day.   The case of 2004 Chateau Whatever the Hell it Was arrived and within a day or two I popped open the bottle.  It.  Was.  Beautiful.    A Google search later led me to learn that this wine was a top wine under $20 from Wine Enthusiast that year and had received warm accolades my professional and amateur critics alike.  Lucky me!

But what if I hadn't been so lucky?   What if my first wine experience was at the hotel in Ohio, or at a Lakers game, or at a restaurant that is trying to move their Chateau Poop because it tastes like vinegar and they don't want to be stuck with it any longer?  What then?   Would I try wine again or would I stick with my familiar Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer and find an excuse to shy away from reds at dinner parties?  I lucked out, but not everyone does.

When someone makes wine, they don't need to tell you how it tastes.   They need to tell their story.  They need to tell you about their land, their weather, their vineyards and their talents.   By the time they taste a wine until it is actually released to the general population can be many months.  Wine changes in the bottle and tastes so different as time inevitably has its way with the juice inside.   I want to hear from the people who drink dozens of different bottles of wine every year or every month from different producers.  I want to hear from the people who have no stake in the game and who aren't trying to sell you wine.  I want to hear from the wine bloggers and the amateur wine tasters.  They can really pick some wines and they won't steer you wrong.

There are bad wines in the world.  Avoid the bad wines.  Do yourself a favor.  Find a wine blogger and connect with them.  Get to know their wine tasting preferences and writing style.  Do you think certain flavors and aromas are appealing and important?  Do they paint a picture of the wine and make you feel like you are tasting it with them?   Those are the people you want to pay attention to.  Drink good wine.  Read about good wine.   Get to know good wine.

I used to ride motorcycles for many years.  I would often debate with friends about American versus Japanese bikes and why this one or that one is better.   At the end of the day I usually concluded that it didn't matter.   I thought that any motorcycle was better than having no motorcycle at all.  But you can't think that way with wine.   Wine doesn't have to be expensive, rare, single vineyard or any of the BS that wine snobs think it needs to be.  But it has to be good.  It has to provide enjoyment and create a good memory.  Life is too damn short to drink bad wine. 

Don't drink bad wine!
Don't give me a reason to buy you this shirt!

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