You are currently viewing the International Edition. You can also switch to the Hong Kong Edition.
Wednesday 1 July 2015

Harding urges Portugal to go native

15th June, 2012 by Gabriel Stone

Julie Harding MW dedicated her 50 Great Portuguese Wine selection to Portugal’s indigenous grapes, warning that the pursuit of international varieties would represent “a downhill slope” for the country.

Julia Harding MW unveils her 50 Great Portuguese Wines

Unveiling her final selection, which was whittled down from 1,200 wines to a range which included 27 reds, 18 whites, one sparkling and four fortified wines, Harding stressed: “I wanted to choose only wines made from Portuguese grape varieties – I wanted to choose Portuguese wines that were really Portuguese.”

While conceding: “There are some great wines made from international varieties,” Harding explained: “I wanted to show what indigenous Portuguese varieties were able to do.”

Admitting to a “soft spot for central Portugal”, Harding flagged up the Dão and Bairrada as two regions in particular which deserve greater recognition in the UK. Highlighting one grape variety common to both of these neighbouring DOCs, she argued: “Baga can make some great wines.”

As a sign of the ongoing threat to Portugal’s indigenous varieties from more internationally renowned grapes, one of the wines in the selection, Dulcineia dos Santos Ferreira 2005 from Vinhos Sidonio de Sousa, was the last vintage to be produced after the old vine Baga was pulled up in favour of Merlot.

Turning to the country’s white wines, Harding observed: “I’m so glad I managed to include so many,” highlighting in particular the Vinho Verde Vales de Ambrães, Avesso 2011, a wine not currently imported to the UK.

“What I really wanted to show was the Avesso,” Harding remarked, explaining that for the better known Vinho Verde and the Douro regions in particular, she was keen to include a number of wines which “show the diversity within a region instead of the stereotype people have.”

This was a point echoed by Raymond Reynolds, chairman of Portuguese specialist importer Raymond Reynolds Ltd, whose wines made up 10 of the 50 in Harding’s final selection. “Loureiro is still undervalued,” he insisted; “it’s not Vinho Verde in that classical style.”

Likewise Reynolds supported Harding’s view that the Dão is especially worthy of greater attention. “There’s still a lot to be explored,” he remarked, describing the current UK selection as “a tiny tip of the iceberg.”

The 50 Great Portuguese Wines will be available for the trade to taste in Edinburgh on 20 June and Manchester on 21 June.

2 Responses to “Harding urges Portugal to go native”

  1. John Radford says:

    Absolutely agree, and the same goes for Spain, Italy and Greece: all the Mediterranean countries have unique varieties which can really showcase the individuality of their various regions. The trouble is that the big corporations which control so much of the industry can’t be bothered to invest time and money in developing unusual varieties when they know that they’re ‘safe’ with such as Chardonnay and the ubiquitous Cabernet-Sauvignon.

  2. Alan Mayne says:

    Well done Julia,
    Yes it is a shame that some Portuguese wine producers are moving away from indigenous grape varieties. This will lose the very character of Portuguese wines. I have noticed this more and more on my visits to Portugal

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

If that's interesting, how about these?

Cockburn’s wins the boat race

Cockburn’s has won the 2015 Barcos Rabelos race, featuring the boats that more...

Hart Davis Hart biggest in US

Chicago-based wine auctioneer Hart Davis Hart is the market leader in the US in more...

Sutcliffe steps down from Sotheby’s role

Serena Sutcliffe MW has stepped down from her position as worldwide head of more...

World's best beer and wine festivals

Forget Glastonbury, these are the festivals you should be making a beeline for more...

Austrian wine importer launches in Hong Kong

A wine importer specialising in Austrian wines has launched in Hong Kong to more...

Rioja revellers soaked in wine battle

Thousands have taken part in Rioja's annual wine fight, drenching each other more...

Wine Buyer

London, United Kingdom

Based on experience

Winemaker Sting sings to his wines

Musician Sting has revealed that he often sings in his wine cellar and likes to more...

Cockburn's to launch ‘lost’ 1977 vintage

Cockburn's is set to release its 1977 vintage for the first time as part of more...

Mateus rosé clears up its design

Portuguese rosé brand Mateus is switching to a clear glass bottle this summer, more...

London Sales Manager / Key Account Manager

London, United Kingdom

Competitive - depending on skills and experience

Wine from Napoleon’s carriage to be sold

A bottle of wine apparently found in Napoleon’s carriage after Waterloo – more...

Bordeaux wine thieves found guilty

A French court has sentenced 15 men over the audacious theft of $1.1 million of more...

Australia puts quality centre stage

Wine Australia has pledged to invest AUD$35m annually for the next five years more...

PR Manager

Competitive

MMD bolsters Italian portfolio with Mazzei

Maisons Marques et Domaines has extended its Italian portfolio with the more...

Online retailer to highlight 'hidden gems'

A new online boutique wine importer and retailer Perfect Cellar has opened for more...

Final call for Liberty apprentice scheme

Liberty Wines is inviting final applications for its apprentice programme, more...

International Business Development Assistant

London, United Kingdom

To be determined, based on the profile and experience of the candidate

Q&A: John Barbier, the Colorado cook-vintner

“I have never followed a recipe in my life, I’m a man of instinct”, more...

Wine thieves go on trial

A gang of wine thieves accused of stealing a million euros worth of wine from more...

Chilean brand looks back to move forward

Chilean producer Santa Carolina has launched an “icon” wine with a more...

Supplier Relationship Manager

London, United Kingdom

Vinexpo: five days 'too much' says organiser

Vinexpo doesn’t need to run for the full five days because no visitor stays more...

Symington Estates to uncover Douro's best grapes

Symington Family Estates has planted an experimental vineyard in the hottest more...