Portuguese Wines – Discover a World of Difference Interview

During the Wines of Portugal tasting that I was able to attend recently I had the opportunity to also have a short interview with Filipa Anunciação, the senior area manager from Wines of Portugal.  It was interesting to hear her answers to my questions.  I had a chance to speak with Nuno Vales from Wines of Portugal in 2014 and ask similar questions.  What are some of the differences and similarities? Read Filipa’s interview first, then you can read Nuno’s interview.

MyWinePal’s Interview with Filipa Anunciação

Filipa Anunciação senior area manager Wines of Portugal (credit Angel Chu)

Filipa Anunciação senior area manager Wines of Portugal (credit Angel Chu)

Is there a new wine region you would like people to know about in Portugal?

Azores is an archipelago in the south. It is a group of 9 islands. One region, Pico, is now getting to be known for wonderful still white wines. I think this is a new exciting region.

Are those volcanic islands?

Volcanic, producing salty and mineral wines.  It’s a small region.  Everything is good but in small quantity. Everyone in Portugal is excited with these wines.

Those wines are not here yet?

No, but maybe in the near future. In the US they are distributed in some places.

Can you give me an example of innovation in Portugal?

We have lots of innovation as we have a new young generation taking over, using modern techniques. They are investing in new wineries.  In don’t know if it is a new innovation, but now we have more producers recovering an ancient method of making wine that is in amphoras. It is kind of an innovation. Bringing an old way to produce wines.

Are there any natural wines being made in Portugal?

Yes there are more people trying biological, natural wines, and no sulfite wines.  We have that happening.

On the export side, where does Canada rank? In 2014 we were #8.

You are now in 7th place, so you are growing. Canada grew by 6% in 2016 and in first quarter of 2017, Canada grew in DOC and IGP wines by 20%.  This growth in value came not only from quantity but also average price. So you are buying more quality wines.

Where does BC fit?

BC is the 3rd most important market in Canada. First is Quebec, then Ontario, and then BC. We keep coming here investing in the marketing and showing wines to Canada.

I keep telling people that Portuguese wines are very good and good value.

We try to give people the needed confidence to by a Portuguese bottle of wine.  They will get a good surprise.

Besides Toriga Nacional is there a grape variety that you want people to try?

I would like people to try all of our grapes.  More than grapes, we are masters of blends. In our blends we can have more than 40 varieties.

That would be a long back label.

It’s a field blend. We have Baga; Encruzado that makes nice white wines in Dao.

I was talking to a winery principal today that said that Encruzado provides structure to white blends.

Yes structure and complexity. I would challenge people to more than looking for one grape, to take advantage of our blends.

Do people still think of Portugal as port wine only?

I don’t think so. I think port for sure is more well-known but now people know that Portugal has more to offer; Vinho Verde, Dao, Alentejo. We have the major international wine magazines talking about Portuguese wines and Portugal. People are now discovering other types of wines we have to offer.

I was wondering about global warming. Is it helping or hindering Portuguese grapes?

I really don’t know.

In Napa valley they are thinking of planting more Italian grapes that can handle the heat.

Right now I don’t think we are thinking too much about it.  In Alentejo we have irrigated vineyards, but we have other regions where the vineyards are not irrigated and don’t need it. Only in the first years with the new plantings, so that the vines can get established.

You mentioned about Alentejo.  I was reading the Wines of Portugal Challenge that the Alentejo region won the most golds and medals overall.  Can you tell me more about Alentejo?

You should go and I will tell you which wineries to visit.  This is a hotter region in the country. It is where we have a completely different terroir.  There we have rounder wines. Probably easier to drink wines. It’s one of the most well-known regions in Portugal, more consumed in Portugal and internationally as well.

People who go to Portugal to vacation, to visit wineries, is it easy or do you need to make a reservation?

It’s easy, but we have fewer wineries with tasting rooms developed. You should try to book in advance.  The good thing we have is that we are a small country, with a huge difference in regions. In one week you can travel through the whole country from Vinho Verde  to Alentejo and Algarve. That is the good thing.  You can see almost everything.  Lots of good food and good wine for sure.

Is there anything else you want me to tell my readers?

That we have a world of difference to discover; different grape varieties. Do not worry about the difficult grape names. Just be open and try our blends.  Be surprised.

Thank you to Filipa from Wines of Portugal for letting us know more about Portuguese wines.

Drink Good Wine. That is my motto and I really want to help you drink good wine. What is good wine? That can be a different thing for each people. Some people prefer red wines. Some only like Cabernet Sauvignon. MyWinePal was started by Karl Kliparchuk, WSET. I spent many years with the South World Wine Society as the President and then cellar master. I met many great wine makers. I love to travel around the world, visiting wine regions and sharing my passion for food & wine with you. Come live vicariously through me, and enjoy all my recommended wines.

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