Friday, 29 August 2014

In vino veritas

A sessão nostalgia está de volta... eu não consegui me controlar quando comecei a ler isso, que saudades dessa época...que saudades das pessoas, das viagens, de morrer de rir com as loucuras do Jude...

A última viagem a trabalho em Green and Blue foi de volta a Itália para a região de Piedmont, eu coloquei algumas fotos no Flickr dá uma olhada aqui... eu não escrevi uma essay porque eu estava muito ocupada com o trabaho e escrevendo a minha experiência na School of Wine da Kate/G&B.

Novamente a Kate e o Jude me deram esse presentã acordo com eles por causa da minha curiosidade infinita e eu acho por alugar eles com as minha perguntas...ahaha! Pois então esse foi um curso que eu fiz – as descrições sãa dos wine tastings com a Kate. Espero que vocês gostem e se interessem em aprender mais de vinho...a empresa era especializada em organic and bio-dynamic wines então e improvavel que você encontre esse tipo de vinhos em supermercados.

No início de 2009 eu sai da G&;B mas os amigos e experiências ficaram... eu fui atrás das minhas metas e objectivos...e o que me restou foram as memórias....the...

Memoirs of a Young Wine Lover

 written in July 2008

“Things do not change; we change

Henry David Thoreau

Here I am again, writing about another amazing experience I had at Green and Blue. This one took me 13 weeks, unforgettable Wednesday nights, during which I traveled around the world by tasting wines. My fellows at this time were customers who took the opportunity, given twice a year, to learn more about wines. Our guide, Kate, owner and wine expertise of Green and Blue, inspired us through our journey and patiently shared her vast knowledge in the mysterious ways of the lilac liquid from the different parts of the world.

Starting from the viticulture going through the process of vinification I gained a greater and more technical understanding of how real wine becomes an enjoyable drink in our glasses. In these introductory lessons I also gained a better understanding about organic and biodynamic viticulture. Unfortunately, not all of our wines are organic and/or biodynamic. However, all of them come from small producers, people who are committed to producing real wine. People who really care about their vines and the wine they are producing, people who grow their vines as natural and healthy as possible by growing them in living soil. Most of the organic wines we sell are not even certified as organic mainly because the producers do not want go through the all hassle of the certification process and others are so small that they cannot even afford it.

I blame my romantic heart but after these lessons, I started to believe that every single bottle of wine in Green and Blue is a result of something that is very personal. These wines are not just a product but also a result of years and years of hard work in vineyards, some of them are made from 2 hectares of a dream or in some others, tea and herbal essences are the secret to making vines very happy plants, which then produce very lovely wines. Little details that make a big difference.

Understanding how grapes are cultivated and how wine is made we move on to something more practical, we flew to the (Classical) Northern France, starting in the cold Alsace in the north-eastern side of France which borders with Germany. A region famous for its crisp, heavy and vibrant aromatic white wines, Alsace is very independent of the rest of France regarding AOC rules, it remains as the unique area in France where it is permitted to write the grape variety on the label. Although the proximity and the historical relationship with Germany, when come to wines the similarities are in the bottle shape and grape varieties planted.

Crossing from west to east the diverse and romantic Loire Valley: Nantes, Anjou-Saumur, Chinon, Vouvray, Touraine and Central Vineyards which although a very small region embraces the two most famous wines from the Loire, Poully Fume and Sancerre.

In terms of wine, the Loire Valley is synonymous for its diversification of soils types, climates, and wines produced. Chenin Blanc with its honey, zippy flavours is the vastly planted grape variety of the region, a grape suitable for sweet wines thanks its acidic qualities. It is from Saumur one of the most famous sweet (boytrised) wines in France and sparkling from Vouvray both from Chenin Blanc. Also reds, from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon mainly in Chinon, Touraine and Anjou Saumur.

We finished our tour through the Loire further east with more classic Sauvignon Blanc from Poully-sur-Loire (as you may know or guessed house of Poully Fume) or slightly fatter and more peachy flavours from Sancerre.

From the Loire to Bordeaux and Burgundy! Full stop. It does not need too many words. So I will not even try because no matter if you are prefer Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, they are not only famous for being the finest wines in France but for being unforgettable! Absolutely different in everything: styles, regions, climates, soil types, grape varieties, AOC rules but absolutely unique in their own styles and individualities.

Leaving Northern France we headed south along the banks of the brooding Rhone. The Northern part of the Rhone Valley embraces some of the best wine regions in France: Condrieu, famous for their Viogner, Cote Rotie, St. Joseph and Hermitage. The grape varieties here are mainly Shiraz, Rossane, Marssane and as I mentioned before Viogner. We were lucky to taste lovely wines from St Joseph and Cote Rotie.

Still in the Rhone but further south some more of the fantastic regions: Chateneuf-du-Pape - Gigondas and Vacqueryas - with its Grenache to tell the world the wonders of the south. Cahors and its Malbec, Provence with Bandol, Languedoc with Corbiers and absolutely biodynamic Mas Daumas Gassac, Madiran, Roussillon to mention some… more reds than whites here, also more tannins, dark fruit, plums and prunes, black coffee, toffee flavours.

From the Napoleonic elegancy of France to the Caesar of the wine world: Italy, a place where vino is veritas! We tasted some of the most famous and traditional wine regions in Italy: Tuscany, Piedmont, Veneto, Montepultiano, Campanhia, and other quite different wines, such as the Sicilians examples. Moreover, if it is Italian vino what would you expect? Temperamental, tannic, farmy, leather flavours that will drive you absolutely crazy. My favorite session.

Our eighth week and we reach a region that for many who work in the wine trade come the best whites in the world: Germany (and Austria). Germany with their Rieslings brought us a feast of indecipherable labels and levels of ripeness (Trokenbeernauslese, for example!!) but very delicious wines. Austria has colder winters and hotter summers; the wines are therefore richer and fuller bodied with more intense flavors than in Germany. The indigenous and widely planted grape variety is Gruner Veltiliner, Gru Vee if you prefer. We tasted a great example of it called Stat Krems. A wine that I like very much... full bodied, with tropical fruits, distinct white pepper and honey flavors.

Into a more seafaring spirit, we reached Portugal and Spain. Leaders of exploration and home of very adventurous seamen, the peninsula that discovery the Americas brought us, if not the hot breezes of the Atlantic, very distinctive wines from the Douro Valley, Alentejo, Vinho Verde, Vega Sicilia, Rioja etc. We met the Iberians again in our 12th session, Fortified wines, Sherry and its styles made me remember Jerez and Port its ancient making and rich flavours. D E L I C I O U S!

Leaving Europe we crossed the vast Atlantic to get to the Americas with wines from USA mainly from California: Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Barbera and also wines from Oregon and Washington State, a very l o n g session, we tasted whites and reds of all different styles. My favorites of the night were Frogs Leap, a mind-blowing biodynamic and Andrew Will Winery Sorella. From there to South America, Chile and Argentina emerging as serious places for producing wines. Promising and surprising, being a young region (and continent) in the wine world, it is excused of comparisons. The Americas definitely had something to say that Wednesday!

Australia and the wines from Barossa Valley made our night quite enjoyable with wines showing off fruitiness and tannins! Barossa valley is the biggest quality wine producing region in Australia, and its emblematic Shiraz has made Australia famous, the world over. Dean Hewitson Old Garden Mouvedre from there, leather and tobacco mixed up with dark prune flavors, fantastic! I also enjoyed Cullen Mangan from Margaret River, the Aussie Bordeaux, a blend of Petit Verdot and Malbec, a glossy, spicy, tannic wine with a lot of blackcurrant flavours. To soften our night a Pinot Noir from Yarra Valley. Yummy!

Along side Australia, New Zealand. A place with a very characteristic climate, cool and windy with A LOT of sunlight, which results in higher alcohols and very ripe, tropical fruit flavours. Very suitable for Pinot Noir, our very spoiled grape variety which ripens when and where she wants! Also good for Reisling, the most famous regions for it are Martinborough and Central Otago. They also have Isabel, a non-traditional but equally famous Savignon Blanc...

I do not know if Nelson Mandela drinks wine but I am very much sure that if he does he is proud of what South Africa is producing. We approached South Africa in our 11th session, we listened to the consequences of the apartheid on the wine world, and how when the dream of democracy came true, South Africa was able to catch up in such short time with the rest of the world. You will understand by tasting wines from the Cape the effects of the cool Benguela winds ...if not you can stick with the Luddite, which is one of my favorites wines, a crazy dark purple wine, with chocolate, raspberry jam flavours, very concentraded and totally revolutionary! After that, we tasted sweet wines...because red powerful wines were not enough!

Our last session wouldn’t be more perfect if we had not finished with some bubbles!! Sparkling wines and Champagne, the different processes of making it, the famous grapes varieties, the even more famous regions... and more. We celebrated our last lesson with some of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs.

I hope you understand that most of what I have written here is a compilation of my notes during the course the whole experience was even more than I ever had expected. When I look back on these thirteen weeks, I feel as if I was actually discovering, experimenting, testing my senses, my palate, changing, and exchanging experiences of wines and life.

Maybe making a change by doing the Green and Blue SOW will not change your life forever (which I doubt!) but I guarantee that you will become more selective about what you drink. And in a world of massive production of everything this is a wonderful thing! You will became your own expert and a sommelier for your friends and family…by doing so you will also become an extension of a dream…a dream dreamed by Kate in her Green and Blue.

Thank you Green and Blue, Kate, Jude, Tom, Emily, Eliza, Claire, Rebecca, Chloe, Ollie
and all the wonderful people who were there for me and with me during this incredible period of my life. 


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