Heading south but keeping cool: Herdade de Cebolal

“I used to say that our family’s DNA has a special mark: to make wines, to be winemakers,” Isabel Mota Capitão, 4th generation winemaker from Herdade de Cebolal, told me while we strolled through the estate’s vineyards in southern Portugal. Her son and chief winemaker, Luís Mota Capitão, was busy in the winery when I…

Lisbon town: Exploring Pintarola wines

“Tenho em mim, todos os sonhos do mundo” — Fernando Pessoa (Within me, I have all the dreams in the world) Lisbon. Lisboa, a city that has for centuries captured the hearts of many a writer, poet and traveller. With its incredible architecture, sometimes raw and ruined and other times polished and clean, the tiny…

Short but sweet: A Quick Visit to Herdade do Mouchão

After Cortes de Cima, I did something I have never really done before: I drove aimless through the countryside with no clear destination at all. I hadn’t booked a place to sleep for the night and the evening would be fast approaching but despite this (and surely because of it) I felt a huge sense…

To travel is to live: Visiting Cortes de Cima

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, To gain all while you give, To roam the roads of lands remote, To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen  So I hit the Portuguese road. From Porto I went south and followed the coast, stopping at medieval towns and lonely villages that were far…

Hit the road Jack…

My friend Stan once said, “You learn by doing”. This is a true story. Good old Stan knows a few things. He said these words of wisdom while we savoured our Tandoori Chicken and Beef Tikka Massalla at the Indian restaurant down the street from the office. He was serious in his advice, looking at…

Bologna Wine Bars

Although the region of Emilia-Romagna is not known for its wine, Bologna has a few hidden (and some not so hidden) gems that offer the wine traveler lots to choose from. My top three are listed here. They are all a little different but definitely worth checking out. Chin-chin! Enoteca Storica Faccioli Address: Via Altabella,…

Bologna: The Fat One

  Home to the Mortadella, Bolognese sauce (or Ragu in Italian), Parma ham and Tortellini, Bologna will keep you coming back for more. Contrary to what you think, Bologna “La Grassa”, or the Fat One, has nothing to do with fat and everything to do with flavours, richness, and quality of its cuisine. After spending a…

Colli Bolognesi, dai!

Ueeeh! Mah! Bop! Dai! These are just a few of the words you can use on your next trip to Italy if you want to communicate with Italians like a local. Add the corresponding facial expression, hand gesture or shoulder shrug and you’ll blend right in. Or drop the word “Soccia” every now and then…

Discovering the Dão Part 3: The Three Little Brothers

“Mais vale uma enxada na mão do que uma mão inchada” (Better to have a hoe in hand than a swollen hand) I’m really behind on my wine writing but before time slips too far away and my keyboard writes stories of (gasp) Italian wines, I’ve carved out some wine time to backtrack and write…

Discovering the Dão Part 2: Casa de Mouraz

  “In the Dão you have to look for the vines… It is not easy”, explains Sara Dionísio, co-owner of Casa de Mouraz wines, an organic and biodynamic wine producer in central Portugal. She changes gears on her pickup truck, maneuvering left and right in attempts to avoid the bumps and rocks along a narrow…

Discovering the Dão Part 1: Lagar de Darei

 “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” – Lao Tzu   Dão: a mountainous wine region in north central Portugal in the province of Beira. After the Douro DOC, it is the second oldest demarcated wine region in Portugal, one that is authentically Portuguese – free of foreign influence – in its vitivinicultural history. …

Understanding the Port in Portugal

“More than a gift from nature, Port Wine is essentially a historic body, a collective cultural heritage of work and experience, art and skill accumulated over generations. Port Wine is and should remain a key product in the national economy, still representing a symbolic value that distinctly represents Portugal worldwide.” — Port Wine Characterisation and Positioning…