Friday, February 11, 2011

Weekend Homework Assignment: Portugal, Technology, and a Glass of Touriga Nacional

Your homework for this weekend is a threefold assignment. Number one, take a look at Jancis Robinson’s new column in the Financial Times, liked up here. She covers the ever-exciting new wave of wines coming out of Portugal, and her enthusiasm is buttressed, as always, with a healthy dose of experience and tasting. From the great Portuguese grape variety touriga nacional to less familiar but equally impressive ones like trincadeira, touriga franca, and arinto, among many others, her outlook--and, for what it’s worth, mine too--is as sunny as Southern Portugal in the summertime.

Part two of your assignment--and this is the fun part--is to pop the cork on a bottle of Portuguese wine (dry or Port) that you haven’t tasted before: In my experience, the quality-to-price ratio of Portuguese wine is among the best in the world these days.

Finally--and this is a longer, more technical reading assignment--look at the article in the new issue of Sommelier Journal about how technology is affecting and aiding our ability to understand the nature of a particular vineyard’s terroir. It gets a bit detailed, but the point is crystal-clear: Technology, when employed correctly and with respect, can help make wines of terroir more expediently than without these techniques. It’s a wonderful case of unexpected synergy between the ancient and the thoroughly modern.


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