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Surprised by Portuguese Wine And Impressed by Corks

February 6, 2018

Airborne in Lisbon

Portugal is a culture of navigation

Not just corks and Port, but excellent wine comes from Portugal.

I recently met an excellent crew of people in Portugal, where we began a few meals in Porto with Encruzado white wine. Encruzado is a grape, primarily grown in Dão, with a taste that can be sharp or buttery and is excellent with seafood.

Colares wines are also an exploration. This relatively recent article written by Eric Asimov does a better job explaining than I can.

Acidic Vinho Verde from the northwest of Portugal is also a must have.


Corks or screw caps? Your choice, but information about corks interested quite a few readers in a Forbes piece I wrote yesterday (other recent articles include the mother/daughter team running Château Margaux and a Hong Kong stopover for entrants of a grueling round the planet sailing race – the Volvo Ocean Race).

In addition to what I wrote in that piece on corks, Jo Mills of Rippon Wines sent me this information via email. Rippon is located at a stunningly gorgeous patch of land in New Zealand, and the wines they produce are biodynamic. The family also spends part of the year in France.

Only one of our wines, the Rippon Osteiner is under screwcap, all others are under Diam cork. The reds have always been under cork (we moved from natural cork to Diam with the 2004 vintage) while we had a few years (2002-2005) during which time the whites were under screwcap before reverting to Diam for them too.
The Osteiner, for want of a better term and talking to someone based in France, is our ‘vin de soif’ and, until we recently ceased hosting it, was the wine available to 5,000 thirsty festival goers every other February at the Rippon music festival…we return to our love of the label and the bottle and, for this wine, drunk in the year of its production, have decided that the current design and brand, even with a piece of aluminium atop it, is something we would like to keep.
This, then, explains the anomalous use of the screwcap with the Osteiner – no scientific decision, purely one based on aesthetics!
Thanks Jo…and thanks all for tuning into this brief and overdue post!
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