The Ultimate Portuguese Wine Dinner

The Ultimate Portuguese Wine Dinner

Posted on Apr, 15. 2010 by

Categories: Events

Ok so you walk in the door and you are handed a glass of the 2009 Famega Vinho Verde. Something to sip on while the other guests arrive. Some bread on the table, some oil for dipping, this is a good glass of wine.

Everyone has arrived and you are presented with 2 different white wines, the 2008 Fuzelo Vinho Verde, classic in style, spritzy, light, a gulper, and the 2007 Quinta de Simaens also from Vinho Verde but so differant — there is no spritz on this wine, it is elegant and full of fruit and creamy with a fatness not unlike a good White Bugundy. And from the Alvarinho grape? How on earth? It doesn’t matter because it is good and cost something like $8 a bottle, a good find. These two wines are presented with the first course:

Scallop Ceviche with Electric Szechuan Button

Just a few bites but the Ceviche was exceptional especially with these two wines, two different styles creating two different but equally enjoyable effects. The next wine is poured alone a 2007 Muros Antigos Alvarinho also from Vinho Verde but how could it be, this is an exceptional top level white wine better than the top Albarino coming out of Spain at the same price point, a fine white wine and it should be for the next course:

Tazmanian Crab / Thai Basil Guacamole Stack

Holy Goodness that is amazing crab meat and why on earth have I ever drank anything else with crab meat? The buttery richness of the Avacado and perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked crab (I have already tried this dish and know of what I speak) is cleaned and accompanied by the smooth freshness of this top Alvarinho, this pairing was sublime. I promise to drink only Portuguese whites for the rest of the summer.

A pause. Some of the wine guys get up to speak and answer questions. Some information is given about what we just tasted and as it is I am poured two glasses of red wine the new vintage, 2007 Coreto Lisboa Castelao and the 2007 Quinta Encontro. I have heard of these wines, have the boys down at the Wine Guild talked about them before? I think so, they must be new vintages. They must be pretty strong for them to be breaking them out again, here. What’s this, they are both under $8/btl, that can’t be these wines are amazing. What have I been missing? And then the next course:

Braised Rabbit, Green curry and Carrot Puree

Why do I buy other wine? Why? Under $8/btl those wines blew my mind. How did they think of Rabbit, what a great pairing and yet I believe those reds would have gone with just about anything, they may be the perfect everyday house wine for me. In fact there is no reason why I shouldn’t have a case of each or either on hand at all times, this is a revelation. Is the Coreto still really only $6/btl. How much can I get? And now for the final red, something a bit nicer eh? the 2005 Paulo Lorena Dolium Riserva. I see its a blend of Tempranillo and Touriga Nacional, how interesting, the top wine of the night at under $25 and yet it somehow tastes as though it has pantsed almost every $30 Spanish Temp in gym class at one time or another, Oh but here comes the main course:

Oxtail with Red Bean and salsa Verde

Ok so I see it now, the unbelievable value that Portuguese wine represents in the market. This at only $25 and I have been spending $40 for the same quality in other countries. I have decided that I will learn to braise Oxtails and keep a little pouch of them in my pocket at all times forever, thank you Chef Sebastian. I may buy a case of any Portuguese wine that is offered though the Wine Guild for the rest of my life, I promise to be a better man (or woman), I will loose the weight, I will start saving money. This was the right food and the right wine at the right place in time, wait, did the earth just move? They are serving dessert:

Prailine Dacquoise w/grilled Banana

And pouring the 2003 JP Vinhos Moscatel de Setubal into my glass. I thought they would have done a port…Oh …wait…now I see. Thank you Wine Guild, Thank you Ventana, Thank you tongue and stomach and underlying unity of all things, Thank you!

What’s that? What are Kevin and Will opening over at their table? Honey, I’ll be right back…

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DATE: Wednesday, April 28th
TIME: 6:00 P.M.
LOCATION: Ventana Restaurant – 117 5th Street SE
COST: $65 per person. All inclusive.

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