Páginas Livres / Wine Chronicles

Sommeliers / WineAthletes Interviews

I have invited many Sommeliers from all around the Globe to Share a brief Interview!

In this next few pages they will be sharing with us briefly but clearly some of their Free views regarding -Wine & Portuguese Wines!

-Terry Kandylis -
Head Sommelier - Melbourne

  1. – You – Who Are you ?

My name is Terry Kandylis and I used to work in the UK for 10 years before accepting a position with the Lucas group in Australia as their beverage and wine director. Previous workplaces include the 3-Michelin star restaurant The Fat Duck, The Ledbury and my last role in UK was as the Head Sommelier of the 67 Pall Mall club in London.

Unfortunately the situation with the Covid-19 put my move to Melbourne on hold and currently spending time in Greece, where I am from and grew up.


2) – What is your story ?

My story is that I used to study something completely different before falling in love with the wine world. Jumped from the physics department of Athens university into hospitality and then the rest is history. I moved to the UK as the wine market back in Greece was quite restrained and the options to try wines limited. I never regret a day for my decision and enjoyed every single day at work, because I simply turned my hobby into my profession.


3) – One element that pushes you within, through your passion as a wine athlete ?


4) – What does Viticulture represent for you ?

The hardest and biggest step, The beginning of the cycle. Without proper farming and great grapes, you will never manage to make a great wine.

But you can easily make a bad wine out of great grapes.

I really value viticulture and I truly respect vignerons that spend their lives to look after their vineyards in the most sustainable and holistic approach, treating the environment with the respect that the current and future generations deserve.

5) – What Classification would you give to theses 4 elements

(1/2/3/4) :

  • Type of Viticulture – 1
  • œnologique Approach – 2
  • Type Of Winemaking – 3
  • Commercial Approach – 4

As I mentioned above, I value viticulture a lot. More than 70% of the finished product is the efforts that you put in the vineyard whole year round.

But many people confuse farming with winemaking, especially when they refer to ‘biodynamic’ or ‘natural’ styles.

I will give you a simple example. You can have the best organic & free-range chicken in the world and you give it to an amazing chef to cook it. The finished product will be equally amazing. Then you take the same chicken and you give it to me to cook it for you. I might be lucky and cook it well, or just spoil an amazing ingredient because I am not such a good chef at the end. Same could happen with the grapes. Some people are amazing farmers but their winemaking is sloppy and they spoil the beautiful grapes they had in the beginning, either by bacterial spoilage, overdoing things like oak usage or extraction i.e.

So, winemaking decisions and approach is the second & third respectively most important factor that needs to be decided on how you would like to express your grapes and the famous word of ‘terroir’. And if you do well these above, then you are confident to focus on your commercial approach, because it gives you confidence that the finished wine will support you. But many people neglect the fact that labels, packaging and closures are equally important because that’s your brand. And branding is important in a very competitive world that we are living in.

6) – Sulphur, Is it a real question on its own or just a part of the process ?

‘Pan Metron Ariston’ is what my ancient ancestors used to say; meaning everything is great in moderation. I don’t mind Sulfour in winemaking when is done with a way that respects the wine and the consumer. Wines need to travel and without adequate Sulfour levels, unfortunately it doesn’t travel well. But a smart winemaker monitors his/hers additions in a correct manner and timing that allows him to add less, without putting at risk neither of the wine or the consumer. Can mention many winemakers here that maintaining a level of 30-35 ppm is enough to protect their wines and give the chance to consumers to have a similar perspective if they have their wine in Australia or France.


7) – What have you tasted or heard of, as being exciting lately about Portuguese wines?

I am a big fan of the country and have been few times. I love the diversity and uniqueness of terroirs, varieties and of course the history.


8) – What would you like to discover about wine in Portugal ?

I am ashamed to say that I’ve never visited one of my favourite regions in the world, Madeira. So exploring the island of Madeira is what I would like to see next time I visit Portugal.


9) – How or by which means you would like to discover Portuguese Wines ?

Best way is to visit, nothing beats that for sure. Meeting the producers and understanding the regions is the best way to discover the wines of the country and her numerous varieties.


10) – Is there any region in Portugal that interests you particularly ?

Bairrada, Colares, Madeira are few of my favourite regions. And of course, Douro.


11) – Do you have and advice or a demand for Portuguese Winemakers?

To be more confident on their grapes and allow the fruit and the terroir to be shown through their winemaking. To believe more and do less maybe will be my humble advice.


12 ) – Your best souvenir of a Portuguese wine ?

Probably the wine that I will never forget, a 1789 Madeira.


Bonus : Man => translator of Terroirs or  Wine inventor ? 

 Definitely the former…


Terry Kandylis, Greece

- Daniel Pires -
Head Sommelier of Royal Champagne Hotel & SPA

1) – What is your story ?

Daniel Pires, Head Sommelier of Royal Champagne Magnificent hotel, which offers one of the best view points of Champagne. I take care of the wine lists of the 2 restaurants of the hotel, among which one of them has been awarded with one Michelin star a year ago. A wine list with more than 650 references, inside of which, half are Champagne.

2) – One element that pushes you within, through your passion as a wine athlete ?

I have the chance to do a job that allows me to try and taste daily some of the finest and more demanded wines on earth. I am passionate about travelling and finding oiyt how this wines are made. This natural curiosity and thirst of learning is the base of my energy as a wine athlete.

3) – What does Viticulture represent for you ?

Viticulture is the base of it all. For a sommelier, to understand the work that has been done in the vineyard is very important, i twill allow us to understand the vision, style and type of engagement which is the key element for any wine or champagne : The base is on the vineyard, in the grape.

4) – Sulphur, Is it a real question on its own or just a part of the process ?

Sulphur is a real question, you need to have in mind, any wine has naturally no added sulfites already in it. Sulphur allow a protection, mainly from oxydation. Nevertheless when added high amounts, the image of terroi can fade away. A right dose, must be found for each wine by the winemaker, all this on behalf of the image of each wine and respecting its nature.

5) – What have you tasted or heard of, as being exciting lately about Portuguese wines?

I had the opportunity of going two years ago to Simplesments vinho in Porto, in this salon i had the opportinuty of meeting Pedro Marques, vigneron from Vale da Capucha in northern Lisbon area. He has a brilliant signature of his white calcareous wines with great precision, purity, very similar to very high quality wines we could fin in northern regions in France.

6) – What would you like to discover about wine in Portugal ?

Instinctively i would say the Dão region. Back in the day i used to spend all my summer vacation over there because of my family origins. I would love to go deeply into all the differente elements defining this region, and really discover its Terroir from within. It may take some time to do, maybe would it be the reason to launch a « Wine Road Trip » soon !

7) – How or by which means you would like to discover Portuguese Wines ?

Very good question,  as a matter of fact, visiting vineyards , spending time with the Vignerons and learining on site is the best option. Nevertheless Wine salons or Masterclasses also allow us to discover in a same spot may different wines, expressions and winemakers. In any case, the best way of learning and becoming more accurate, is to allow the professionnals themselves share simply and clearly what they do with us.

8) – Do you have and advice or a demand for Portuguese Winemakers?

I woud really like to have more events of Wine salons dedicated to Portuguese wine in France and abroad. We had the opportunity of discovering a lot her ein France with the  « Portuguese Wine Salon » in Paris organized by my dear friend Micael Morais. This way the french public had as i did the great ilmage of a very diverse Wine country. We were able to dicover the amazing and diverse richness of varieties and very multifacetical wines !

11)  Your best souvenir of a Portuguese wine ?

Dão « A Centenária » 2013 of Antonio Madeira, a very small parcel, of more than 120 year old vineyards planted as a field blend, of local varieties on granite soils. A magnificent wine full of energy, sapide and with an amazing finesse with an aging of 18 months on a quite bourguignon style. It calls a new glass after every sip !


Daniel Pires –  Champagne




-Marko Kovac -
Wine Importer / Karakterre

1) – What is your story ?
My name is Marko Kovac. For the last nine years, together with my small team, I’ve been organising and running Karakterre – organic, biodynamic and natural wine festival now based in Vienna, Austria. I believe that throughout this period we’ve become one of the region’s and Europe’s leading wine salons. One can really find the wine avant-garde represented at our salon (kudos to Vale da Capucha for supporting us throughout the years!) Based on this focused profile of growers we gather, we have good folks, professionals and wine lovers alike, coming from literally all corners of the world! 
Then, I work with Gaggan group of restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand, on importing and spreading the word on good wines in that part of the world. Gaggan Anand is one of the globally leading restaurants, so I believe we work on a unique platform in that part of the world. I think we, and a handful of people in Singapore and Hong Kong, are the ones strongest pushing for organic, biodynamic and natural wines in Southeast Asia. We’re actually a rare fine dining restaurant with an all organic, biodynamic and natural wine list in the world overall. 
There’s other projects that I also do. But my year evolves around these two biggest ones. Otherwise, I am Croatian by origin.
I was a journalist back in the day. I used to work for the BBC and one of my colleague-friends, Tin Radovani, was living in London (he still does!). He taught me much about wine, as he did about restaurants in Paris and London. He opened my first French natural wine for me, Puzelat-Bonhomme’s Cot. How amazingly delicious that was! This was now 20 years ago. I was based in Croatia and would travel the region for the weekends, making plans each Monday where to go Friday. The winegrowing regions of Collio and Carso in Italy, as well as Slovenia and Austria as such, were really close to my place. So I visited a lot of winegrowers quite often, as well as restaurants. I got to drink wines from growers like Princic, Vodopivec and Radikon quite often. Another mentor in my beginnings was Valter Kramar of Hisa Franko in Slovenia. Man, he opened some mean bottles for me! So I kept drinking and collecting as a hobbyist. We didn’t call them natural wines back in the day, we just. called them- wines! Tin, one other friend Robert and myself then started an anonymous food blog in Croatia back in the mid-2000s where we would write about our experience, review stuff and point to the best we found on our travels. We were the first such thing in the region! Little anyone knew who we were and there we were talking about some of the world’s leading food and wine. Romantic times without instagram or facebook or even a proper phone camera! 
At some point I decided to make a living out of my hobby. Never looked back, really!I started working professionally with wine a little over 10 years ago, importing organic, biodynamic and natural wines into Croatia and organising Karakterre. It was also around time when I ran into a person, winegrower who is now a huge influence on the way I see things – Sepp Muster in Styria, Austria. I discovered him by chance. One day I took this small Austrian guide and Muster’s description in there was by far the « weirdest ». I went to meet Sepp. There was no turning back, a big turning point in my career. I was shocked to learn that he was selling only to Japan. No one wanted to buy his wines back then! Today he’s one of the biggest growers in the natural wine scene. Now I joke that at that point Croatia was his second market, after Japan, as we used to buy for ourselves and our friends. Me and another friend, Niko, used to carry Sepp’s wines across Europe. People thought we were crazy: two Croatians, showing Austrian Sauvignon – in Paris. WTF! The the whole thing evolved since then and here we are today.
2) – One element that pushes you within, through your passion as a wine athlete ?
What pushes me within is the symbol of organic, biodynamic and natural wine as a very concrete connection to likeminded people and – all of us together – to nature. It is the spirit that these wines have as a result of their connection to a sense of a place. This spirit is able to carry you spaces in your mind you would never imagine. Imagine being 26 in 2004 and drinking sulphur-free wines of Paolo Vodopivec. No social media. That can only be alternate reality. And obviously a strong connection to that Carso soil and Paolo’s « philosophy », as well! 

3) – What does Viticulture represent for you ?

Viticulture for me represents two things. First, a care for nature. And, secondly, a focus on expressing a certain sense of a place, and a certain time of a place, in a bottle of wine (call it terroir?). Non-organic viticulture is not culture for me. It is vitigenocide. One can not make wines of terroir from non-organic vineyards. It’s just impossible.
4)  What Classification would you give to theses 4 elements?
1/ Viticulture
2/ Winemaking
3/ Enology
4/ Commercial Approach
5) – Sulphur, Is it a real question on its own or just a part of the process ?
Sulphur is very much a real question. It definitely alters the taste of wine. The best winegrower will know if his terroir is best expressed by adding nothing or adding little. I do not believe in adding a lot of sulphur. Some winegrowers say they need to add a lot of sulphur so their wines can age. I believe this to be nonsense and have drank delicious aged wines with no sulphur that can prove this theory wrong. I am not a zero sulphur dogmatist. Some wines would definitely be better with a touch of sulphur. But some of the best wines I’ve had have been those untouched by sulphur. It all comes down to the skills of the winegrower in the end. Balance is king, as in life in general.
6) – What have you tasted or heard of, as being exciting lately about Portuguese wines?
MThe organic, biodynamic and natural wine movement seems to be developing in Portugal, too. There are individuals pushing for a more « cleaner » wine future. However, it seems to be slower than other parts of Europe, I must say. If you look at region like Central and Eastern Europe – which is having an organic boom, basically – I have to say that it seems Portugal is a bit slower to adopt and adapt.
Or maybe I just don’t see it around enough? Should the Portuguese winegrowers be going to organic. biodynamic and natural events more- showing their wines or, at least, seeing what the rest of the world has to offer, so to be able to see the full potential? I mean, the restaurant scene in Lisbon has been having a renaissance in the last five years or so. It’s amazing, right? It would be great if that same renaissance would be followed by a more sustainable wine presence, too. That’s what I’d like to discover – more Portuguese winegrowers that care for the environment and the customer to an extent of actually producing wines with less intervention. The market is there and we can’t deny that fact. Also, it would be great if more restaurant and wine professionals showed interest in organic, biodynamic and natural wines. There are great wines available in Portugal, so that decision should be easy.
Honestly, if one is not a corporation (which in turn doesn’t really care about making wine but making pure profit), it is difficult for me to understand why you would not work organically. It is good for the environment, it is good for the consumer, it is good for you. And information certainly is available. The only level more challenging for me to understand than non-organic are those that used to be high on spraying their vineyards with all possible kinds of chemicals and now, all of a sudden, making natural wine, having their vineyards certified overnight, making funky labels etc etc. The conviction to grow organic should be a natural one – not market driven. 
I mean, the only way to do terroir wines is to farm organically and stay pure in the cellar. You can’t call a wine terroir-driven if you’ve sprayed your vineyards with commercial chemicals and then intervened in the cellar, right? And, if you’re a restaurant, do you really want to support farming which is poisoning the land and the environment? For me, that’s a question of personal responsibility! And if you’re a winegrowing region, you would like to show terroir, right? Let’s stop pretending that spraying Roundup & co AND talking about terroir is just not possible, ok?
Maybe people will understand the current virus crisis as the crisis of human identity and loss of connection to nature. Maybe then people will see that it is us to blame for all that’s happening. It is a bit of a depressing note, but isn’t it true, in the end?
Portugal has an amazing potential. An amazing country with amazing nature. You should use it properly. Don’t think about demand-create it.
Marko Kovac – Karakterre

- Solène Bonhumeau -
Deputy Head Sommelier - Paris

1) – What is your story ?

I’ve worked in Burgundy and London (respectively in Le Montrachet and Petrus restaurants, both Michelin starred), then I worked at Quay restaurant in Sydney as Assistant Head Sommelier, then took over the position of Head Sommelier at the Five Fields (one *) in London.


2) – One element that pushes you within, through your passion as a wine athlete ?


The pleasure that I have to share new discoveries with guests and staff in the wine world.


3) – What does Viticulture represent for you ?

Without a good effort in the vineyard, you can’t succeed in making a good wine.


4)  What Classification would you give to theses 4 elements?

This seems like an easy question! 

1°Type of viticulture / 2° Oenologic approach / 3° Type of Vinification / 4° Commercial approach

5) – Sulphur, Is it a real question on its own or just a part of the process ?

It became a real debate with the trend of natural wines but often people are poorly informed about Sulphur. What is really important is the final result in your glass, with a bit or completely without SO2.

6) – What have you tasted or heard of, as being exciting lately about Portuguese wines?

I love the wines from Filipa Pato and also the wines from Dirk Niepoort which are totally off the beaten track.

7) – What would you like to discover about wine in Portugal ?

New winemakers, new trends and also the new generation of Portuguese sommeliers!

8) – How or by which means you would like to discover Portuguese Wines ?

Masterclasses or books are great, but it is true that the best way is to travel through the vineyards of a country and meet other people from the wine industry.


9) – Is there any region in Portugal that interests you particularly ?


I would love to go to Alentejo!

10) – Do you have and advice or a demand for Portuguese Winemakers?

Probably more communication as the very talented but small producers are not very well known outside the country.

11)  Your best souvenir of a Portuguese wine ?

A vintage port tasting of my vintage (1991) from Dirk Niepoort on a terrace, overlooking the Douro Valley.

Bonus : Man => translator of Terroirs or Wine inventor ?

Most definitely the first one ! 

Solène Bonhumeau – Paris


- Emmanuel Cadieu -
Head Sommelier - Paris

1) – What is your story ?

I used to work in Burgundy at Lameloise and at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay (both 3*), then worked in Sydney as Head Sommelier at Felix then Head Sommelier / Restaurant Manager at Est, both venues being part of Merivale, then came back to work at 67 Pall Mall in London as Deputy Head Sommelier.

2) – One element that pushes you within, through your passion as a wine athlete ?

Probably both the pleasure I have at sharing bottles of wines and learning from other people.

3) – What does Viticulture represent for you ?

As a chef could also probably say, you need well grown products to make an outstanding dish, I also believe that viticulture is the beginning of everything, Hard to fail a dish if the product is amazing.

 4)  What Classification would you give to theses 4 elements?

This seems like an easy question! 

1°Type of viticulture / 2° Oenologic approach / 3° Type of Vinification / 4° Commercial approach

5) – Sulphur, Is it a real question on its own or just a part of the process ?

Sulphur is a natural by-product created during the process of fermentation. However, as in politics, extremes are dangerous and everything needs to come in balance. Having worked far away, I did also realize that wines needed to be protected during transport, even in temperature controlled environment, so I don’t mind adding protection with SO2 when 

6) – What have you tasted or heard of, as being exciting lately about Portuguese wines?

Well I’m a huge fan of Madeiras but beside fortified wines, I’m always up for discoveries. The wines from Luis Seabra or José and Diogo Baeta, as well as some of the wines from Dirk Niepoort (not necessarily from the Douro)

7) – What would you like to discover about wine in Portugal ?

I think there are so many different terroirs for me to discover, many of them are underrated. I have the feeling that many winemakers, especially the young generation, are trying to get away from international grape varieties, big extraction and new oak, which I particularly like…

8) – How or by which means you would like to discover Portuguese Wines ?

Nothing better than going to Portugal and hear from locals about Portuguese wines.

9) – Is there any region in Portugal that interests you particularly ?

Probably all the regions where I haven’t been yet but Bairrada is one, because of the cooler climate due to the proximity of the ocean.

10) – Do you have and advice or a demand for Portuguese Winemakers?

I’m not sure I should give any advice to winemakers but focusing on terroirs (which include many things such as soils, vines and viticulture), as well as using local grapes in order to make unique wines with a real identity. 

11) – Your best souvenir of a Portuguese wine ?

Hard to pick one, I always had a fantastic time each time I went to Portugal. Probably between a 1969 red Colares from Adega Viuva Gomes in Portugal (with you by the way) and going through a vertical of Madeira up to 1875 with Luis D’Oliveira in Madeira.

Bonus : Man => translator of Terroirs or Wine inventor ?

Most definitely the first one ! 

 Emmanuel Cadieu – Paris 

4 Seasons = 4 Elements

Nature has its cycles and I believe there are 4 essentials pillars linked from Nature to Wine.

During 2019 we will dedicate various moments to go through each season of the year writing and sharing about each of this 4 essential pillars.


Through out articles, interviews &  press reviews we will go deeply in each Element seen by different eyes and perspectives! You are more than welcome to Join us and also share with Us !

In English & Portuguese !

2019 – A Importância do TEMPO

2019 acaba de nos entrar pela porta e parece-me a altura ideal para refletir no essencial: Os primeiros resultados do ano de 2018 em algumas vinhas.

Mas antes, importa lembrar os efeitos que um determinado ano (Vintage) tem sobre cada cuvéeque experimentamos. E isto nem sempre é tido em consideração, ou até mesmo pensado, aqui em Portugal. A maioria das vendas ainda é feita a pensar no último vintagevendido, ou então presa ao conceito Vintagerelativo aos Vinhos do Porto.

No entanto, é de extrema importância ter este aspecto em consideração quando compramos vinhos ou procuramos vinhos que gostamos, o tipo de perfil que eles apresentam e o potencial desses mesmos vinhos ao longo do Tempo.

O Tempo não é só um elemento de medida, mas uma componente essencial no vinho, tanto pela duração, como também pelas condições meteorológicas.

 O processo de vinificação está sujeito a vários elementos diferentes, mas diria que estão todos intimamente interligados : 

Os Seres Humanos estão no centro do processo de vinificação, uma vez que o vinho não ocorre por acaso. Há uma ligação dinâmica entre as condições meteorológicas, chamemo-las climatologia do ano, a variedade da uva, o tipo de solo e a exposição solar da vinha.

Tanto o Tempo como o Clima são essenciais para a compreensão e apreciação de qualquer vinho. Isto torna-se por demais evidente quando usamos levedura natural autóctone para fazer a fermentação do mosto. 

Ademais, quando compramos vinhos para nosso deleite, para envelhecer ou para oferecer, o ano é um factor extremamente importante na nossa escolha, já que pode determinar o tipo de vinho que estamos a comprar.

Ter todos estes elementos em consideração pode ser altamente complexo e dissuasivo. É por isso que poderá dar jeito ter os profissionais do vinho por perto, essenciais para guiar e aconselhar quando procuramos algo em particular. Até mesmo as aplicações dos telemóveis de última geração têm estes elementos em conta na informação fornecida ao consumidor.

Aliás, não temos a oportunidade de encontrar isto em muitos sítios do país. As listas de vinho mostram apenas o nome do vinho, o vinhateiro ou o enólogo, mas não o ano. As pessoas já não estão mais cientes da influência do ano, procurando agora o mais recente. Há várias razões por detrás deste facto, mas não é o cerne deste artículo.

Dito isto, podemos então começar por espreitar este ano que passou de 2018.                                                   Dada a particularidade do meu trabalho, acabo por estar sempre a viajar e a visitar diversas vinhas por todo o mundo. 2018 foi um ano impressionante em alguns sectores e, na verdade, não foi o mais fácil em Portugal.

Vou começar por algumas das vinhas que conheço melhor e nas quais pude estar presente várias vezes ao longo de 2018.

Na Borgonha, tendo a sensação que choveu ao longo dos 3 primeiros dias do ano, a verdade é que choveu muito e ainda bem, já que ajudou a aumentar um pouco as temperaturas gélidas do inverno. No início de Abril, houve alguns dias soalheiros que também ajudaram a evitar os danos da geada. Em bom rigor, foi um alívio dadas as enormes perdas sofridas em anos anteriores devido à geada.

Também em Champanhe as condições meteorológicas foram bastante semelhantes, antevendo uma promissora colheita. Foi a certeza de um início de ano bastante clemente e quente. O ano prosseguiu sem grandes aflições e conseguiu chegar a Junho e Julho com uma grande harmonia, com capítulos quentes, mas nada de muito exagerado. O resultado deste ano para a colheita foi simplesmente espetacular.

Com óptimos resultados, a colheita de 2018 foi excelente. As condições meteorológicas em Champanhe e na Borgonha foram praticamente perfeitas, com apenas alguns episódios de chuva, mas nada de alarmante como granizo ou outros incidentes.

Por exemplo, em Vosne-Romanée – onde pude estar presente durante toda a vindima – há muito tempo que não se viam condições favoráveis como as de 2018. Os Pinots estavam maduros, sem a pressão de quaisquer doenças praticamente até ao fim, mesmo tendo sido a colheita precoce (20 de Agosto) em locais mais quentes como Corton, Aloxe e Savigny-les-Beaune.

Alguns Domaines aguentaram longos períodos de colheita que se estenderam por cerca de um mês. Esta colheita aconteceu de norte a sul do país em quantidades incríveis, tendo simultaneamente uma qualidade quase irrepreensível. A selecção das uvas foi praticamente desnecessária. Da minha experiência, isto foi algo nunca antes visto e como dizem os anciãos, é algo visto apenas uma vez na vida.

Olhando para Champanhe, 2018 foi um ano incrível de alegria para todos os vinhateiros que assim puderam reconstruir stockssólidos com vinhos de reserva de alta qualidade. Na realidade, as vinhas estavam muito maduras e algumas partes de Champanhe tiveram mesmo perfis mais quentes, pelo que o ano ficou marcado de uma maneira muito especial.  

Além disso, o resultado até agora tem sido muito positivo. Alguns vinhateiros dizem mesmo ter sido um ano excepcional, tendo em conta a tendência dos últimos anos. A época foi praticamente inócua de defeitos e permitiu-lhes trabalhar as vinhas em óptimas condições.

As casas de Champanhes já comunicaram que este pode ser o primeiro Champanhe Vintage da década. A produção foi surpreendente e aumentou 56% em comparação com 2017.

De maneira a ilustrar este tema em detalhe, veja a entrevista a David Léclapart, vinhateiro de Champanhe e Alejandro Muchada, vinhateiro espanhol de San Lucar de Barrameda. Ambos têm um projecto comum na Andaluzia. Tive a oportunidade de acompanhá-los desde o primeiro ano, em 2017, e pudemos trocar muitas ideias. Ideias que partilharei em breve num futuro artigo.

Lisbon, Friday January 18th – 2019

2019 – The Importance of TIME

2019 just rang at our door and it seems to me a right time for us to look back into something essential.  The first results of vintage 2018 in some vineyards.

But before we go through this, it is very important for us to recall the importance of the effect of the vintage in every cuvée we try. It is something that might not always be recalled or thought of,  here in Portugal. Most of the market sales are driven towards the Latest Vintage sold and the concept of Vintage remains only around Port Wine.

  It is a true capital item to take into account when buying wines and looking for the type of wines we like, the type of profile they show off and the potential of this wines in Time.

Time, is not only a measuring element, it is an essential component in Wine, not only as duration but as weather related.

The wine making process is subject to different elements but I would say they are all specifically interconnected :

  • Human beings are at the center of the winemaking process, as wine did not occur just by chance. There is a very linked dynamic between weather, we might as well call it climatology of the year, the Grape variety used for grape growing and the type of soil and sun exposure that that Vine was planted in.
  • Time as weather is essential for the comprehension and the appreciation of  any specific wine. This becomes extremely evident when we use only Natural indigenous yeast to make the fermentation of the must.

Moreover when we buy wines for us to enjoy, age or to offer, the vintage is a really important part of our choice, because this might determine a big part of the type of wine we might be buying. Taking all this elements in mind can become extremely complex and dissuasive. This is when wine professionnals come in hand to give out guidance and advice when you will be looking for something in particular. Even new generations Apps in mobile phones make this an essential part of the information.

As a matter of fact, we do not have the chance to see this, in many places in the Country. Wine lists show only the name of the Brand, Winemaker or Oenologist and not the vintage. People are not aware – anymore – of the influence of the vintage, the one they want is the most recent. This is a fact, and there are several reason behind, but this is not the matter of this article.


This said and having overlooked a brief but clear image of the importance of the Vintage, we may start having a look into our past vintage 2018.

Due to the particularity of my job I get to move out very often to different vineyards in the world. 2018 was a quite impressive vintage in some sectors and actually not the easiest in Portugal.

In order to begin I will start with some of the vineyards I know the most and was able to be present many times during 2018.

In Burgundy, even if we had the impression it rained all through the first three days of the year, there was lots of rain but in a good way it helped to rise a bit the cold winter temperatures. There were some sunny days that also helped to avoid any frost damages at the beginning of April. What a relief after so many vintages suffering big losses from start due to this issue.

In Champagne, likewise, the conditions were quite similar giving out great conditions for a promising harvest. It was a true certainty that the beginning of the year seemed to be quite clement and warm. The vintage went along without much distress and managed to achieve arriving to June and July in great harmony, with hot chapters but not too crazy temperatures. The result of this vintage for harvest was just Spectacular.

As a great outcome, Harvest 2018 was just outstanding. As for Champagne and Burgundy, the weather conditions were almost flawless, just a few episodes of rain but nothing to worry about any hail or any other incident.

Sites like Vosne-Romanée where I was set the full period, the setting was just not common for a very long time. The Pinots were ripe, no pressure of any diseases almost until the end, yet a quite early crop which started around August 20th in few warm spots like Corton, Aloxe and Savigny-les-Beaune.

Some Domaines endured a very long period of harvest that extended almost a month.

This Harvest happened from North to South in quite unbelievable quantities having at the same time an almost irreproachable quality. Sorting tables were almost not even necessary. From my experience it is nothing like what I have seen before and by far as some of the elders said, it is something merely seen once in a lifetime.

Looking back at Champagne this vintage was an incredible moment of Joy for all the winemakers who were able to rebuild solid stocks for their reserve wines along with great quality. The wines were in fact very ripe and some parts of Champagnes had warmer profiles which would mark up the vintage in a very special way. Furthermore the outcome so far has been very positive, some of the winemakers started to talk about a quite unlikely vintage in the last years. The season was almost flawless and winemakers were able to follow the vineyards in great conditions. Champagnes houses communicate about the first vintage champagne they might be making this decade. The Production was quite surprising and went up 56% regarding 2017.

In order to illustrate this further in detail, soon will come a wide interview with David Léclapart, Champagne Winemaker and Alejandro Muchada, Spanish winemaker set in San Lucar de Barrameda.

They have both a common project in Andalusia. I have had the chance to accompany them since their first vintage in 2017. We have been exchanging widely about this subject.

I will share with you this great exchange in a futur article.

Free until the last Drop…

Alejandro Chávarro

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