On Monday 26 June the Portuguese Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission– in cooperation with the Portuguese olive oil association ‘Casa do Azeite’ –presented their ‘Mediterranean Tasting’ in Nuno Mendes’s Taberna do Mercado at Spitalfields Market. The tasting format included two master classes devoted to wines and olive oils, accompanied by Alentejo culinary delicacies. Sarah Ahmed and Teresa Zacarias guided visitors throughout the day, presenting selected wines and olive oils.
Alentejo PDO wines and extra-virgin olive oil
Guests & attendees of the master classes and open-pour tasting included top influencers in the world of wine, such as Jane Parkinson (Janeparkinson.com), Charles Metcalfe (charlesmetcalfe.com), Giles MacDonogh (macdonogh.co.uk) – and many more.
“The masterclass tapped into new trends, broadening perceptions about the wine styles which Alentejo makes today (and to a consistently high standard). Attendees expressed surprise and delight about the sheer range of wines, from fresh, mineral whites to reds that were full-bodied, sleek and sophisticated, more rooted in tradition with rusticity, warmth and charm or a ‘third way’ synthesis of old and new, such as the fresh, light and fruity talha red from 50-60 year old bush vines“, says Sarah Ahmed, who led tasters through two master classes.
Diversity was the watchword on the last Monday in June! The range of wines included grape varieties old and new, from wines made in Talha (the amphoras that were introduced to the Alentejo in Roman times), or foot-trodden in marble lagares, to wines aged in the finest French oak. Selected PGI & PDO wines made from indigenous grape varieties and extra virgin Portuguese olive oils were tasted, along with Mediterranean snacks (petiscos) served by Taberna do Mercado.
The ‘Mediterranean Diet’ was declared an ‘intangible world cultural heritage’ in 2011 by UNESCO. Wine and olive oil are thus the core products for the campaign ‘Tasting Mediterranean’ begun last year, conducted by the Alentejo Regional Winegrowing Commission in cooperation with the Portuguese olive oil association Casa do Azeite. More information is available at www.tasting-mediterranean.eu.
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