Season 4, Episode 1
Vince takes a road trip through Portugal to explore one of the hottest countries in Europe for both wine and tourism! From the beach towns of the South, to the modern yet traditional capital of Lisbon, to the baroque churches of Braga, the scenery is stunning, the wines incredible, and the food fabulous. Most importantly, the people are welcoming and eager to share their history, culture, & wine!
filmed September, 2021 | runtime 56 minutes
GET THE WINE
from the Travel Portugal Episode
The Season 4 Bundle includes TEN of Vince's favorite wines across all SEVEN new episodes of the show! You can also order single bottles if that's more your style.
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Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde
Quinta de Azevedo Vinho Verde Reserva
Gazela Vinho Verde
Silk and Spice Red Blend
Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro White
Casa Ferreirinha Douro Papa Figos Red Blend
Casa Ferreirinha Douro Vinha Grande
Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga
Mateus Dry Rose
Trinca Bolotas Branco
Herdade do Peso Reserve
from the Ensenada/Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico episode
Filming in Valle de Guadalupe, Mexico was on my to-do list for a long time, so you could imagine how excited I was when Josh reached out to help make that dream a reality! As a tour guide he knows all the ins and outs of the Valle and Ensenada, from world class restaurants, amazing bottles of Nebbiolo, to some of the best roadside fish tacos you'll ever have! Of course there were some hard days along the way but it's nothing a bottle of Côte Rôtie couldn't fix! Come along with Josh and I as we talk behind the scenes of filming and remember why the Valle and Ensenada are so special!
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from the Travel Portugal Episode
CAFÉ A BRASILEIRA
This Brazilian café is in downtown Braga in northern Portugal. It's an homage to the Brazilian coffee that the Portuguese having been trading and importing for centuries; don't sleep on the pastries either!
DONA JÚLIA RESTAURANTE
This beautiful restaurant is high on the hill overlooking Braga, and is a perfect spot for a long lunch or more formal dinner. Get the raw cod salad, and I've got 3 words for you - Shrimp. And. Eggs.
RED FROG SPEAKEASY
Don't walk too fast or you may miss the door! Come to Red Frog in Lisbon for some of the best cocktails in the entire country and a dim, speakeasy atmosphere.
FERROVIÁRIO BAR TERRACO
Trendy vibe, great cocktails, views of the port; could you ask for more? Stop in for pre-dinner drinks before going out in Lisbon. Or stay late and party because this place gets super lively and busy!
DUQUE DA RUA
If you don't see Fado (the traditional Portuguese "blues" music) while in Lisbon, you really haven't been to Portugal. This music is so important to Portuguese culture, and this café is a quaint place where local singers and guitarists gather to showcase their amazing talent. Don't miss this bar!
Built in the wine cellar of an old castle, this restaurant in Évora makes the best, traditional, rustic cooking in town. Traditional southern Portuguese dishes done right; don't miss the braised black pork and oxtail.
Known for some of the largest surfing waves on the planet, these are the cliffs you see at the end of the episode. But it's also a cute beach town thats worth a stop!
- Welcome to Portugal! There's no country like Portugal to make you feel alive. The people are welcoming, curious, talkative, always out and about eating, drinking, and celebrating life. They love to share their culture, and it's easy to make instant friends here, especially since almost everyone speaks English. The country is rich in history and must see destinations; from the beach towns of the south, to the modern yet traditional capital of Lisbon, to the baroque churches of Braga, Portugal's got enough to keep one occupied for weeks of exploration. The best part is that it's only about a six hour drive from north to south, which means we can take a road trip through the entire country and its wine regions peppered throughout, which offer some of the best dollar for dollar value wines on the planet. Welcome to Portugal, and welcome to "V is for Vino." ♪ Do you like it ♪ Y'all ready for a road trip? Of all the countries in Europe, I think Portugal may be one of the best self contained road trips. It's only about 350 miles from north to south, and 110 from east to west, which means you can cover a lot of the country in a short period of time. But don't let its size fool you; Portugal has a ton to see and do. The western most point in Europe and the closest European country to the US, Portugal's entire west and south are coastlines. This means that much of Portugal's history and traditions are tied to the sea. The Portuguese Maritime Empire established some of the first global trading networks in the 15th and 16th centuries, leading the way in the age of exploration. But from a wine perspective, the ocean breeze from the Atlantic helps cool down what is generally a hot, wine growing country. The further away from the ocean and the further south you go, the warmer the temperatures become. For a long time, Portugal was only known for Port wine. But in the last 20 years, Portugal has completely transformed their wine industry and is now making some of best underrated table wines on the planet. If you're a fan of bang-for-your-buck wines that over perform for the price, and let's be honest, who isn't, then Portugal is the country for you. Portugal has about a dozen major wine regions and about 30 DOCs, or Denominação de Orijshem Controlada, which are similar to AOCs in France or DOCGs in Italy. They regulate geographic and quality controls. And while Portugal is just slightly smaller than the state of Indiana, it's established itself as a wine making powerhouse. It's 11th in the world in terms of wine producing countries by volume. 11th may not get you up on the podium, but if you compare Portugal to other wine producing countries on the list, it's way geographically smaller. Most of the other countries in the top 10 are much larger than Portugal. France is seven times larger, Argentina is 28 times larger, and the US is over 100 times larger. Needless to say, this country impressively punches above its weight class in wine produced per capita. And while we can't visit all the DOCs in one episode, we'll be driving from the Minho all the way to Alentejo and hitting as many as we can along the way. Our first stop is the far north Minho region, to taste a wine that like the rest of Portugal, has really re-defined its reputation over the last few decades. Vinho Verde, here I come. If you've heard of Vinho Verde, which is a DOC in the Minho region, you probably know it as a lightly carbonated, spritzy, simple wine. And while I love those fun, easy versions of Vinho Verde, there's a new wave of producers making a style of this wine that's more serious and complex. Don't worry, though, they're still half the price of your comparable Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc. I met with my friend Antonio of Azevedo to learn more about the new side of this classic wine. Tell me about the property.
- The house itself is from the 12th century. Back then, we were trying to get our independence, so we were fighting with the Spanish all the time, so we needed to have these kind of castles to protect our country. There would be a lord here protecting this area. It was not a specialist estate in wine, they would have everything, like the cow, the cereals, the vegetable garden, everything, and the wine also.
- In addition.
- Yes, in addition, on top of it.
- But that's amazing that you have a history that goes back to the 12th century of making wine in this area.
- It's incredible.
- Speaking of this area, so we're very far north in Portugal, what makes this area distinct?
- Well, I would say in terms of Portugal is the coolest in terms of temperature area. It's a little bit rainy, as well, so it's a rectangle within a small country like Portugal.
- What do they make, what do they grow here, what grapes?
- Portugal, we use our native grape varieties, so with difficult names, but that make part of our DNA as a wine producing region. So different flavors, we have varietal Alvarinho, which is the same that our neighbors in Spain have, Alvarinho, is the same grape variety, Trajadura-
- But you call it Alvarinho with a V, right?
- Alvarinho, yes, because we are more exquisite, Alvarinho.
- [Vince] So the bulk of what you would see would probably be white.
- White wine.
- Which is Vinho Verde, which is what I think a lot of Americans associate with a light, spritzy, cheap wine, but that's not really what you do here.
- To be fair, that was the beginning. So they had the grapes outside of the property in high trellising systems underneath the shade. So they were not getting enough ripeness, so that style of not having enough ripeness, so lower alcohol, high acidity, some spritziness was the main sale of the region. Several years after, once you planted the vineyards in the right way, in the modern way, you can get enough ripeness to make, I would say, a general white wine. And this is what the region is going to towards nowadays. Our Azevedo Loureiro Alvarinho, from Loureiro and Alvarinho, two grape varieties.
- Two grapes.
- So we blend a lot in Portugal. If you've been traveling, you know that we blend everything, so generally it's difficult to find a varietal wine, a wine from just one variety. So varietal, bringing all the crispiness, all the citrus character, all the white flower aspect that it has.
- Lots of white flowers, lots of lime, lime peel.
- Lime, yeah, and then the Alvarinho brings the creaminess, the texture, peach, yellow peach kind of flavors, and fresh mango.
- Oh, yeah, so lots of tropical on the palate. So the nose is more of that crisp, that floral, and then when you taste it, really, really juicy mango tropical fruit. It's really kind of rich and creamy for that lower style of alcohol, which is really, really nice.
- It can have some touch points with some pinot grigio, sauvignon blanc, some Soave, some wines from the Northern Italy.
- And I appreciate you comparing 'cause I don't like to compare. I don't like to put words in your mouth to compare it, but when these grapes are things that people don't know, it's helpful to give a frame of reference. I love this, I am very pleasantly surprised. I don't know what I expected 'cause I'd only ever had kind of the other style, the light, spritzy, fun style.
- The relaxed style. So this is the Reserva. So the Reserva is from this state, again, it's-
- Oh, completely different.
- Yeah, the Reserva is completely different.
- Much more tropical. It kind of has-
- More dense, more dense. I think it's the other one in bold, I would say.
- The other one, just crank it up to 11, as they say.
- [Antonio] It has a little bit of oak, oak-
- [Vince] Used oak, but.
- [Antonio] Used oak, yeah.
- Any lees contact?
- [Antonio] Yeah, lees contact, and-
- You can taste that creaminess.
- And a little bit of skin contact fermentation, which is not normal in white wine-
- Skin contact, okay.
- A tropical fruit dessert with whipped cream on top.
- Yeah, that's a good, a good taste.
- This is shockingly good, I don't know, like I said, I came in with kind of zero expectations. I hadn't tried these wines. Ask them, I didn't try them at lunch when they poured them 'cause I was like, I want to be fresh when we taste. Oh, delicious, thank you so much for this. This is phenomenal.
- Thank you for-
- And we're spending tomorrow together, too, so.
- Indigenous grapes, what are they? Sometimes called native or autochthonous grapes, these are grapes that are native to the country they reside in. Most of the grapes that we all know are the opposite of indigenous grapes. They're what we call international grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, grapes that have been planted all across the world, taken from country to country, and put in the region that best suits their climate, we all hope, anyway. Compare that to indigenous grapes that, like your buddy from high school living in his parent's basement, never left their hometown. Indigenous grapes may have less caché, are less well known, and have less marketability than their international counterparts, but they are often better suited to the terroir they grow in. There's no better example of this than Portugal, because while some countries may have kept their indigenous grapes, they've often allowed international grapes to creep on in. Italy is a great example, they may lean on Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, which are native, but you can definitely find Chardonnay or Cabernet in Italy in pretty high quantities. Not so much in Portugal. My rule is if I don't recognize the grape variety on a Portuguese label, that's a good thing. Portugal has over 250 indigenous grapes planted, and really have fought against international grapes barging their way in. Their relative isolation, with Spain blocking one side and the ocean blocking the other, also helps. This cuts them off from the rest of Europe. And until the end of the Salazar Regime in the '70s, international grapes weren't even allowed in anyway. So while everyone else was planting French grapes, Portugal was just doing its own thing. Plus, most of the wine was drunk within its borders, so the Portuguese had no one to please but themselves. And in 2021, this adherence to native grapes is finally starting to pay dividends. Consumers are looking for more authenticity and less ubiquitous wines. These grapes are more hardy against climate change. And the reds in particular are exactly what a lot of American palettes love, fruit forward and full bodied. So what are these indigenous grapes of Portugal? Well, for whites, they're things like Síria, Arinto, Fernão Pires, and Alvarinho. For reds, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Castelão, Baga, and Trincadeira. But there is one grape that has a slightly larger reputation than the rest, Touriga Nacional. It's used both for still wines and as one of the primary grapes of Port. It stands up well to the heat that's prevalent in much of this country, and this is Portugal's answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. It's big in body, fruit, tannin, acid, and alcohol. This bold grape has flavors like violets, plums, menthol, chocolate, licorice, blueberries, and slate. It can also stand up both to oak and time in the bottle, which means these wines can be age worthy. So do you need to know the character and profiles of all these indigenous Portuguese grapes? Absolutely not, I certainly don't. Anyway, the reality is that almost every Portuguese wine is a blend, not a single grape. So you're much better off learning Portuguese wines based on place, which coincidentally is how they label their wines, and not worrying too much about the grapes involved. Unless of course, you're the one who always had their hand raised in math class, and then by all means, try and learn all 250 grapes. But for us average folk, we'll be sticking to associating these wines with the place they came from. If all else fails, just start drinking them. These wines are so under-priced compared to other wines in their category that it's easy to experiment with a whole bunch. Bom Jesus do Monte, Good Jesus of the Mount, 577 steps up a zigzagging Baroque staircase that lead to a basilica on top that overlooks the city of Braga. Braga is the largest city in the Minho region, and the third largest city in the country after Porto and Lisbon. It's known as the religious center of Portugal because it has the highest concentration of religious buildings in the country, from Roman temples to Baroque monuments. There's also a large university here, and like anywhere else in Portugal, coffee and a ton of places to consume it. Don't tell the French or the Italians this, but the Portuguese claim to make the best cup of coffee around, and they tend to take their breakfast at cafés or pastelarias rather than at home. So to try and fit in, I met Antonio at a local spot to get my coffee and pastry fix for the morning.
- [Antonio] This is a special blend, the beans of the coffee, it's a special blend for the house.
- Oh, that's good, that's really good. The Portuguese coffee culture is no joke. If you go outside, even if it's not a coffee shop, they're serving good coffee everywhere.
- I heard we are top two or three countries who have more coffee outside home.
- The Portuguese believe that they have the best coffee around.
- No, we believe that, we believe that. In Italy, we have get coffee, as well, but in Spain, I'm sorry.
- [Vince] Yeah, is there a place they're getting the beans from primarily?
- Yes, we have importers and we have historically a presence in the countries that produce coffee because our discoveries time in, so we created those commercial routes and we brought coffee to Europe, so.
- So the same places that you traditionally got them from, you're still getting them from now.
- We have historical relations, so with Brazil, that's why we are in Brasileiro with Brazil, of course.
- I like Italian coffee, it's so short, it's hard. It's almost like a challenge to drink. I love this, this is kind of, the mouthfeel on it is really rich and creamy, compared to some other espresso. All right, so this is pasteis de nata, which is everywhere I've gone, every city, every small town, this is the pastry.
- This is the pastry.
- What is it?
- The Portuguese pastry, so we have the origin is in Lisbon, in a place called Pastéis de Belém, so it's a very thin pastry, and outside-
- It's like a flaky kind of crust.
- Yeah, flaky crust, and then a cream inside with eggs, a custard, I would say.
- And the inside is super custardy, egg yolk, and cinnamon, a good amount of cinnamon. And then I like that they get kind of this caramelized texture on top.
- And wonderful pairing with an espresso.
- I feel like everywhere I've gone, everybody is beyond nice. Everybody speaks English, everybody is happy to show off their culture and to help you-
- No, we are proud, we're proud in our country, yeah.
- It really, really is that, and I'm not exaggerating when I say that, and it's one of those X factors that you get in a country that I never expect, but is really important if you come as a visitor.
- [Antonio] Yeah, of course.
- Is you want people to be excited to show off.
- To show you.
- And also be willing to at least try and guide you through the menu with the language barrier. I think it's very nice.
- We love to show our country and our food and one of culture.
- Before I knew it, it was time for lunch at the Braga restaurant, Dona Julia, to try some classic northern Portuguese dishes, and as always, some more wine. All right, what do I have?
- [Antonio] So we have Gazela on a can.
- In a can.
- In a can.
- Now, why did you choose to throw this wine in a can?
- It's a low ABV wine, kind of spritzy.
- And it's semi spritzy.
- So it makes all the sense to have it in a can, to have it in a relaxed consumption moments with friends, without thinking a lot about wine and having just fun.
- And what is this?
- This is the Portuguese traditional bacalhau. It's a small cake with codfish and potato.
- It's interesting to me because you see the fish in the stores and it's completely flat, and then when you get it, yeah, when you get it in a difference, it looks like a hunk of sea bass. And then for this, they take that fish and they mix it and then they fry it like a fritter.
- [Antonio] Yeah.
- Little did I know, lunch was just getting started. The Portuguese do not mess around when it comes to lunch. This is eggs with shrimps, and that's a thing I know they do in Spain, obviously here too, egg is a lunch dish?
- Yeah, something for lunch, yeah.
- Yeah, you can have eggs at lunch. This is gonna be my favorite 'cause I love when you have the fried-
- [Antonio] Very small sardines?
- Yeah, they're like the best french fries you ever have.
- 2.0 version of a fry.
- Yeah, yeah, yeah, and then this is-
- It is a salt cod, you just season it with olive oil and the vinegar, add some onion and a little bit of traditional bread, mix it all, it's a salad.
- [Vince] Oh my gosh, I love it, I love it.
- It's a crudo, it's raw, yeah. So we have here our Gazela, okay-
- [Vince] And this is what we just had in the cans.
- We brought consistency to the traditional south. So it's always a wine with low alcohol degree, low calories, by the way, which is in fashion now, right? Spritzy, made out of Portuguese grape varieties.
- Semi, it's not super spritzy the way even a Prosecco or a champagne would be. It's just a little bit of that spritz for texture.
- Should be between zero and 10 in terms of intensity of aromatics, should be an eight.
- It's got a bit of that lemon lime soda thing going on, just really fun. This is an institution in this country, correct, this wine, the Italians have the spritz, the Portuguese I think have Gazela. It's like you can find bottles anywhere.
- [Antonio] Everywhere.
- It's accessible, it's for aperitif, it's for casual dinners, it's for anything.
- It's even for everything we do, friends, just in the sun, and relaxing.
- Oh, that's really good. I love that because the bread soaks up the vinegar and the olive oil, the salt cod kind of bring a little bit of that saltiness, obviously that fish flavor, and as expected, perfect with this wine. You can't get better than something high acid like this, fried food, acidic food, fatty food, a little bit, 'cause you add olive oil-
- And then we add the creaminess, the creaminess-
- Yeah, creamy.
- Of the egg yolk and the-
- And it's why, as winos, we love acidic wines. When you've got a lot of dishes on the table, you usually can't go wrong with a high acid wine. They pair with salty fried foods, fatty foods, and acidic foods. And you know what's awesome, is this place is a high-end style place, and I have no problem having all these dishes with this wine, which is a really entry level, easy wine.
- You're okay, you're okay. You're in Portugal, there's no problem-
- [Vince] No rules.
- No rules, you can do whatever you want.
- [Vince] Next was the classic dish of red wine braised goat called shoau-fana, entrecôte, which is the French word for rib eye steak, rice with beans and cabbage, broccoli, and wild mushrooms.
- First, talking about the wine, this is our Silk & Spice. When you look at Portugal as a red wine country, you see that we blend almost every time. So basically it's a Touriga Nacional and Baga, but basically, this is a wine that came not from only a region, but from different regions of Portugal.
- So it's a blend of grapes, but it's also a blend of several regions.
- It's a dense, intense red wine to go with hearty, meaty food. So ruby, deep ruby color. Silk & Spice, it's like an homage to our commercial routes back in the-
- [Vince] Sure, your spice trading and your-
- Yeah, spice trading, and we tried also to bring those kind of aromatic environments to the wine, so the silky-
- And the spiciness of the wine.
- The first thing I got, besides, I got some really generous ripe plummy fruit, but then I get some smoke. I get some smoke.
- Yeah, some smoke. Some sweet vanilla, some maple syrup, some juiciness.
- I know this wine, too, this is always in all the best buy lists. When they have top 20 wines under this, or top 100 wines of the year, it's always in one of the best value wines for what it is.
- We're just taking advantage of our experience in blending and frame it in a modern way, using our Portuguese grape varieties. This is important because we're not doing it with Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. This is our grape varieties, so they add a layer of originality, of a sense of place, and that's important.
- Hearty braised dishes and steaks need a big red wine to match the weight of the food, plus tannic wines love fatty rib eyes, and are a classic pairing. Can we also talk about, by the way, lunch is a big deal in Portugal.
- Lunch is an institution.
- You said even some of the other European countries, you start to see the lunch fade, here-
- But in here, we're keeping our lunch.
- And they do, these guys over here, drinking during lunch, cigars, and then they went to scotch at lunch, I love it. Hey, Vino fans, I want to talk to you about signing up for Vino VIP, and since I don't want to bother you with a ton of commercials while you're trying to watch the show, I'm gonna put all the cliche marketing angles into just this one, here we go. I know we come off as a big production, but the reality is the entire operation is myself and a few other part-time employees. We're not affiliated with a studio or TV channel. We really want to keep the show going, but literally can't do it without your help, so please, if the show is entertaining to you, helped you learn or pass a wine exam, if I've answered your DMs and questions, or if the show's just brought you value in any way, support the small business that provided it and join Vino VIP, which is our very own membership program. If you enjoy the show, joining Vino VIP is a must anyway. Membership starts at just $5.00 a month, and here's some of the benefits, early access to all our videos, including new episodes of the show. Every quarter I host a virtual tasting and Q&A, just for VIP members. Every month, we raffle off wine glasses and prizes, and once a year we even have a big winner who gets a personalized tasting where I send wine and food to your house and host a tasting for you and your friends. Plus, if you're a Gold member or Platinum member, you get your name in the credits of an episode, kind of like this. I never want to charge for individual episodes, or worse yet, be unable to make the show at all, but that's why we need support from those of you who can. It's only $5.00 a month, which is less than a Starbucks coffee, so it's really in reach. Everybody assumes that their support won't make a difference, but I promise you, it does. Look at all this pretty members-only content you're missing out on, behind the scenes videos, episode commentaries, and full length interviews that can be nowhere else but our member's only section. The first month is free, you literally have nothing to lose. I know this was long, but everything I just said is 100% true. We have tens of thousands of fans, and even if a small percentage of you joined, we could keep making videos for you in the longterm. And the last perk is that you can start watching episodes in the member's section and you don't have to hear this pitch or see ads ever again. Thank you to our existing Vino VIP members and thanks for considering joining. We hit the road for our next big stop on this trip, Porto, the second largest city in the country. This town is known for its Port wine houses, but while Port may be aged in the city, the grapes are grown about 60 miles east in the Douro Valley, and this area is probably the most famous Portuguese wine region, though for a long time, only because it grew the grapes for Port wine. But over the last 20 years, the still wines from this region are gaining international acclaim and have really come into their own. Luis has witnessed this evolution firsthand, and is the winemaker for both Ferreira Port wine, and their table wines, Casa Ferreirinha. So he met me while we were in Porto to taste through some tables wines from the Douro. The Ports have been made for hundreds of years, but these style of wines are relatively new.
- New, yes, relatively new. Casa Ferreirinha, it has been one of the first pioneer producing Douro wines.
- Well, what I didn't realize until I came here is that the Douro is huge.
- 280,000 hectares of area.
- Total area.
- And what is really something I think people need to know about Douro wines, and I'm gonna say this a lot as we taste, is that they are just such a tremendous value, wines that often retail for $20 or less in America, they drink two to three times their price.
- So we start, Papa Figos. In the case of the Papa Figos, the Papa Figos is going to found grapes in high altitudes, usually five, six different varieties to put to that wine.
- [Vince] Like most Portuguese wines, it is a blend.
- Yes, it's a blend of different varieties, and this has been in celestial tank.
- So you know what I love about this? It reminds me a little bit of other warm climate whites, so maybe like southern Rhone, but with maybe a little more acidity.
- I feel here a lot, some floral and some white fruit.
- [Vince] White peach.
- Yes, melon also there-
- Melon, yeah, sure.
- At the same time, some minerality. The Papa Figos red, made again with varieties from same subregion, from Douro Superior. What we do here is to try to have a blend between high and the not so high altitude to have some body, some structure, but at the same time, a quiet good finish, a good acidity.
- [Vince] Just the minerality to this from-
- Some minerality, yes, also like in white.
- Fun, fresh, really, really juicy.
- Some black fruit aromas, some balsamic aromas, like cedar. One of our oldest wine, Vinha Grande, I vote to leave more time in bottle, and I vote to prepare with a more sophisticated food, and that wine, we do a stage in oak.
- [Vince] How long?
- [Luis] French oak during 12 months.
- [Vince] 12 months in oak?
- [Luis] 12 months, yes, yes.
- You do get a little bit of that baking spice.
- The oak is there, not very present, but it helps the complexity.
- It's also softer, it also helps soften the wine. And fruit character to me is a little bit riper, a little bit darker, so wet leaves, soil, mushroom.
- Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
- Yeah, absolutely, and like you said, as you lay this down, that fruit will start to fade a little bit and you'll get more and more of that.
- Yes, yes, yeah. And now, to finish with the Callabriga. With that wine, you try to pair some wine with something similar with that wines produced in the new world, which usually are wines with a lot of fruit and oak, a little bit more present, some cacao, some chocolate.
- Yeah, I mean, and it's absolutely still fresh, but you're right, the acidity's a little toned back. The fruit character, I'm now in blackberry land. The spice is kind of dark, I get those clove notes, those allspice notes.
- All of these wines are made only with Portuguese grape varieties. In our opinion, we have more chance if we use our own varieties than if you use French varieties or other varieties, and who wants to taste a Portuguese wine made with Cabernet Sauvignon, I think no one-
- Listen, who needs another Cabernet Sauvignon in the world, nobody, we have enough of this.
- So, but those-
- I'd much rather have this.
- And that was the reason why we only used Portuguese grape varieties in our wines.
- When everybody else is trying to market, they're trying to go for whatever's marketable, whatever is sellable, I love that Portugal has stuck to their guns and says, "No, we're making the wines that we've made forever, and if you want to enjoy them with us, please feel free, but we're not"-
- Thank you.
- Thank you for this.
- Thank you very much.
- Thank you.
- [Vince] Next stop, Portugal's capital, Lisbon. If Lisbon isn't on your list of places to visit, you may want to reconsider your list. Of all the European cities I've come upon, Lisbon is one of my absolute favorites, and it grows on me each time I return. I'm a sucker for the endless labyrinth of alley ways that connect massive, expansive squares. The hills with rattling trolleys ferrying locals up and down remind you of San Francisco, while the bone-white cathedrals that dot those hills remind you of your favorite cities in France. It's packed with cafes, restaurants, and bars where locals pair their libations with every type of canned and fresh seafood imaginable, in addition to the hearty sausages and meats and cheeses to soak up the next day's hangover. Its sidewalks are full of color, tiles, and patterns. You'll catch yourself constantly looking down at the ground, only to then look up and then see similar mosaics on the buildings. Musicians sing Fado music in cozy bars, and street performers inhabit open spaces. The older generation in this town can still remember its colonial past and living under dictatorship until the '70s, while the younger generation fills the community with hope and optimism for the transformation they're witnessing in their country before their own eyes. The city can be peeled back like layers through time as you explore the architecture, museums, theaters, and monuments. In a country that was once the worlds richest empire, Lisbon was at the center of it all. But after all it's been through, it knows what it is at this moment. It's a city that relies heavily on visitors. Tourism has become an economic mainstay of the city, and seeing as I was visiting in 2021, after what one may call a rough year of travel, I found that everywhere I went, I was greeted with a smile, though that's pretty much the norm in Lisbon, anyway. As Lisbon transforms into a more modern city, so do its bars and restaurants. The Red Frog is a speakeasy in the Bairro Alto neighborhood. Using classic Portuguese ingredients, Port for instance, they put their own mark on the world's craft cocktails scene. It was rated best bar in Lisbon a few years back, so naturally, I found myself in for a drink. I love it, it's like counterintuitive marketing. It keeps this mystique around the bar.
- Yeah, so this is a speakeasy. So the tourist speakeasy, normally you don't see from outside.
- [Vince] Let's do some cocktails.
- [Paulo] Yeah, yeah, so let's do something with wine.
- I appreciate you keeping in theme.
- [Paulo] Yeah, so it's green wine, so green wines regions.
- [Vince] Yeah, we were just up there a couple of days ago.
- This is the south wine, it's fresh. Sometimes you can have fruity notes or some acidity also, so that is very good for any cocktail. So this is a white, we want to keep it light, we want to keep it fresh, we want to keep it simple. So what we make is a cordial. So we use a tonic water, but then we flavor the tonic water with lemon verbena, apple, cucumber, and a little bit of citrus.
- Oh, cool.
- So this is gonna give you freshness and also a little bit of bitterness, our take with Gazela.
- Thank you, I'd cheers you, but you're working, so I'll drink for you.
- So, yeah, so that is, you're gonna drink, it's something you can drink one, two, no problem. It's gonna be light, so if you're in the pool-
- Oh, yeah, I can.
- [Paulo] So.
- Well, and what a lot of people don't understand about cocktails is that it's a lot of the same thing we're looking for in wine, which is balance. You want to balance your acid, your sweet, your body, it's a lot of the same principles. I don't think, I don't see anybody not liking this. I guarantee you, this has never gone out and got sent back.
- [Paulo] No, no, no, no.
- So what time do the bars get busy here in Lisbon?
- [Paulo] Normal busy is after nine, after 10.
- Yeah, it's a late town. It's not just a late town in going out, it's a late town for everything. Breakfast is late, it's like at 10, and then lunch is late, and then dinner is late, and then the bar is late. So you guys just moved everything a couple of hours down. I love this town, it's quickly becoming one of my favorite in Europe.
- We're gonna always have new things to see, new things to do because it's a city, but also you have the sea, we have Monsantos, our green parks. The weather is good, the food is good. It's still a very cheap country, I think, price, money is very, very-
- Yeah, for us Americans, especially.
- Yeah, everybody who comes to here is gonna be, enjoy it. So for our second cocktail, we're gonna make something more traditional. So one of the most iconic cocktails, classic cocktails is the Porto Flip. For one of days, the creamy cocktails, and especially in a summer country, is something people are not-
- Yeah, the egg makes it light.
- Yeah, how can we recreate the Porto Flip in a modern way? Using the Port wine, in this case we use Sandeman, the Tawny, and then on the ruby, we make something different. On our left, we have rotovap. So what we've done, we blend Port wine with one of our most iconic desserts, the custard tarts, the pasteis de nata. So we blend it and then we distill it.
- So wait, wait, wait, you blend the Port with-
- [Paulo] Custard tarts.
- With the custard tart and then you distill it?
- For the taste, it's gonna be more clean, you're gonna have the kind of creaminess of the egg, but in this case, of the custard tart.
- Oh, cool, oh my gosh, that's really cool. I love it, 'cause blending the two Ports, first of all, you get the nuttiness, but you also get the fresh fruitiness from the ruby, and like you said, that distilled spirit just gives it that creaminess. Sometimes I'm nervous to go to a cocktail bar and ask for a dessert cocktail because it's gonna be a chocolate martini or an espresso martini, it's really thick and weighty, but this is really light. The accolades are well deserved, thank you, man. Cheers.
- You're welcome, welcome. ♪ I like it, baby ♪
- [Vince] Did you guys know that on our website, we have the places we've visited listed on each episode's page, the wines we drank available for sale, and our VIP section with bonus videos? I just thought I'd let you know. If you ask your parents if they know any Portuguese wine from when they grew up, they'd probably say Port. If you asked them besides Port, they'd likely say Mateus. It was rosé before rosé was cool, and one of the first successful international rosé brands to exist, and it was created by the great grandfather of Mafalda Guedes, who I met for lunch at one of the many rooftop bars in Lisbon, Ferroviário Bar Terraço.
- So we have some Mateus dry.
- This wine has a lot of history, I think, with the Portuguese wine culture, correct?
- Yeah, it's a very iconic brand. So it was created in 1942 by my great grandfather. So in the middle of the Second World War, he launched a rosé wine, which was not very typical at the time.
- It wasn't like today, where rosé is everywhere.
- No, I think it was one of the first rosés ever, and it was a success, but we have the shape of the bottle, which was very exquisite, so-
- [Vince] Yeah, let's talk about the shape, 'cause this is super unique, this shape. How did it come about?
- It was inspired to the canteens of the soldiers from the World War.
- Oh, interesting, and what are these little guys? I like these little ones, these are great.
- These are amazing, I really like this. It's very easy to just take, grab, open the bottle-
- [Vince] Yeah, I was gonna say, this is a to-go thing-
- It's a . My sisters and my cousins, we all invited some friends for a huge party with our wines, and we had this huge fridge, only with these small bottles, and everyone was drinking the wine. So everyone was having the straws and everyone was drinking, and you just go into the fridge-
- I love the idea of you opening a fridge and there's just nothing in there but these little bitty bottles-
- But it was like that, and even in the picture, it looked amazing. I really like this wine.
- Good citrus flavors, good kind of white cherry, a little bit of peach notes. It's really just a great, it's what I want from rosé. So an astronaut spoke about it and he said he wished he had a bottle while he was looking up at Earth from space. There's some cool stories like that, it really has this kind of air of mystique around it.
- We have pictures of Queen Elizabeth drinking, Jimi Hendrix, and it's an Elton John song. So it shows that this wine actually, it went all over the world.
- You're coming for America, what would you want people to know is special about Portugal?
- You have so many different places in Portugal, and they're so different from each other. So you go up in the North Portugal, is very typical region, people are very welcoming.
- It's really such a culture of, let me show you this, I'm happy to help you, let me help you through the menu-
- [Mafalda] And they'll take you.
- What do you want to eat?
- If you ask them, "Where is this place," they'll just walk you there and they'll show you everything around. And you go, compared to Lisbon, it's such a beautiful city, full of life, full of night life, and then you go down to south, to Algarve, so you have the amazing beaches. I think the good thing about Portugal is it's so different from, each city is so different from each other.
- Porto, there's Lisbon, there's Alentejo, there's up north, but they're all very close. In the time it takes me to drive Cleveland to Chicago, which is six hours, I can do the whole country of Portugal.
- It's very easy, and that's the good thing, is you can go. A funny thing about the wine and when it was launched by my great grandfather is that he sent two bottles of Mateus to every Portuguese ambassador around the world, and he said, "Try a bottle. If you like it, share it with a friend." So it was a marketing-
- Guerrilla marketing, yeah, yeah.
- And at the time, it was really novel to do this, and so he got people trying the wine, just by a word of mouth.
- Somebody who worked really, really hard to produce a brand, to market a brand, and unfortunately, they never get to see what it is today, but it's really amazing that you do.
- That's why it's so important to us, because it started small, it started with a passion for the wine, for the products, and it grew so much, and for us, it's something that makes us really proud.
- Welcome to the "V is for Vino" Nerd Lab. We take complicated wine topics and make them simple. Today we're talking about wine glasses.
- [Announcer] Wine glasses.
- Plastic cups, coffee mugs, solo cups, mason jars, tumblers, technically, anything can be a wine glass if it can hold wine. And while wine glasses vary from really small to really, really big, some companies even make different glasses for each different grape, and while that may be a bit extreme, there is some science that says certain wines are better in certain glasses, but before we chat about that, let's talk about what we should look for in every wine glass. Number one, we want a clear, unobstructed view of the wine and color, so that eliminates etchings and painted glasses. Number two, we want it to be large enough to be able to swirl without spilling, and why do we swirl? In science terms, chemical compounds created during fermentation bond to the alcohol molecules. Trace amounts of alcohol molecules start to evaporate upon contact with oxygen when you swirl. This carries the alcohol molecules and the flavor aromas up into your nose. In non-science terms, it makes the wine smell nice. If you don't believe me, next time you have a glass of wine, smell it and then smell it again immediately after swirling. This automatically eliminates some traditional styles of wine glasses, like Port wine glasses, yes, even for Port, and small wine glasses. Number three, we want the bowl to be large enough for the aromas we release during swirling to be partially captured and contained so we can smell them. So while flutes may do a good job preserving bubbles in sparkling wine, they do a terrible job allowing you to smell and appreciate the wine. Think about it like this, which candle is gonna give off more aroma, this skinny one or this fat one? Number four, we want a stem. I know stemless glasses are trendy and easier to wash, but they make it hard to swirl. You get fingerprints on the bowl, and you warm up the wine from your body heat 'cause, you know, red hot. And number five, we want glass or crystal, no plastic. Plastic can warp, it gets cloudy and stains over time, and may even leach chemicals into your wine. As far as crystal or glass, crystal is known as the best. It's light, thin, while still strong and refracts light better. But it's also more expensive, and if you're like me and have a bad habit of breaking things, glass can work just as well, and because it's cheaper, you're not so upset with yourself when they inevitably end up shattering. Why? So we're left with three different glasses, and if you have these three, I don't think you need any others. First are your white wine glasses, whose name is a bit deceiving because I think it should be used for a lot more than that. I use these glasses for light to medium bodied whites, dessert wines, rosés, and yes, even sparkling wines. The smaller bowl keeps the wine cold longer, while still hitting all our points from before in regard to aromas. It's a good balance of bubble preservation and aroma capture for sparkling wines and a good size to keep high alcohol wines Port and Madeira far enough away from your nose so you don't burn it from the alcohol. Next are your burgundy glasses, which are for the two grapes of burgundy, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and also a few select other grapes. But this translates to a full bodied whites and light aromatic reds. The super wide bowl allows the delicate aromas from these wines to accumulate and then be funneled right into your nose, and the wide rim spreads the wine across the front of your palate when you sip to better appreciate the more subtle wine. Finally, you have Bordeaux glasses for medium to full bodied reds, things like Bordeaux blends, cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Tempranillo, basically any red that isn't Pinot Noir. The extra distance between your nose and the wine provided by the glass helps tame down the intense alcohol so you smell the flavors and not the booze, and the smaller rim helps direct the wine to the back of the tongue, which minimizes bitterness from tannins. If you insist on only one glass, and I don't blame you if you do, look for what we call an all purpose glass, which is in between the sizes of a white wine and a Bordeaux glass. And while I do recommend using a wine glass to drink wine, I won't hold it against you if you find yourself drinking out of something else.
- I hope you learned a bit about wine glasses, and as always, keep geeking out. Our next stop was the Alentejo region, to a town called Évora. While this city may not be as famous as other Portuguese cities, it's another must see. The roots of this town date back 5,000 years, and it's incredibly well preserved. The city is enclosed by medieval walls, and you can find a Roman temple, the temple of Diana, in surprisingly good shape. There's some pretty remarkable cathedrals, and for you thrill seekers, the Cappella dos Ossos. This is a chapel decorated with the bones of 5,000 people from church graveyards that were overflowing in the 17th century. As you walk in, an inscription over the door reads "we bones that are here await yours," just in case you were having too much fun sightseeing and needed to be reminded of your own mortality. Alentejo feels different than the rest of Portugal. It's the newest it spot for wine lovers, about 1/3rd of Portugal's wine comes from here. Its southernly inland location keeps it hot and dry during growing season, which makes it great not only for grapes, but one of wine's most important, under-appreciated commodities, cork. Much of Alentejo is home to huge cork tree forests. This region actually produces about half of the worlds entire cork supply. Most importantly, Alentejo has a distinct style of cuisine, different from the rest of the country. This is the land of tradition. While Lisbon embraces modernity, Alentejo dives deeper into the recipes they've been making for generations. It's known as the breadbasket of Portugal because of everything grown and harvested here. No fuss, hearty food developed from poor farmers trying to stretch their ingredients and waste nothing. Rustic breads grace every table, olives and really good olive oil, wild mushrooms, lamb, cheeses, and most importantly, pork, specifically, black pork, a type of meat from the free roaming pigs in the region that have a diet rich in acorns that fall from the cork trees, which make the meat particularly succulent. Where does one go to try these dishes? How about a place as old as the traditional cuisine it serves, a the wine cellar of a 16th century castle that's been repurposed as a Cafe Alentejo by owner Rita. And for the wine, my friend Luis from Herdad do Peso.
- [Rita] This is a salad with tomato, figos, ham, cheese.
- [Vince] Now is this the ham, is this the black pork?
- The black pork, yes.
- Yeah, and that's famous for here.
- This is very traditional in that part of the season.
- The cheese in Portugal, finally in the last few days, I've been starting to sample, it's amazing.
- [Luis] It's amazing.
- It's amazing, we've gotta do some wine, yeah?
- [Luis] Of course.
- I'm gonna be honest, I don't know a lot about Alentejo in general, as a region, as a place.
- Well, this is incredible heritage. This is in south of Portugal, and is a region where you have incredible sense of place, incredible sustainable agriculture.
- Oh, this is lovely, I'm on the nose still.
- This is a blend of the two varieties. One gives you body, the other gives you acidity, freshness.
- And what I will say about the whites, I've now have a good amount of Portuguese whites, the whites are fun, and because they're blends, all the wines are pretty complex. Even the lower end white wines are really complex.
- Portuguese wines are blends. Portuguese wine makers are blenders, definitely.
- I get these cool melon flavors you might get from a Marsanne or a Roussanne.
- This is a hunting pie.
- So it's like a meat pie. These seem like already we're kind of in very traditional dishes.
- And that wine is the reserve from Herdade Do Peso. What it means is a blend of the best blocks, but four varieties.
- Oh, wow, the nose just blasts out of the glass. Lots of violets, lots of plummy, lots of black fruit.
- Well, Alentejo is that, good and red wine in Alentejo, it's big, big wines, very low intervention in wine making. We try to bottle the sense of place.
- All these are 90 plus score wines. You would have to spend a lot of money to get that from most California wine regions. Here, the great value.
- It's natural, you have a natural , like French say.
- How would you compare the red wines of Alentejo, if you had to put it on par with similar to another region?
- I would say our region has the best style.
- You do, just say, yeah.
- Another plate, this is migas, the traditional dish of Alentejo, made with the breads, the rest of the pork.
- Very good, and then we got more pork, of course, because why not. Oh, this is spicy, I like it.
- It's a blend of Alicante Bouschet and Syrah.
- And I also get a little bit of balsamic notes, which are-
- Balsamic comes from Alicante Bouschet, and spicy from Syrah.
- [Vince] Yep.
- And here you can feel one more time the freshness of our subregion, warm region, but cool nights, and you have the acidity.
- I'm loving this style of food they have here. It's very American comfort food. So the first one was a pot pie. This reminds me, this is like stuffing, and then this pork is so nutty and delicious and flavorful.
- And the last one, this is our style of , oxtail with Alentejo red wine.
- Well, last one is a Herdade Do Peso icon, 2014. It's from a special plot we have of the Alicanto Bouschet, and normally, after some years, goes very, very well.
- Well, here you have complexity, you have an elegance, you have the sense of place.
- So a lot of what I got from the other ones, I get the spice, I get the balsamic, I get the plummy fruit, I get the flowers, and mulberry fruit.
- Long in mouth.
- Really, really long finish, really, really long, really rich. I'm really happy we ventured this far south because this has been one of the best meals I've had. I love this kind of rustic cooking, and more importantly, all the wines are gorgeous, so cheers.
- Thank you very much.
- Thank you so much. Luis was so excited about his wines, and rightfully so, that he couldn't help but share some with the crew. They normally wait until after the cameras are off, but when the winemaker's pouring, you don't say no. Broken hearts, longing, resignation, and lost youth. This is the music of Fado, the most iconic living art coming from Portugal. The blues music of the Portuguese, it features an emotional singer accompanied by a traditional 12 string guitar, and I appreciate that there are still spots that keep this tradition alive. But what's ironic is that today's Portugal doesn't seem to carry much of that sentiment. At least, not the Portuguese people I met. The Portugal I've come to know is welcoming and warm. They're optimistic about their future, their culture, and their wines. They appreciate the land and the diversity their country offers, and they want travelers like me to experience it as well. The crew and I were in Portugal for two and a half weeks, and there isn't much a travel lover could ask for that couldn't be found here. Is it the best kept secret in Western Europe? Eh, I'm pretty sure the secret's out, but I will say this, I wouldn't hesitate to put Portugal on even footing with the Frances and Italys of the world. But don't take my word for it, come decide for yourself. I hope you enjoyed Portugal, and we'll see you next time on "V is for Vino." Hey, Vince here, hope you enjoyed the episode. If you have a moment, follow us on Instagram, and if you really want to support, please consider joining Vino VIP on visforvino.com. It's our member's only club with a ton of benefits. Thanks for watching and see you soon.