Let’s talk a bit about Portugal, by Ingvild Tennfjord

Food & beverages Vinskolen

Voyage of discovery Grapes

Let’s talk a bit about Portugal

Corporate lawyer Julia Kemper is gaining international acclaim with her wines.

Why me?

This was Julia’s initial reaction when her father appointed her, out of all her siblings,

to be the one to run his vineyard after him.

“I am a totally urban person. I can’t even plant a tree. I could be vegan. I love the metro and going to the cinema.”

Meet Julia Kemper from Portugal, former corporate lawyer. Her wines are now gaining acclaim far outside Portugal. It was her brothers that were expected to take over the vineyard. Her father never explained why he chose Julia. He was just resolute that it must be her.

Wanderlust and a closed country. They were once a nation of explorers. The world was changed forever when Portuguese Vasco da Gama discovered the sea route to India. He laid the foundations for globalisation and colonisation. The spice routes. New trade routes. Nobleman Pedro Álvares Cabral discovered Brazil. But then something happened. António de Oliveira Salazar was prime minister for almost 40 years and closed off Portugal. His policy dominated the country from 1926 to 1974, when his successor was overthrown in a revolution led by the military. His motto was “Orgulhosamente sós”, or “Proudly alone”.

“With the revolution, the Portuguese people began once again to look beyond themselves. Until then everything had been about Portugal. Our perceptions about others and about wine were not sufficiently challenged”, says Julia Kemper.

Wine production was helped by the EU. Portugal’s EU membership opened a new chapter and brought new investments to the country. Technology and modern techniques considerably increased the quality of the wine. Grapes that were virtually only found in Portugal became the country’s family silver. All the refinement they needed was a little push from the outside.

“The world now really starts discover us. This is happening through tourism, food and beverages. Portugal is growing. But we are still somewhat under-priced, reasonable to access,” states Kemper.

Which is a shame as so few of my readers test Portuguese wine. It is naturally the most reasonable Portuguese wines that sell in Norway. But you rarely find top-quality wines, of brilliance and personality for around a hundred Kroner. So, I thought we would embark on a little voyage of discovery together. What gems are hiding in the order range? Maybe the touriga nacional grape variety will be the best one you have ever tasted, but you just don’t know yet? Let us set on and find out what lies on the other side.

Names can be difficult to pronounce. But flavours speak for themselves.

Testing room

Recommended wines from Portugal

Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional, Portugal

Price: NOK 299.90

Item no. 8316101. Order, at 2pol.

What is the thing about Julia Kemper? Taste this. Touriga nacional is perhaps the most important grape variety in Portugal. Thick, full-bodied and dark. Blackberry, spices and flowers. The perfect wine for grilled meat. In a class of its own.

 

Elpenor Rosé, Portugal

Price: NOK 175

Item no. 8335101. Order, at 15pol.

Fond of rosé and want to try out something new? This wine is not very young as the others. Kemper stores her wines for several years. A long and deep flavour of rose hip and lemon. An aroma of lime. I became quite hooked on it for a while. Try it with salmon or chicken.

 

HOMEWORK

The fact that Portugal was a closed country for a long time now gives wine producers an advantage. Grapes such as touriga nacional, alfrocheiro and encruzado are turning into stars at a time when distinctiveness and authenticity are worshipped. Try it!

Family tradition. Julia Kemper took over the family estate Quinta do Cruzeiro in Dão in 2003. She quickly set about converting it to organic wine production, recruited the best people and focused on quality.

 

INGVILD TENNFJORD [Wine writer]

ingvild@ingvildtennfjord.com

WINE NOTIFICATIONS

[Selection]

Basis Norwegian Wine Monopoly’s product range. Category 2 retail outlets have about 400 products. Category 7 have about 2,500.

Product range The importer’s own products. Ordered and delivered via the Wine Monopoly.

Test selection Tested for six months. If the product sells, it keeps its position in the shelf.

PHOTO: KATINKA HUSTAD

 

 


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