25 de March, 2022
The restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic are little by little behind us and life is getting back on track. It seems a long time ago that we were able to enjoy cultural events aimed at a large audience. So, nothing could be fairer than taking advantage of the opportunities that 2022 will offer us. And in Portugal those opportunities are meant to be many – albeit wearing masks most of the time!
Always crossing our fingers that everything goes well until then, we decided to inaugurate our editorship Portugal Lovers* with a delicious subject: wines! After all, Portugal is one of the countries that most understands this subject. It also offers the best in wine events. From north to south, wine lovers will have many wine festivals to choose from. We’ve selected a few, shall we?
It is already at the end of March that the Palácio da Bolsa, an iconic space in the city of Porto, receives one of the most important wine fairs in the country: Essence of Wine. This event stands out for its monumentality: every year it receives around 20 thousand visitors and more than 400 producers of the most varied styles of wine (including Port wine). Here, curious and wine lovers, experts and international guests meet to get to know the new vintages through technical presentations and, of course, through tasting. By purchasing the ticket for the event (25€), the visitor receives a glass and can try more than 4 thousand wines on display for tasting. In 4 days of the event, more than 15 thousand bottles are opened, in a mix of learning, didactics and experimentation. The Essence of Wine also offers a series of commented tastings, masterclasses and pairings, in sessions starting from 9.30am!
In 2022, the Essence of Wine takes place from March 31st to April 3rd. Between one wine tasting and another, we strongly recommend you contemplate the beautiful halls of the Palácio da Bolsa, a neoclassical building from the 19th century. Pay special attention to the Salão Árabe, a space decorated with gold arabesques.
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Alvarinho is a typical Portuguese grape produced in the sub-region of Monção and Melgaço, in the Vinho Verde Region. It is one of the most remarkable and appreciated white grape varieties in the country. It has low production, as its bunches are small. It has high sugar content, which results in more alcoholic wines with high acidity, besides being extremely perfumed, with notes of peach, lemon, passion fruit, lychee, orange peel, jasmine, orange blossom and lemon balm. Besides, these wines have a good ageing potential, managing to live in perfect health until they are at least ten years old. It is these characteristics which differentiate it from ordinary vinho verde wines.
Therefore, an event which brings together the greatest producers of this wonder deserves all our interest! Take note on your agenda: 22, 23 and 24 April the Feast of Alvarinho and Fumeiro returns to Melgaço for its 26th edition. The feast expects several producers of Alvarinho and also smoke and local products.
A Feast of Alvarinho and Smoked Melgaço (FAFM) began to be held in 1995 and today is the biggest tourist event in the region, attracting people from different parts of the national territory and also a large number of Spaniards, especially from neighbouring Galicia, where a very similar wine is produced: Albariño.
Bairrada is a Portuguese wine region located in the province of Beira Litoral and the Centre region (Região das Beiras), which stretches from Águeda and Coimbra to the dunes of the Atlantic coast. It is the land of many good wines, made from high-quality grape varieties, such as Baga for red wines and Bical for whites. In the 19th century, Bairrada became a region that produces quality wines, although wine production has existed since the 10th century. The region’s certification is recent. The Denomination of Controlled Origin (DOC Bairrada) for red and white wines dates from 1979 and for sparkling wines from 1991. It was with the sparkling wines that the region conquered the world. Fruity, with a mineral touch and good structure, these wines became references and, until today, they make Bairrada one of the largest sparkling wine producing regions in Portugal.
To celebrate sparkling wines, gastronomy and bairradina culture, the event “Aqui na Bairrada” was created in 2019, which was suspended during the pandemic. Now, the initiative takes place again on May 7 and 8, at the Pavilhão de Desportos de Anadia. The entrance is free, but to taste the wines and sparkling wines it is necessary to acquire the official Bairrada glass (€3), which should be returned at the end of the event. Besides the sparkling wines, the delicacies prepared with suckling pig stand out in the event, which is another king of the feast, besides the famous Mealhada bread and other delicacies, including sweets. The event will also have commented tastings and more exclusive wines, presenting to its visitors the great potential existing in the region.
The specialised magazine Grandes Escolhas is responsible for one of the biggest wine events in the country: Wines & Flavours. The numbers are impressive: more than 15 thousand visitors, 230 sales stands and 400 exhibitors spread over an area of 5,000 m2.
The next edition is already scheduled: it will take place from 8 to 10 October, at the Lisbon International Fair, in Parque das Nações. Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, the event was held in a more compact version full of restrictions. In 2022, the organisers hope to be able to have a full capacity, although wearing masks is still compulsory, as far as possible.
The event is aimed at producers, sellers and end consumers, who will be able to taste all the wines they want. The entrance ticket, as usual, entitles you to a tasting glass. The price charged is 10 euros for one day of the event, or 20 euros for both days. The third day of the event, a Monday, is reserved for professionals and journalists. Wines & Flavours also has food stands, with a variety of cheeses, suckling pig sandwiches and sausages. The programme, rich in activities, also features commented tastings and showcookings with guest chefs.
These are just 4 of the many wine fairs that take place in Portugal every year. The country has hundreds of events in different styles and formats, aimed at both lay consumers and extremely specialised professionals. Some are very restricted, like the awards (such as the Best of the Greens 2022, which takes place in April), special pairings, wine dinners (the Hotel Yetman usually organises some very good ones)… Other events are really gigantic, they add music and are real festivals (such as the Wine & Music Valley). If you’re a great wine connoisseur, Portugal is your place!
Atlantic Lovers* is a special edition of Atlantic Bridge that has as its mission to integrate our clients, friends and partners around the best that Portugal has to offer.