Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Quinta de Chocapalha wine profile

From the top left: mono varietal white Arinto ready to drink now, Vinha de Palha - basic Rosé from the producer, red Vinha de Palha - basic red ( table wine ) with no oak barrel maturation, White reserva Chocapalha from 2006, red Quinta de Chocopalha with 6 months french oak barrels maturation and finally best of producers wine: red Reserva ready to drink from Christmas this year.

Quinta de Chocapalha in a small family run wine producer in Portuguese Estremadura region. With the privileged location between the rolling hills of Southern Estremadura and nicely renovated, "Quinta" ( English: estate ) is a lovely place to live and make nice wines. We visited the place in mid-July 2009.

Road sign leading us to Quinta. Yu taste wines in the beautiful surroundings. Cork from red Quinta de Chocopalha 2006. Diogo Suplúlveda leading oenologist. Quinta exteriors.

Talking to the owner and the leading enologist is a must-do. To understand and get to know better the Quinta, we usually buy a wide spectrum of the produced wines, starting from the most simple to the best, trying to create a mental and tasting profile of the place.

We started our wine tasting with red Quinta de Chocopalha 2006 ( Vinho Regional Estremadura; made of Tinta Roriz, Castelão, Alicante Bouschet grapes ). The tannins were a little too aggressive I must say. The wine lacked the elegance of Douro wines and tasted a little more like vegetables than fruits. Gained only 14/20 points.

Next day we grabbed a bottle of pale white Arinto 2008. It was a nice middle class wine very similar to the vinho verde whites with a little touch of micro bubbles on your tongue. Got 14,5/20 points on our private scale.

Mid-June 2009.


Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas night wine

On the Christmas night dinner we opened a bottle of wine from the Wachau valley in central Austria. It was the 2007 white smaragd ( full body wine with 13 % of alcohol ) from a famous producer Joachim Janek. The wine was made from Gruner Veltliner grapes. It was very nice, with with a pleasant light bouquet, very well-balanced flavor, very discreet feeling of micro-bubbles at the start but somehow lacked the final "touch" to make this wine outstanding.
But the wine did its job very well in a very different way. It flashed back our memories to the summer days of 2008. The days we spent at the Jamek winery in Austria tasting wines, talking to the producer´s daughter about wines and visiting the Wachau valley. The full story can be found here.


Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas everyone

Thank you all for visiting and commenting on my blog. I wish you a Merry Christmas !
Be good !


Sunday, 20 December 2009

The star of Bethlehem.

Star of Bethlehem, like a candle in the darkness, brings us hope and happiness.
Wishing you all happy pre-Christmas time.


Shot during our Christmas gingerbread cooking
20th of Dezember 2009

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Happy Xmas ? Not for all !

A "little misfortune" had happened when we baked and decorated our Christmas cookies this year: a broken leg !

Wishing you all happy pre-Christmas time !

15th December 2009.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Mosteiros beach in November.

The Mosteiros beach ( Azores islands ) - just blowing wind and heavy dark skies.

17.25 local time.
25th of November 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Our garden colours in mid-December

Not much joy and sun this December in our garden.

From the top left:

Citron mini-tree,
Spike Lavender,
red, beginning to flower Bougainvillea,
Pink Camelia,
Green pepper and
Doux Très Long Red Pepper.

All pictures taken on the same day, December 8th, 2009.


Friday, 4 December 2009

The land of cows and volcanoes

View from Paul viewpoint to the north. A small "swimming pool " inside an old volcano.

A good thing about Azores Islands ( from the photographic point of view ) is that there are no so-called "magic hours" ( 1 hour before the sunrise and 1 hour before the sunset ). At these particular moments there is a "magic light in the air", something that makes the landscape photography at that hour so unique.

H owever on the Azores Islands the weather conditions are so dynamic, they can dramatically change within minutes and the light can stay "magic" all day long.

On that particular day I climbed the Paul viewpoint. It was almost a mid-day so hopes for a nice landscape photo were thin. To my surprise at the top I found a nice diffused and filtered light.


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Azores Islands - Unspoiled nature spots

One of the little-known unspoiled nature spots on the island is this two-step waterfall called Salto do Prego, near Ribeira Grande village.

Nikon D80
Shot during my November flight to Azores Islands.