Entdeckung

The Franco-Portuguese Wine Connection

Die französisch-portugiesische Wein-Connection | Maître Philippe & Filles

There are close ties between France and Portugal and there are a number of parallels: among other things, wine and viticulture play an important role in both countries. Not only for the self-image of its residents, but also for business and tourism.

In addition, the largest community of exiled Portuguese in Europe lives in Paris. Only the number of exiled Portuguese in Brazil is naturally and proportionally higher.

So it's no wonder that as French people in Berlin we are so in love with Portugal and its products (fish, wine, olive oil...). For anyone who's always wondered a bit about this alignment, here's the explanation :)

Antonio Madeira and Tiago Teles are two winemakers that we personally know well and value both for their exceptional wines and as good friends. Both are in their early/mid 30s and belong to the group of “French Portuguese” because they were partly born in France, speak fluent French and live and work partly in France and partly in Portugal. Accordingly, they are shaped by both cultures and unite them in themselves. Their wines are a beautiful expression of this connection between two worlds.

Antonio Madeira lives in Paris most of the time, but stands for the Dão wine region, which is far less well known in this country than other legendary regions such as the Alentejo or the Douro region. For a long time nobody really cared about the region's heritage: many of the old grape varieties were neglected and disappeared, as did the vineyard operators who died or moved and abandoned their vineyards. And then came Antonio, who wanted to stop this gradual process and produce wines again, as he knew them from the elders. The vines in his vineyards at the foot of the Serra da Estrela are on average 50 years old. Some even older. The best prerequisite for wines with a great storage potential, which are characterized by a special freshness, spiciness and minerality - the reflection of their terroir. Antonio has become a real celebrity and reference for this type of wine. What initially seemed cumbersome and difficult is now in great demand and has enthusiastic fans beyond the borders of Portugal and France. So do we and many of our customers.

We got to know the visionary and progressive winemaker very early on, more than 2 years ago. In 2015 he also participated in our in-house exhibition, the "Festa Portuguesa". His red wine "Vinhas Velhas 2013" has been part of our regular range ever since.

It is made from 75-year-old vines that grow at about 500m above sea level on soil that is very rich in granite. It is a blend of 75% Baga, Jaen and Tinta Amarela. The remaining 25% are made up of wines from more than 20 almost forgotten grape varieties. To name just a few: Marufo, Tinta Pinheira, Negro Mouro, Tinta Carvalha, Bastardo, Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet. The grapes are harvested entirely manually and the yield is only 20 hectoliters per hectare, which is very little.

The wine shows the character and elegance of its origin and is reminiscent of Burgundies that easily cost twice as much. It has a beautiful light color and a complex spicy-resinous and at the same time fruity nose reminiscent of pine and slightly fermented compote of red fruits such as berries and cherries.

In the mouth it has a lot of power and a nice balance with clear aromas and tannins that are present but not aggressive. The finish is long and mineral.

Ideally, the Vinhas Velhas should have some time to breathe. Then it is a wonderful accompaniment to food, but it is also great to drink on its own.

Antonio's "colleague" Tiago Teles wrote about wine for a long time until he fulfilled his dream of making his own wine. He grew up in the Aveiro area, but was born in Paris to Portuguese parents. When Tiago was three years old, his parents returned to their old homeland. However, he was drawn back to France, namely to Toulouse, where he went to study telecommunications. His "wine understanding" is very French and Tiago has many winemaker friends in France, especially in Beaujolais, Burgundy and Tourraine. His style is similarly elegant, fruity and light. In French, his wines would be called "vins de soif " designate, i.e. as "thirst wines".

His wine " Maria da Graça 2015" was not made from the Bairrada region's signature grape, the famous Baga grape, but from Alfrocheiro, another autochthonous grape variety that thrives on calcareous and clayey soil. It is spontaneously fermented, matured in stainless steel tanks and not filtered. Lively and fresh, it is the liquid expression of the region from which it originates. Soft and juicy, velvety and fruity with a pleasant mineral note, but at the same time spicy. The predominant aromas are pepper and cherry. The tannins are soft and give volume to the wine without weighing the tongue down. The overall impression is light and yet full. You can drink the bottle up in one evening without any problems, but if you don't, it's still wonderful the next day. Slightly chilled, it is also a great wine in summer, which does not need to be served with food, but is also great fun on its own.

Reading next

Maître Philippe & Filles on tour – eine Weinreise nach Porto | Maître Philippe & Filles
Was Sie schon immer über Madeira wissen wollten ... | Maître Philippe & Filles

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