Rising From The Ashes
Organic Wine Tasting
Friday 14th December 2018
Few beverages are affected by their growing conditions as profoundly as wine. Grape varieties, especially for quality wines, are carefully chosen to suit their site and climate, chosen to ripen slowly over the growing season. Much has been written about the impact of increasing temperatures in long established wine strongholds like Champagne or Bordeaux, or how increased temperatures in marginal climates (like England) will help grape growers.
But whilst temperature rises can be predicted by climate scientists, the increase in the frequency and severity of extreme weather events, are harder to foresee. Extreme weathers bring extreme damage, and increased instances of flood, drought and fire are additional challenges to today’s vignerons, with acute forest fires in California, western Canada and Portugal.
The flames in Portugal were fanned by the mono planting of pine and eucalyptus trees precipitated by the logging industry. Unlike a more diverse wild forest land, these trees all have the same low burning temperature, and their thirsty nature means less water is available for indigenous scrubland plants, which would normally help slow the spread of fire. Amongst the victims of Portugal’s devastating 2017 forest fires were Sara Dionísio and her partner António Lopes Ribeiro, owners of Casa de Mouraz, a biodynamic winery, with 13 hectares in Dão. Seven of these were damaged in the fire, and their wine warehouse went up in smoke, as did the house in which António was born.
In Sara’s words ‘Our family are all alive, fortunately! This tragedy represents a big obstacle, but we don’t want to give up! Now the best help we can have is that the people continue to believe, buy and drink our wines!’
Like eminent wine critic Julia Harding MW, (www.jancisrobinson.com) the Greenhouse have long admired Casa de Mouraz’s wines. They offer a bridge between the traditional and the modern, using modern winemaking expertise to ensure clean flavours, but using yeasts from the vineyard to ferment their indigenous Portuguese grape varieties. Many of Mouraz’s vines are over 85 years old, and as is traditional in Dão, the older vineyards are interplanted with different varieties. Modern vineyards, in contrast, tend to be narrow monocultures, often planted with a single clone of a single grape variety. Interplanting different varieties offers better disease resistance, and arguably a more broad and complex expression of a vineyard, especially when the grapes are co-fermented as field blends, a tradition that is particularly strong in Dão.
Though a small producer, Casa de Mouraz make a great variety of wines, and their range is well represented at our tasting; from a lean and refreshing Vinho Verde, to a dry and mineral rosé, to nutty and textured “winter” whites, to full-bodied and voluptuous reds, you’re bound to like some (if not all) of their wines.
We will also be running a potted version of this tasting from noon till 1pm on the same day, where we taste four wines for £10. These lunchtime sessions are more intimate, and a good way forum in which to ask questions and to learn more about wine. You can reserve a place for ‘Lunchtime Tippling with Tom’ in person in the shop or by email.
The evening’s wines all come from Casa de Mouraz, in Dão, Portugal:
Vinho Verde ALR DOC, 2015, 10.5%, £13
(Grape varieties: Loureiro, Tresadoura, Azal)
Served with roasted spiced cashew nuts
Dão White DOC, 2015, 13%, £19.50
(A blend of Malvasia-Fina, Encruzado, Bical, Cerceal-Branco and other Portuguese indigenous grape varieties)
Encruzado Dão DOC, 2016, 13%, £24.50
(Grape variety: Encruzado)
Served with parsley pesto
Dão Rosé DOC, 2017, 12.5%, £19.50
(Grape varieties: Touriga-Nacional, Tinta-Roriz, Jaen, Alfrocheiro and Rufete)
Dão Red DOC, 13.5%, 2014, 14%, £19.50
(A blend of Touriga-Nacional, Tinta-Roriz, Jaen, Alfrocheiro, Água-Santa, Rufete and other Portuguese varieties)
Served with Calon Wen Cheddar Cheese
Elfa Dão Red DOC, 2014, £32.50
(A field bend of 30 different red & white grape varieties)
Served with mushroom, chestnut & celeriac stack
All food organic
Sourced from Folland Organics, row A Norwich Market, & the Greenhouse shop.
Bread from Timberhill Bakery.
Menu may vary depending on seasonal availability. Vegan alternatives available on request. PLEASE advise when booking.
Feedback from recent organic wine tastings:
‘Exciting opportunity to try new grapes & flavours’
‘Relaxed, informal & informative’