G7 Portugal – London Wine Tasting
22nd May 2007
Portuguese Ambassador's Residence, London

In 1992 Portugal’s seven largest wineries formed the G7 Group to promote their wines in particular and Portuguese wines in general to overseas markets.  This was a new venture for Portugal, which in general isn’t known for business consortia.

The six G7 companies that now make up the G7 produce nearly 70 million bottles per year, exporting to more than 120 markets.  The companies are: Alianca, Aveleda, Bacalhoa, Finagra, José Maria da Fonseca and Messias.


Caves Aliança
Aliança was established in 1927, but in the last fifteen years they have aimed to exercise greater control over the quality of the grapes, and they now have around 800 acres of vineyards across Portugal’s main wine regions, including the Douro, Dao, Bairrada, Alentejo and Beiras.

In 1999 they engaged the services of consultants Michel Rolland and Pascal Chatonnet to work with their winemaker Francisco Antunes.  Since 2002 they have dispensed with Michel Rolland’s services.

2004 Quinta da Garrida Dão Tinto, Caves Aliança, 14.5%
A blend of tinta roriz, jaen and touriga nacional.  This has a very interesting nose with blackberry, green pepper and tobacco notes.  There’s big zingy fruit on the palate and it’s got some powerful flavours.  It’s just a touch unbalanced and rather hot on the finish.  Good.  84/100

2004 Quinta das Baceladas Bairrada Tinto Caves Aliança, 14.5%
This is a blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and baga.  This has toasty, leathery black fruit with a fresh sawn timber air.  There’s some very good black fruit on the palate, tending to sweetness, and there’s some grippy tannins on the finish.  It avoids the heat of the Quinta da Garrida.  Very Good.  86/100

2004 Quinta da Terrugem Alentejo Tinto, Caves Aliança, 14.5%
A blend of aragonez and trincadeira.  There’s leather black fruit with a nice precision on the nose, though there’s a bit of a green tinge.  Lively and very fresh palate.  Just a little separate.  Interesting wine though.  Good+.  85/100


Quinta da Aveleda
Quinta da Aveleda is a family business dating back to 1947 and is the largest producer in the Vinho Verde region.  Their annual production is around 13 million bottles, 60% of which are exported to over 90 countries.  Their main brands are Casal Garcia, Aveleda, Quinta da Aveleda and Charamba.  In addition the Aveleda Follies brand was launched more recently as a premium range.  All the wines are made under the supervision of Bordeaux consultant, Denis Dubordieu.

2003 Aveleda Follies Touriga Nacional-Cabernet Sauvignon, 13%
This is 70% cabernet sauvignon and 30% touriga nacional.  There is some slightly green, sweet black fruit on the nose.  Very open, clean palate.  Decent structure.  A nice wine, but it’s fairly simple.  Good+.  85/100


Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal
Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal SA was founded in 1922 under the name João Pires & Filhos, which later became J.P. Vinhos.  Across a several wineries, they have a total annual production of around 12 million litres from around 500 hectares of vineyards.  The Quinta da Bacalhôa itself is a Renaissance masion and estate in Loridos in Estremadura.  The name Bacalhôa, it was explained to me, is the female of bacalhau, the famous Portuguese salt cod: apparently the founder was a fish dealer.

2004 Quinta da Bacalhôa, Vino Regional Terras do Sado, 14%
This blend of cabernet sauvignon and merlot has a nice nose with quite deep plums and mulberry and a slightly floral overtone.  There’s sweet ripe fruit on the palate.  This is a decent cabernet-merlot, but not exceptional.  Good+.  85/100

2003 Só Touriga Nacional, Vino Regional Terras do Sado, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, 14%
A very precise focussed nose with plummy black fruit and some fresh roast figs and a hint of caramel.  A forward open palate, but a bit hot on the finish.  This is an interesting wine, but pretty unexceptional.  Good.  84/100

2005 Tinto da Anfora, Vino Regional Alentejano, Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal, 14%
This is a blend of aragonez, trincadeira, alfrocheiro, touriga nacional and cabernet sauvignon.  It has a very attractive, enticing nose.  Interesting palate with layers of three different flavours: there is some ripe, sweet and black, fruit; then some more floral, greener fruit, then an integrated oak feel.  Very Good.  87/100


Caves Messias
Caves Messias was founded in 1926 by Messias Baptista and is still owned and run by the 3rd and 4th generations of his family.  The company produces wine in a number of Portuguese regions: Dão, Bairrada, Douro, Vinho Verde, Beiras, Terras do Sado and Vinho do Porto.  75% of the production is exported to over 50 countries around the world.

2003 Bairrada Reserva Tinto, Quinta do Valdoeiro, Caves Messias, 13%
This is a blend of touriga nacional, baga, syrah and cabernet sauvignon.  There’s leathery black fruit on the nose with a real wet hedgerow feel.  Very good palate.  This is an attractive wine, with quite forward sweet fruit, but all very nicely balanced.  Very Good Indeed. 89/100

2004 Touriga Franca, Douro, Quinta do Cachão, Caves Messias, 14.5%
This 100% touriga franca has a slightly closed nose, but it’s quite leafy and green with hedgerow fruit.  Overall it’s pretty decent stuff on the palate and is nicely balanced.  There’s just a bit of a raw, unknitted feel.  Good.  84/100

2004 Grande Escolha, Douro, Quinta do Cachão, Caves Messias, 14.5%
A blend of touriga franca, touriga nacional, tinta barroca and tinta roriz.  The nose has bright red fruits and fresh tobacco.  Open and clean on the palate: this is a good, direct wine with a nice purity and clarity.  Grippy tannins kick in on the finish.  Very Good Indeed.  89/100

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Last updated: 10 July 2007