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Organized by the Vinho Verde Comission, this is one of the most important wine and food contests in Portugal, in which most important chefs and restaurants participate. The last 2 editions were won by outstanding restaurant "Ferrugem" (http://www.ferrugem.pt/), led by the creative couple of Chefs Renato and Dalila, curiously also with Afros wines accompanying the main courses. Jokingly, I now tell all the chefs that if they want to have a chance to win they must put my wines on the menu!

 

Egoísta, located in Casino da Póvoa, is one of the best restaurants of Portugal, counting with superstar chef Hermínio Costa, who makes very delicate and artistic interpretations of traditional Portuguese cuisine, and local ingredients. As Póvoa is a fishermen's town, most dishes are sea food based.
One of the characteristics of these dishes is that are built upon a ladder of tastes, starting with the basic prime matter (fish or shellfish) and going up the more subtle flavours of leaves, aromatic herbs, and  spices, usually crowned in the end by a touch of flowers.
The main menu (see below) included a salad of crayfish and crab, aromatic herbs and olive oil toasts, paired with Afros Loureiro 2009. Delicious! The boldest and most innovative pairing, was however  Grouper's loin baked in the oven, with maize greaves and toasted ham.
Manuel Pinheiro, the dynamic president of Vinho Verde Commission (in the picture below) and myself were asked to adress the eating audience with a few words. Manuel spoke very well about the haven that wine and food represent in a time of crisis, to restore positivity and connection to our roots, while I emphasized how the sense of taste is today is crucial for the ecological revolution, the natural wine movement playing a major role in this change of awareness.

 

 

 

Organized by the leading importer of natural wines to the UK, Les Caves de Pyréne, yet welcoming to the show other wine merchants, the REAL WINE FAIR, has made London become the centre of the world for organic, biodynamic and natural wines during 3 days. Here you could find, under the same roof, one of the most comprhensive selections ever made of the craziest hand crafted wines of the planet.

There is much to say about Les Caves, for decades they have been the leading pioneers in London for biodynamic wines. Highly professional, they represent the "armed branch" of "terroirism" in commerce and distribution, making the culture and poetics of  wine available for an ever increasing public. Of course they are the dream importer for every wine maker and it is high previlege to be part of this dedicated family for three years now. Here is a picture of myself with Doug Wregg, mentor and marketing director of Les Caves, the most unpretensious wine philosopher you will ever meet.

He has brilliantly organized this year's Fair, for me with the added joy to be part of a substancial Portuguese presence (last year the Portuguese representation was left solely to Aphros). "Portuguese Story", a recent company founded by Roman Gonitel and Ricardo Rodrigues, and my great friend Marcial, with his beautiful and unique Alvarinho wines, were also there by my side, making the whole event even more exciting.

Below, my friend Rosa Freitas, a Portuguese actress in London, enjoying a glass of Aphros Vinhão. On the last picture, tasting an exquisite white from Georgia with Nicoletta di Cova, a wine writer who is specially passionate about these wines. They are still produced in Christian Orthodox monasteries, and left to ferment for months (even the whites) in amphors buried into the ground. They are incredibly profound, salted and complex, and make us think about the depths of life in this mineral world, the Cosmic God (Christ) descending into a mineral body, Man as the "salt of the Earth"...

 



 

20-21st of May London 2012 - London - THE RAW WINE FAIR and JONATHAN NOSSITER on PASOLINI

Featuring many producers, importers and groups that were present in last year's edition of THE REAL WINE FAIR, THE RAW WINE happened for the first time this year, as a result of the growing interest for natural wines in London.

Just to give you an idea, both fairs doubled both the numbers of last year's presences, both in producers and in visitors.

It was a great pleasure to meet again with Jonathan Nossiter, an invited speaker for both events - and to be the witness to another "Nossiterian" workshop/performance, meaning uncompromising provocation, radical exploration of our limits, hypocrisy and confort zones, and reckless search for meaning in wine and in life. Again, Cinema was brought into a dialogue with the world of wine, by presenting Pasolini's critique of society's conformism already in the 50's, and claims for freedom in sexual and cultural life. Excerpts of Pasolini's movies were shown, and put in the context of today's padronized and cynical wine industry, together with a tasting of radical sparkling wines made today by 2 producer's: Alberto Carretti, from Prodere Pradarolo (Emilia Romagna), and Morgane Fleury, from Fleury Champagne. In the end, both producers explained their wine making philosophies, and entered in dialogue with the audience.

Nossiter always emphasises viticulture and wine making as cultural acts with the same level of meaning as those of Cinema, the Arts or Literature.

http://therealwinefair.com/

 

 

The Cineteca di Bologna, the oldest and most prestigious in Italy, had a vision of an ideal World, where all movies were sublime works of Art, to be experienced with a glass of equaly moving wines in the hands of the spectators.

To this effect Jonathan Nossiter, acclaimed director of Mondovino and a hero of the Natural wine movement, was invited as a curator of a Wine and Cinema Festival - The CINEVINO - which took place early this year.

Jonathan's proposal could not be anything but choosing ten radical wines to be paired with ten radical movies that had a strong impact in his life.

Both producers and directors, if living, were invited to be present and to share the vision of their work of the audience.

Not sure if it was the uniqueness and radicality of Aphros Vinhão, or for the (imagined) deviant erotic behaviour of the producer, for Nossiter with an affinity with João César Monteiro - the director of the movie the wine was to be paired with. The fact is that I had the honor and previlege to be present at this fabulous event, the most extraordinary one I have ever been to in the world of wine. To make things even better, I had my wine paired with one of my all time favorites - "A Comédia de Deus".

Later, I came to know from Gianluca, that João César had been for a time visiting the Cineteca, and had to extend his stay because he was having a great time chasing after Bolognese girls...

This weekend, the first of three of the Festival, opened on Thursday evening with Nossiter's last fiction movie, "Rio sex comedy", paired with a Mersault from Domaine Roulot. The session was marked by the amazing fact that the producer, Jean Marc Roulot, is also one of the main actors in the movie. On Friday, we were presented with "La piu bella serata de mi vita (1972)", from Ettore Scola, paired with Trebiano e Sagrantno di Montefalco, from Giampiero Bea, a proeminent figure of Italian natural wine movement. Ettore Scola, the last great living legend of Italian Cinema, was present in person, and delivered an inspired speech, urging young directors to find new paths to express their culture and their roots. His movie, a humouristic thriller combining prodigious imagination with magnificent acting, was seen in the original tape, worn and aged. The "truth" of it, bearing the marks of time, was prefered by Nossiter to the remasterized version. It was mind-blowing, a sublime piece of art. Saturday, we had Fassbinder's "All I want is that you love me!", paired with Pico and So San from Angiolino Maule, another pioneer of Natural wine in Italy.

Last day, Sunday, was 100 percent Portuguese, and the mood was humour. First the deep and strange humour of João Cesar Monteiro, in a Dadaístic comedy woven around the sexual fantasies of the manager of an ice cream factory, role performed by João César himself. With extreme subtlety and precision, he leads us into a magic and decadent world of surrealistic eroticism, built upon the main character with the nostalgic scenery of old Lisbon behind. After the movie, Jonathan and I shared with the public a hommage to João César, including some real life stories, and had a lot of fun in drawing affinities between Portuguese and Italian cultures, and between eroticism and the world of wine.

 

Making very serious revelations about the importance of erotic practices for winemaking.

 

With Gianluca, the president of the Cineteca di Bologna, who is himself a show - his talks are a mix between erudition and humour à l'ittaliana...how serious we are!

 

With Jonathan and Jean Marc Roulot, manager of legendary Domaine Roulot in Burgundy. Besides being an organic wine producer, Jean Marc is an actor who had a main role in Nossiter's last movie "Rio sex comedy", which opened the Festival.

 

With Giampiero Bea, wine producer and leader of the Natural Wine movement Vini Veri, Etore Scola, Jean Marc Roulot and Jonathan Nossiter.

 

Gianluca and his wife/chauffeur in their every day means of transport about Bologna - much fun!

 

The most relaxed and beautiful public wine event I have ever been to! Already in its 3rd edition, Vinho ao Vivo happens each year by the Tagus river, precisely in Belém, near the spot from where the Caravelles left for the Discoveries in the 16th Century.

The theme is now the re-discovery  of European Terroirs, mostly through wines using organic or biodynamic practices.

Bathed by the magical light of Lisbon at Sunset, the beautifully designed Restaurante Al Margem becomes the setting for a unique experience of wine, live music, food and lanscape. The event naturally turns into a party, where people meet, get to know an impressive selection of great wines, and have a lot of fun - which is the whole point!

There are so many "serious" tastings in so many "serious" atmospheres, each year, that to have an event that combines a high level of professionalism with pure enjoyment is really like a breath of fresh air.

This we owe to the talent and passion of Nadir and Sílvia, founders of "Os Goliardos", an absolutely unique wine "institution" in Lisbon. In a totally knowlegeable yet unpretentious way, they run a wine bar/ shop, organise tastings and courses, and a small distribution of exclusive wines. These are from France, Italy, Germany, Spain and of course, you can also find there the "oddities" from the Portuguese weirdest producers, among which Aphros ranks.

http://osgoliardos.com/blog/vinho-ao-vivo/

 

The Premiére of Aphros in NY happenned in Grand Style - Michael Skurnik, our new NY importer, is known to organize each year the most exciting tasting of the Big Apple, but what happened was beyond all (very high) expectations I had.

Gathering in the same space an impressive number (well over a hundred) of iconic producers from 15 different countries, what struck me most was the quantity and the quality of the visitors - all top professionals from the best restaurants, wine-shops and wine bars of the City. Excellent tasters, mostly prepared to take very careful notes on the wines, came unceasingly from 10 AM to 5 PM. Many already knew a lot about our wines (arrived just a few weeks ago) and had a pretty good idea of which they were aiming at.

Andrew Mulligan, responsible for the Portuguese Portfolio, was a great host. Relying on his nightlife experience (he is a poet and a former rock band singer) took some of us on a tour to some of the best secret spots in town.

I also had the pleasure of meeting and being welcomed into the family by the Skurnik brothers Skurnik themselves. Here a pic with Michael, who irradiates charisma from every pore.
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