Tarcisio Costa is smiling, and for good reason. As wine director and co-owner of Alfama, a Portuguese restaurant in Manhattan, Costa has amassed one of the greatest — if not the greatest —collections of fine, upscale Portu-guese wines in this country. While much of the wine world surrenders to Cabernet and Chardonnay, Portugal has remained loyal to its native grapes. Most of its varieties are old, but everything else is new — wineries, techniques, technology and thus the wines. If you haven’t tasted Portugal’s red wies in a while, you will be more than impressed: You will be amazed, just as I was at a recent tasting of wines selected from Alfama’s 19-page wine list. Here’s what I discovered:
Quinta dos Carvalhais Tinta Roriz 1998 from the Dão is made 100 percent from one of Portugal’s top grapes. Its nose offers hints of cherry, other fruits and violets, while its flavors bring to mind delicate spice and currants.
Quinta da Cortezia Reserva 1999 from Estremadura blends Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. With its dark color and an intense aroma that mingles chocolate and berries, it is a formidable, complex wine.
Frei João Reserva 1990 from Bairrada is also a blend — of Baga, Castelão Nacional, Moreto and Bastardo. Bairrada wines generally begin life hard and tannic and need time to evolve. This 14-year-old variety has reached the stage of mature suppleness and carries its age regally. A full-bodied wine, its flavors include soft leather, spices and a basketful of dark berries.
Quinta da Manuela 2000 is from the Douro, where the grapes for port are grown. Here, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional produce a fruity table wine with hints of clove and floral overtones. The same family has owned Manuela’s vineyards for 350 years; this is the first time it has made wine instead of selling all its grapes.
The Alentejo is flat, hot, arid, and yet it can produce a wine as spectacular as Quinta da Terrugem 1999, a blend of Tinta Roriz, Aragonês and Trincadeira Preta. It is full-bodied, robust, with a whiff of vanilla, fresh berries and lightly peppery flavors.
These are wines that make boon companions to Alfama’s foods. These are wines that make Portugal proud.
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TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Starting in November, guests at Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru enjoy new all-pool water villas that offer twice as much outside space as indoor space. The villa expansions bring outdoor space to nearly 2,000 square feet across multiple “zones,” including sun decks, social spots, over-water hammocks, al fresco showers and dining areas. A 40-foot pool extends into the lagoon; nearby, a shaded, ocean-side living and dining pavilion offers unparalleled views.