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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Tucked away between the verdant hills of the Dominican Republic and beautiful waters of the Caribbean Sea, Samaná is the perfect year-round destination. No matter what time of year you choose to visit this hidden gem, you can check things off your travel bucket list. In the summer, escape the busy tourism hot spots and explore off-the-beaten path areas and activities; in the winter, embark on an eco-excursion like whale watching in Samaná Bay.
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The coastal town of Belek in Antalya serves as the setting for the brand new, 5-star Cullinan Belek, named for the largest rough diamond ever discovered. Set along the sparkling azure waters of the Turkish Riviera, the new property boasts its own private white-sand beach, with 600 plush guestrooms (including 10 luxurious villas), all providing sea views. The hotel also has 13 swimming pools, 10 dining venues and five bars.
Museums beckon wherever we go. They amuse and enlighten travelers and bring to public attention historical, artistic, scientific and natural wonders. Most are thought-provoking and educational, stretching our minds and our knowledge of the world. Some, however, stand out as just plain quirky: personal and sometimes whimsical collections, museums dedicated to a unique skill or long- forgotten industry, arcane collections originally designed for scientific study. Others devote their space to sharing a subject that represents one person’s consuming passion.
When American travelers make plans to visit Portugal, Lisbon is usually their first stop.
The Seoul Tourism Organization participated in IMEX, the world’s largest MICE exhibition, in Frankfurt, Germany, May 29–June 2. IMEX celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.
The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection celebrated an exciting moment recently when Evrima, its inaugural yacht, completed a series of successful sea trials. On June 9, in Santander, Spain, Evrima reached what is considered one of the final shipbuilding milestones prior to launch with the sea trials, a series of tests carried out when the yacht is sailing on open waters. Captain Steven MacBeath led the trials, alongside a team of senior officers, engineers, contractors and shipyard staff.
Considering an autumnal adventure or Thanksgiving trip this year? Well, with walkable cities, cozy pubs and lots of seasonal festivals, the island of Ireland is calling. And if you need more reasons to Press the Green Button and go, take a look and see what awaits you on the Emerald Isle …