2012 was a year full of great moments. I visited many countries, cities and places. Discovered new wines and wineries. Tasted some of the best wines I’ve ever tasted. Met some exciting new people and learned about their stories. Made new friends. It was an incredibly exciting year! These are the 10 best moments.
1. Joining the Port Wine Brotherhood was easily The Best Moment of 2012.
An almost surreal experience that culminated with me wearing a bow tie and receiving a Tombaladeira (a traditional Port Wine tasting cup from the XVII century) in a ceremony with over 300 guests. It’s an incredible honor to be knighted and get recognition for my dedication and service to Port Wine. What a great moment.
That same weekend I enjoyed a full day visit to Quinta do Azevedo (Sogrape‘s Vinho Verde property) which included a relaxed lunch and conversation with Luís Sottomayor (Barca Velha winemaker, Director of Enology for Casa Ferreirinha and Sogrape’s Port Wines) and Joana Pais (Sogrape’s Head of PR). Great people. Great lunch. Great moment.
Still had time to participate in the traditional Rabelo Boat Regatta. The regatta is an exciting boat race where old Rabelo boats (that used to transport Port Wine from the Douro to Gaia) sail upriver trying to be the first to reach the finishing line. What an excitement! My Rabelo boat (from Ferreira) was 2nd! The whole mood is very festive and the regatta ended with a dinner at the Sandeman’s Port Cellars in Gaia.
As you might imagine it took me a few days to cool down from all this excitement!
The other 9 best moments of 2012
Joining the Port Wine Brotherhood was great but I had other special moments, each of which with its own story. It was a tough choice but here are my favorite moments of 2012:
- Launch of the new Barca Velha 2004. A great launch event for a great new wine. The wild boar cooked in Barca Velha sediment was also a delicious next day meal.
- Judging wines from across the globe at the 2012 Concours Mondial de Bruxelles. Great learning experience in Guimarães. A great opportunity to meet new people from the wine world.
- Visiting Quinta do Noval and tasting the exceptional 1994 Vintage Nacional. An out-of-this-world Port wine experience shared with good friend Luiz Alberto.
- An epic tasting at Graham’s. The occasion was the launch of the new 10, 20, 30 and 40 Years Old Tawny Ports. The tasting included a magnum of the magnificent Graham’s 1966 Vintage, the ultra-exclusive 1952 and 1969 Single Harvest Tawny Ports and the very old 1882 (!!).
- Organizing & hosting the first ever Summer Wine Market where 650 people tasted some of the best Portuguese white and red wines on the market and paired them with some delicious sushi.
- Sharing a tasting session on the slopes of Mount Etna in Sicily with a very special group of wine lovers who were participating in a Wine Bloggers trip to discover Etna Wines. The sun was setting and the moment was perfect.
- Visiting the top of Mount Etna and feeling literally on top of the world. Unforgettable.
- Organizing the first ever #wineloverweek together with Luiz Alberto (a very good friend, travel partner and fellow #winelover). It was a week full of exciting activities visiting wineries, tasting wines and attending #winelover Hangouts around Portugal (Lisboa, Porto, Vinho Verde, Alentejo and Douro). A great opportunity to show some of the best of what Portugal has to offer.
- Organizing & hosting the Adegga Wine Market 2012, the 4th edition of an award-wining 800-people wine event which includes some of the best wines and producers from Portugal and a very special Premium Room with some rare and old Port Wines. A huge success.
During the last 12 months I had other great experiences that made of 2012 a great year. I visited many other beautiful places, tasted some great wines and met exciting new people. Here’s a short photographic list of the other 15 great moments of 2012. Looking forward to a great 2013!