Thinking about my love for Portugal, I realized that it is all thanks to the lovely lady in the photo, Aileen Robbins of the Dunn Robbins Group. I first met Aileen when I moved back to New York after having lived in Italy for many years. She was and is always a pleasure to see and chat with. Aileen I believe studied to be an opera singer and she adds touches of song to her speech at various points in a conversation. I have had the pleasure of working with Aileen on a number of projects through the years and pitching others. Among those highlights was a project on Madeira and a fantastic trip to the Tejo in 2013 that sparked my interest in Portugal. I had been twice before but never to a wine region or more preciously never on a wine trip. Thanks to Aileen, indirectly this last time, I have now been on two wine trips. A consummate professional and a pleasure to be around, Aileen has opened a new world to me and for that, I am very grateful.
Portuguese wine fact #1: Alicante Bouchet grows in the Alentejo: “Despite not being an indigenous Portuguese grape variety, Alicante Bouschet is so deep-rooted in Alentejo collective patrimony that it is often assumed to be Portuguese. In fact it is a displaced variety, the result of conjoining the French varieties Petit Bouschet and Grenache. It is one of the world’s very few colouring grapes, able to provide concentrated, deeply coloured wines, a feature that has earned it the nickname “Writing Ink,” according to the website Vinhos do Alentejo.