30 years of hurt and our latest exclusive addition
Posted on July 20 2020
None of my three boys, whose Great Uncle was once the Liverpool manager, has ever experienced the club winning the title of English football’s top-tier.
The last time they reached such a height was in 1990: the year Nelson Mandela was released, the world wide web was conceived, poll tax rioters took to the streets, Checkpoint Charlie was dismantled as Germany reunified, ‘Nothing Compares With You’ was the No.1 hit across the world and I fell into a bin of fermenting Penfold's Grange!
I cannot describe how excited I am to see my boys celebrate as Liverpool raise the trophy this week. However, I am even more excited by a ‘rare as hen’s teeth’, cult Portuguese wine that has just landed. Unbelievably, it seems so appropriate that Bussaco Rosado was last made 30 years ago.
The Bussaco Palace Hotel has a fairy tale aura being enveloped by an enchanted forest in Bairrada. It has a fascinating, colourful history, being a former Royal palace which was architecturally fashioned in an elaborate ‘Strawberry Hill’ Gothic style.
Hyper-traditional wines have been made there, with a focus on the Baga grape from their own vineyards and a few local growers, since 1920. Only one thing has changed over the years: in 1990, smaller (300l) oak barrels were introduced as there was no one to look after the large, ageing oak, chestnut and mahogany barrels. Absolutely everything is done by hand and geekily, I am particularly fond of their unique vintage dot stickers, 20,000 of which are lovingly applied each year! In the hotel’s deep cellars, 60,000 bottles sleep peacefully, and some museum stock date back to 1940, though not a single bottle of the rosado remains.
Originally, the wines were made exclusively for hotel guests but the de Almeida family, which still runs the timeless, classic hotel today, fell on hard times during a recession and needing to release some capital, they started selling the wines. Thankfully, for us, they continue to release a miniscule annual allocation of their red and white wines, which we snap up, and for the first time, the rosado has been offered to us.
This has been my first ever opportunity to taste the rosado, a flamboyant, premium, full-bodied, dry, textural, gastronomic, Provence rosé style wine that is winner, a true champion.
Unlike the boys’ patient wait for a Premiership title, I will not put myself through that sort of hurt and have already put in a reservation for next year’s vintage.
♫♫ Walk on, walk on, With hope in your heart, And you'll never walk alone, You'll never walk alone… ♫♫