Four Portuguese red wines were placed among the world’s greatest at an international blind tasting in Lisbon last month.

The wines were competing against the aristocracy of the international wine world. Other winners included Chapoutier’s Hermitage Pavillon 1996, Chateau Cheval Blanc 1997, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1998, Ridge Monte Bello 1997 and Nicolas Catena Zapata 1997 from Argentina.

The winning Portuguese wines were Quinta do Vale Meao 2000 and Niepoort’s Charme 2000, both from the Douro, and two from Estremadura, Quinta de Pancas Premium 2000 and Quinta do Monte D’Oiro, Homenagem a Antonio Carqueijeiro 1999.

There were 30 red wines in the tasting on 3 and 4 November. Fifteen were from Portugal and 15 from the rest of the world.

Although a number of leading Spanish wines were included in the tasting – Vega Sicilia Unico 1989, L’Ermita 1999 and Emeritus 1997 – the Portuguese press was quick to point out that none of them made it into the final dozen.

In a separate blind tasting, exclusively of Portuguese wines, the jury found best wines from among 30 from the Douro, Dao and Alentejo.

The regional winners were: Quinta do Vale Dona Maria 2001 (Douro), Pape 2002 (Dao) and Mouchao 2000 (Alentejo).

The jury was made up of eight specialists: Michel Bettane, editor of La Revue du Vin de France, Jose Penin, director of the Spanish magazine Sabaritas, Joshua Greene, editor of Wine and Spirits Magazine in the USA, Peter Moser, editor of Falstaff in Austria, and the author of this article.

The tasting was organised by the Portuguese Academy of Gastronomy.

Written by Richard Mayson