The Simplesmente Vinho Jantar Pop-Up: a great evening of Portuguese food and wine

Each year at the fabulous Simplesmente Vinho festival there is a pop-up dinner, with top chefs creating interesting, authentic food to go with wines in a similar vein. This year the event was held at Mito Restuarante in Porto, and the two chefs were Mirna Gomes (who is sous chef at Mito) and Inês Pando (her restaurant is Mafaldas in Matosinhos, the port area in Porto, famous for seafood).

Mirna and Inês

This was one of the best meals I have had in a long time.

We began with potato bread. No picture, but this was so good I decided I need to learn how to cook this, but it’s unlikely I’ll get anywhere close.

Aphros Pet Nat Branco 2022 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Fresh and linear. It isn’t terribly fizzy, but offers taut lemony fruit with nice acidity. There’s a slight salinity, too. Delicate and fine. 92/100

Natus Situs 2022 Alentejo, Portugal
This is the personal project of Hamilton Reis of Mouchao. A blend of Antao Vaz, Roupeiro and Arinto: these grapes are purchased from an old dry-grown vineyard. Foot trodden and left on skins until fermentation starts: when the cap rises there is carbon dioxide present to protect the wine so it’s then pressed and finishes fermentation in stainless steel. Textural and fresh with lovely balance, nice fruit weight and sense of harmony to the pear, peach and green apple fruit. 93/100

The next course consisted of three dishes: beetroot tartare with crispy tapioca, cannoli filled with pumpkin and a pasty with wild mushroom and smoked egg yolk.

Vadio Espumante Perpetuum NV Bairrada, Portugal
Base wine is a perpetual reserve with years 2007-2018 in it. This is quite deep in colour and shows great complexity, with toast, apple, pear, peach and a distinctive spiciness. Quite dry with a linear finish, showing hints of smokiness. 94/100

Quinta do Infantado Rabigato Branco 2021 Douro, Portugal
A very focused, bright expression of Rabigato showing a citrus fruit core with a spicy, mineral flourish. Pear and green apple notes as well as lemon. 93/100

The next course: gnocchi made of cassava in a pearl barley broth.

Pormenor Reserva Branco 2019 Douro, Portugal
A wine that manages some richness but also freshness. Has spicy toast and nice weight with broad peach and pear fruit, but always stays fine and balanced. Well integrated oak here in the mix. 93/100

Aphros Aouranus Alvelrelhão 2020 Vinho Verde, Portugal
This lighter style red is quite remarkable. Destemmed and stays 3 weeks on skins but still pale in colour. Light red cherry fruit with some sappy green hints and a lovely weight to the palate with sweet strawberries and a touch of pepper. Elegant and fine. 95/100

Quinta do Perdigão Rosé 2021 Dão, Portugal
Deep red/pink in colour. Supple with a juicy edge to the cherry and raspberry fruit, with nice sappy green hints. A rosé with purose: dry and gastronomic. 92/100

Natus Tinto 2021 Alentejo, Portugal
From Vidiguera, this is Trincadeira and Castelão with a bit of Moreto, fermented in talha. Vibrant, juicy and bold with raspberry and cherry fruit, and a grainy, spicy core. Quite plump and dense, with a slight savouriness too. 92/100

Next course: pork terrine en croute.

La Biancara Pico 2015 Veneto, Italy
Angiolino Maule’s son’s Alessandro and Tommasi were guest producers and so they showed this wine alongside all the Portuguese offerings. This is Garganega, and has two days of skin contact at the beginning of fermentation, and then goes to barrel. It’s bottled with no additions, and no fining or filtration. Cloudy orange yellow colour. Powerful with fine spices, apricot, pear and some baked apple. Lovely texture and density, and still has freshness. 94/100

Next dish: celery root with a mushroom sauce.

Quinta do Perdigão Encruzado 2021 Dão, Portugal
Fresh and linear with lovely balance showing citrus with a hint of green apple. Has flesh and shows great balance. 92/100

Vadio Tinto 2013 Bairrada, Portugal
Lively, fresh and supple with a chalky edge to the taut blackcurrant fruit with some hints of earth and spice. Really nice supple fruit here: expressive and showing nice development. 94/100

Next dish: chicken thigh filled with blood rice, served with liver aioli and turnip puree.

Pormenor Trilho Tinto 2019 Douro, Portugal
Lovely weight of fresh black fruits with fine-grained tannins. Nice spicy detail here with good structure and some warmth. 91/100

Quinta do Infantado Reserve Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
This is sweet, warm, rich and shows flavours of cherries and raisins with some spicy woody notes in the background. Very satisfying for a young tawny. Organic. 93/100