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BENTO AMARAL - from the IVDP

Postby Roy Hersh     » Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:54 am

Just to give everyone a heads up that our next Guest Corner host has already commited but we have not yet agreed to a specific week. Moreover, I am really excited for this and can honestly say, although this individual is a departure from the normal wine maker, Port producer or journalist that we've had in the past ... this esteemed maestro of Port and the Douro, (to be named when appropriate) is going to provide a great deal of personality and incredible insight. For those that choose to directly participate, or those that prefer to lurk here with a glass or two of Port at the ready; I believe you will all truly enjoy the wisdom shared by this highly respected and extremely articulate individual.
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: LATE OCTOBER 2013 ... our next guest

Postby Roy Hersh     » Tue Aug 20, 2013 1:36 am

Please reserve the week of October 27th to Nov. 2nd for our next guest corner host. :scholar:
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: LATE OCTOBER 2013 ... our next guest

Postby Miguel Simoes     » Mon Oct 14, 2013 2:36 pm

Almost there!
Anyone knows who it will be?
Was reading through some older guest corners and feeling privileged!
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Re: LATE OCTOBER 2013 ... our next guest

Postby Roy Hersh     » Mon Oct 21, 2013 3:01 pm

Our next Guest Corner Host will be none other than the IVDP's BENTO AMARAL. :scholar:

Brilliant, patient, possessing a great palate and one of the nicest individuals you will ever meet. Bento oversees the tasting panel for the IVDP and has been there for many years. He is well versed in a wide variety of Port and Douro related topics, so please bring some great questions and discussion points this coming week. RIGHT HERE!

If you would like to start putting some questions here for Bento to respond to when he arrives, feel free to do so, but please keep them related to our usual points of discussion.
Ambition driven by passion, rather than money, is as strong an elixir as is Port. http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: Late October ... our upcoming guest is:

Postby Al B.     » Wed Oct 23, 2013 7:04 am

Bento

Many thanks for agreeing to be a guest on FTLOP and to answer our questions. I'll start with what I hope is an easy question but which is something that has never been completely clear in my mind:

When a sample of Port is submitted to the tasting panel for approval, what are you looking for in that Port and how do you judge whether the sample is acceptable or should be rejected?

Many thanks for your answer.

Alex
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Daniel Jewesbury » Wed Oct 23, 2013 2:53 pm

A nice question with which to open proceedings, Alex. Related to this is the question of rejection of samples: are there many rejected? For what reasons, generally? Are producers reasonably understanding of the reasons for rejection?
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Eric Ifune     » Wed Oct 23, 2013 4:36 pm

Mr. Amaral,
Thank you for joining us here.
With the relatively new catagoies including White Ports with Indicated Age, how does one decide what is characteristic for that new type of Port? Does a committee decide beforehand?
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Miguel Simoes     » Thu Oct 24, 2013 11:24 am

Caro Eng. Bento Amaral,

As someone who has had the opportunity to taste most of the Port wine produced over the last 10-15 years, do you...
- Sense a difference in the general quality of Port wine over that period? Or any other trends for that matter...
- Have a top 5 of wines that you tasted and were your favorites?

On a separate note,
- Do you find that your personal taste for Port wine has evolved over that time period?
- Do you find that your ability to taste and analyze wines continues to improve, or do you find that you reached a plateau at some point along the way?

Muito obrigado por se disponibilizar para responder às nossas perguntas!
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Glenn E.     » Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:01 pm

Hello, and thank you for joining us here on FTLOP.

I would like to broaden Eric's question. For some categories such as aged White Ports, it is understandable that you might need to have a panel of experts produce an official profile to use for tasting submissions into that new category. I am interested in hearing how you update or modify the profiles for existing categories such as 40-yr old Tawny Port. Do you taste 40-yr old Colheitas and base the blended category on the characteristics of those, or does the official profile simply change over time as producers submit new products for approval?

Is the maintenance of profiles similar for all categories of Port, or do you use different methods for Rubies and Tawnies for example?
Glenn Elliott
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Andy Velebil     » Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:30 am

Mr. Amaral,

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer our questions.

On average, how many wines a week does the IVDP test both in the lab and by an actual tasting panel? How often does the tasting panel change?

When a sample is rejected and a producer resubmits a new sample later, do you compare the old results to the new results? Or is it tasted blind without knowing about the prior rejected sample?
Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Paul Fountain     » Sun Oct 27, 2013 2:06 am

Mr. Amaral,
Thanks for joining us for the week. I'll look forward to reading your answers.

How common is it for a product to be rejected, and what preocess then takes place?
What options does a producer have if their wine has been rejected?

regards

Paul
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:08 am

Hello everyone, it's a great honor to be the guest of these prestigious corner. Thank you Roy for this invitation. I hope to be able to answer all of your questions and also not make big grammatical mistakes. My apologies if in some cases I will take a little bit more time to answer but I write slowly, that’s the reason.
Thank you,
Bento
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 6:11 am

Al B. wrote:
“When a sample of Port is submitted to the tasting panel for approval, what are you looking for in that Port and how do you judge whether the sample is acceptable or should be rejected?”

When a sample of Port is submitted to the tasting panel what we try to judge is if that sample has the characteristics of the wine of these particular category. For example if someone sends us for approval a wine like a 2011 Vintage but to be approved as a 10 years old Tawny it is rejected because it doesn’t have the color, aroma, flavor and age that is expected for a 10 y.o Tawny. I don’t know if this is enough to understand the reasons, but as in further questions I will be more detailed, I hope you understand, otherwise, please let me know and I’ll be more specific.
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 7:47 am

Rejections: reasons and what to do after a rejection
Answering Daniel Jewerbury and Paul Fontain

From 2012 IVDP’s activities report pag 33 (http://www.ivdp.pt/pt/docs/Relatorio%20 ... 202012.pdf I’m sorry it’s in Portuguese):
The last year rejection was 4% of the samples for Port wine and 18% for Douro wine (as referred in pag 28 of the same document).
For Port wine, the main reason for rejection is not having the quality for this particular category (the same for Douro wines). For example, if someone sends a sample for Vintage that has only an LBV’s quality, it’s rejected. Other reasons are: not having the age (for a 10 y.o Tawny for example, who’s sensory characteristics is from 8 years) or having faults (volatile acidity, bad wood, mould…).

If someone has a wine rejected, he can try to improve the wine and send another sample (have in mind that Port is usually a blend of different wines). Otherwise he can send the wine for a lower category. For example, a wine that has been rejected as a Reserve Tawny, can be approved as a Tawny. But the decision so send for a different category is from the owner. IVDP decides about the category that the wine has been sent.

If someone disagrees of the rejection, can appeal to the “Junta Consultiva de Provadores (JCP)” ,which members are well known winemakers*. Only 17% (for Port in 2012) of the rejections have made an appeal, so I would say that Producers reasonably understand the reasons of rejection.
I think it’s good to have the JCP (the appeal council) for two main reasons:
1- The regular tasting panel can be harder because he knows that if commits a mistake by rejecting a wine, this mistake is corrected in the higher instance (JCP)
2- It’s an opportunity to assess if the regular tasting panel is tasting using the standards of the Port wine company (the tasters of JCP works on them). There are some meetings between the JCP tasters and I in order to check if we’re all tasting in the same way.
Finally there’s a minor difference in the way that the 2 panels taste: the Tasting Chamber, when the taster have a doubt if a wine must be approved or rejected, rejects the wine; while the JCP approves the wine

*JCP members at this moment (2 of them are going to change soon)
José Maria Soares de Franco (Duorum, previously Sogrape – Ferreira/Sandeman/Offley)
Peter Symington (Graham’s/Dow’s/Warre/Vesúvio/Cockburn’s…)
David Guimaraens (Taylor’s/Fonseca/Croft/Delaforce…)
José Manuel Sousa Soares (Gran Cruz/Dalva, previously Barros/Feist)
José Pinheiro (supporting “small” Producers in Douro, previously Sogrape – Ferreira/Sandeman/Offley)
Luis Sottomayor (Sogrape – Ferreira/Sandeman/Offley)
Jim Reader (he’s “helping” a Gran Cruz/Dalva, previously Cockburn’s)
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:01 am

New Port wine categories: white port with indication of age
Reply to: Eric Ifune

Old white ports exists for a longtime in the companies, even if this new category only exists since 2007 (?).So there was no need to have a Committee to decide beforehand: winemakers and IVDP tasters knew previously what the expected characteristics for these wines were.
On another hand, before having the Pink Port there were some exchanges between the Producer who wanted to do it and IVDP.
Sometimes the JCP (please see answer above) tastes several samples of a type of Port to check if they achieve the standard for it.
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Andy Velebil     » Sun Oct 27, 2013 8:41 am

HI Bento,

As we all know Douro wines have risen in popularity many times over in the past 15 years. Many of us assume that only Port was tested and not Douro wines. Obviously not the case. You mentioned in an answer that in 2012 18% of Douro wines were rejected. What is the typical reason Douro wines get rejected? And is the process for resubmission/appeal the same as for Port?

How has the rise in popularity of Douro wines affected the work load of your panel? Did you have to increase the amount of tasters to handle the now large influx of producers making dry wines?
Andy Velebil Good wine is a good familiar creature if it be well used. William Shakespeare http://www.fortheloveofport.com
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:30 am

Wine profiles and its evolution over time.Trends
Reply to: Miguel Simoes (1st part) and Glenn Elliot


I think that the general quality of Ports is increasing. If you compare our rejection rate of Ports ten years ago (10% aprox) and the actual rate (4%), it’s clear this increase.
Wines with faulty, or at least not so sound, aromas are less and less frequent. The fruit is more defined and the tannins less harsh (in the “Ruby” style); in the Tawny group, the aromas of bad wood or wines that have been “forgotten” in cask without care are also less common.

As there’s a wide variety of styles in each Port category, we don’t have references for each category. Before being admitted in the tasting panel, each potential taster tastes at least 800-1.000 Port wines. These will help to make a “mind database” of different styles. I think this is the most important tool that a taster has. Their wine education is complemented with statistical tests, sensitivity, fault identification and wine description.

In an unconscious way the tasters update the profile for each category daily, while they taste the wines sent by the different Producers to the IVDP for approval. So, usually there’s not an official update of profiles, even if the meetings with the JCP can have, in part, this goal.

Trends:
- In all categories the wines are more fruity, clean and usually have more color than 10 years ago. The tannins are getting softer.
- The styles of the wines of big companies based in Gaia and smaller producers in Douro are becoming closer. In my opinion due to main reasons:
    o Big houses are buying old wines in Douro
    o There’s more exchange in the Port wine trade. People talk more. And also small Producers have higher qualified winemakers.
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 9:40 am

Personal taste
Reply to: Miguel Simões (2nd part)

Once I still taste regularly, I think and I hope my tasting ability is evolving. I’ve more wines tasted, so more mental references to compare.
My top 5: it’s a difficult question. Some of them could be: Ferreira Vintage 1815; Constantino Vintage 1948 and the very old Tawnies that have been released on the past couple of years (Scion, Wiese & Krohn, Niepoort, Vallado, 5G)
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:48 am

Number of samples per week. Tasting panel. Resubmitions and comparison tasting
Reply to Andy Velebil

We taste everyday almost 20 Ports. The Douro wines are tasted 3 times a week. Each time 24 samples. So this means 100 Ports per week + 72 Douro/week.
On the last years there’s an increase of samples of Douro and a decrease of Port. So some weeks, we taste 4 times Douro (one more) and 4 times Port (one less).
We’re a group of 14 tasters, some of them only taste Douro, but all that taste Port, also taste Douro (with one exception).
A regular tasting of Port has 7 tasters and a Douro tasting has 6. This difference is due to the load of work of the tasters in other sectors of the IVDP (mainly laboratory).
Resubmitions: the tasting panel doesn’t know if a wine that is sent a 2nd time, so we don’t compare with the previous sample.
We compare with the previous samples in the controls that we do in wines that is bottled and are in the market.
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Re: BENTO AMARAL

Postby Bento Amaral » Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:54 am

Rejections Douro
Reply to Andy Velebil


The main reason for rejection is the same for Port: quality.
The Douro wines are stratified in 3 levels of quality: standard, Reserve (or equivalent), Special Reserve (or equivalent).
The resubmission and appeals works on the same way as for Port
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