segunda-feira, 29 de novembro de 2010
It seems fitting, with Thanksgiving just passed and with Christmas at the gates, for me to be thankful, truly, for whatever blessings I have been graced with, which are always many, I think.
I am writing here about Vivien and Michelle because they have both been to Fundo de Vila and have contributed a little to the farm and to the making of Terrus. I co-organised the ZAAT Mostra de Artes Visuais e Sonoras 010 www.zaat.net, which is currently taking place in Lisbon, and I invited Michelle and Vivien, both artists, to exhibit some of their works. Their exhibition “Intimacy & Solitude” is at the architects’ office 71Arquitectos www.71arquitectos.com, and below are some photographs.
domingo, 9 de maio de 2010
We have been doing some Spring cleaning in Casa da Eva, getting it ready for the Summer. Chris started it last weekend and was disappointed to have to leave the job unfinished. And through all of last week Zé do Convento and Marco were working solid on turning a centenary "lagar" into a refreshing pool for the very hot days of Summer.
The main event of the month is still to happen: the bottling of Terrus 2008! That is planned for tomorrow and will be a full day. I should also mention that the night of my arrival this time, Luna, our Rhodesian Ridgeback bitch, produced a delightful litter of 9 puppies, 7 of which survived and are thriving. Any good homes?
Our to do list is quite long. To keep calm Eva is knitting and I am smoking. And the airports are closed again. So I may have to stay on or may decide to drive to France and take the train from there. Whatever will be, will be, che sera sera!!!
sábado, 10 de abril de 2010
We hope you like our new look. We think the colours are more appropriate to red wine, vines, land, etc. The great thing about blogs is how malleable they are, but we’re trying out this aesthetic for now, so let us know what you think. Keep an eye out also for new features. We’re working on them, but we do things leisurely (read lazily) here.
terça-feira, 6 de abril de 2010
April is indeed the cruellest month. I wonder what T.S. Eliot would have thought of the first lines of his most famous poem being presented as a Facebook status. That is where I last read the poet’s opening lines, and was hence reminded of The Wasteland, a book I read once through a few years ago, and didn’t really understand. Probably time I return to it with more care and attention. I think poetry is the art I find most difficult, even music, in spite of my ignorance on the subject, I seem to find easier to ‘get’.
Portugal is a land of poets, and this April the Douro valley seems fit to act as muse to one writing about the sad things in life. The chill, the drizzle that can’t quite make up its mind to turn into rain and so makes the use of an umbrella seem silly, the deep greens, the low-lying clouds (or is it high-lying mist?) following the curves of the river. Not being a poet I can’t turn the uncomfortable physical facts into lyrical metaphysicality. The cold, numb tips of my fingers remain just that, and only make it harder to type. The house has no heating, and the boiler isn’t working, but I am grateful for warm clothes, mugs of freshly brewed tea, and log fires – luxuries whatever the circumstances.
This visit to the north frames my first month living in Portugal. You hardly need to be a meteorologist to know that down south it’s warmer, but even a month ago when I was here it didn’t feel this cold, or perhaps it was the bursts of soft yellow from the mimosa trees warming things up. I arrived Thursday night, on the coach from Lisbon, and travelled with many others and their dispersive plans for the Easter weekend. The main reason for my trip was to see my dentist uncle who looks after my braces (it felt ridiculous to have braces at 30, but so many adults have them in Portugal, it must be the fashion). That duty done, I went to see my grandmother, who said I looked so-so, and then entertained me and herself with stories about family members represented in old photographs - a recent discovery of hers – which she keeps displayed around her room and stored in boxes and albums.
My pretensions to a certain degree of luxury insisted that I spend the night at Casa da Eva rather than at my grandmother’s, and in spite of my house’s shortcomings, it still feels more comfortable, although it might just be the comfort of solitude. One of my cousins and her friend gave me a lift here, while I bored them with my tales of woe about how hard it has been to find employment in Lisbon. Their response was surprisingly stiff-upper-lip, which was probably the metaphorical cold shower I needed to shut up and get on with it.
In the winery I found my cousin Francisco (Terrus enologist) and his brother To Zé sorting out their own wine Aneto. Decanting Aneto 2008 from wood barrels to metal ones to be bottled soon, washing the wood barrels out and filling them with Aneto 2009, the water and the wet enhancing the miserable weather outside.
[N.B. I am having some trouble with my images, but I shall upload some as soon as I solve the problem.]
terça-feira, 23 de março de 2010
After having spent several years in the UK, I am now based in Lisbon and spend part of my time marketing and therefore trying to sell my mother’s wine (for a salary, I would like to add). My new role started in practice last Friday. Not quite knowing where to begin, I consulted the 2010 edition of João Paulo Martins’ Vinhos de Portugal (the Portuguese wine bible). Other than having a pretty good rating of Terrus, it also has a list of wine shops, in Portugal and abroad. I started off with the former, narrowing it down to Lisbon and surroundings, and started calling places, asking them whether I could go by and introduce the wine to them. And so that is what I have done these past two days. Targets have ranged from new, snazzy gourmet food & wine shops, to traditional Portuguese garrafeiras.
I take a bottle and information about the wine, give a little introduction and answer any questions my interlocutor might have. I thought some people would want to try the wine there and then, but that has not been the case. I have walked up and down Lisbon’s hilly streets, and have gotten to know the city better. The few longer conversations I have had with merchants have also been very interesting and instructive.
We shall see what fruits my labour bears.
Next I’ll most likely be getting in touch with restaurants and wine bars.