Which Wine Pairs with leadership on #ClimateChange? 3 from Portugal

pretty picture of food and wine from Portugal to get your attention to a discussion of  climate change and the conference with wine industry leaders in Porto this week; wines and food follow …

In July 2018, wine industry leaders concerned about Climate Change gathered in Porto for the Climate Change Leadership Porto Summit where Barack Obama was a keynote speaker in conversation with Juan Verde regarding the impacts and challenges of climate changes in the world.

Why? Consider the following:

In Porto last year, participants developed The Porto Protocol which states:

As wine producers, we strongly support and sustain rural communities and landscapes. Many of our vineyards are located in areas of great natural beauty, with rich histories and unique ecologies that we are committed to preserve. 

One complaint is that it’s too expensive to cut carbon emissions and address climate change.

But that’s a fallacy:

This first full week of March 2019, the conversation continues, this time with keynote speaker Al Gore at the  Conference about Climate Change & Wine Industry which will also be held once again in Porto, Portugal.

Because something has to be done by someone to save our planet and the living beings that inhabit it. And that someone is everyone. Including you. And the winemakers who make the wine you drink.

Already progress is being made to decarbonize the wine industry.  

As reported here, in Barcelona last week on February 28th, 2019, “Familia Torres and Jackson Family Wines have announced today in Barcelona their intention to create a working group of wineries from all over the world to join efforts towards CO2 emissions reduction. The goal is to galvanize action within the global wine community to mitigate and reverse the impacts of climate change by decarbonizing the industry. Wineries will share the commitment of achieving 80% reduction of total carbon emissions (Scopes 1, 2 & 3) by 2045.”

The article also states that members of “International Wineries for Climate Action” will be those who “recognize that climate change is a significant threat facing the wine industry and who are guided by the urgency for strategic action that accelerates the implementation of innovative solutions to tackle climate change.”

People tell me all the time that they don’t know or they don’t know enough or that they can’t make a difference.

But that’s not true. If you’re willing to care about the issue, and take a stand about it, that’s a start. And

I’ve long said that wine is a gateway drug to caring about the climate and the planet.

Seriously, it doesn’t even take that many people to create change. Research in the US says less that if less than 5% of the people DO SOMETHING, the system will change.


In fact, it only takes 3.5% according to the video above. That’s only 11 million Americans.

The response to the video has been so massive that they have set up a group training call for all 800 screening hosts this Wednesday March 6 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. You can join too. Sign up and we’ll train you to successfully screen Unbreaking America and keep the momentum building.

It’s not that simple to convince people, as Frantz Fanon expresses so eloquently:

Because we’re probably not in Porto helping to shape that conversation,

What else can we do?

This webinar on Thurs. March 7 is an exciting opportunity to get involved in the movement for climate leadership. Just as wine industry leaders are listening to Al Gore in Porto, you can .join other Greenpeace supporters across the country who will be learning about how to get involved and take action


So now that I have you sufficiently riled up, let’s drink some wine!

Which brings us to today’s subject: what wines pair with climate change leadership?

In addition to wineries that practice sustainable agriculture with attention to organic and biodynamic practices which I’ve been writing about extensively this year and will continue to do, we decided to call our attention to three red wines from the Douro region in northern Portugal east of where the climate change leadership conference is taking place in Porto, Portugal.

map from Wine Folly which you can buy!

WINES from the Douro 
Long famous for fortified, sweet wines, the Douro today offers dry reds from the rugged steep slopes of the famed Douro Valley as well that offer quality and value — and with more than 250 indigenous varieties grown in Portugal, new experiences too.
  • 2014 Prats + Symington Post Scriptum SRP $25
  • 2015 Quinta dos Murças Minas 2015 SRP $25
  • 2015 Pombal do Vesuvio – 13.5% alcohol SRP $28 
  • Charcuterie
  • Canned Portuguese mackerel
  • Tangerine green salad
  • Portuguese Kale Soup
  • Mushroom Risotto
  • Steaks
  • Port poached pears


There are nights when we do this that we are so busy preparing meals, bustling around to make everything just right that we don’t always get a chance to take a deep breath and really sit down to relax and enjoy the wines; this evening however was an exception. Sue tackled the soup then the cheese plate first, while  the soup was under way, we were able to sit down talk through the wines and then enjoy them with the cheese plate. Marshall then took on the job of making the instant pot prosciutto and mushroom risotto. While that was cooking, we were able to put the steaks on the grill and  enjoy our soup and salad ( which was quickly put together ).

We used this recipe for Portuguese Kale Soup from David Crowley’s Cooking Chat site as a guide, but Sue being Sue, put her own spin on it. We used Spanish chorizo instead of andouille sausage, because it is more regionally traditional and it was as easy to obtain as andouille. We also did not have butternut squash, but did have a turnip in the refrigerator so we substituted, because as

“You don’t go out to buy ingredients for a soup,” says Sue, “you look to see what you have in the fridge and go from there. Soups have a basis to start at, and then morph and evolve depending on the season and what you have at hand.”

The kale was fresh and tender from my garden.

The salad was fresh baby greens, with fresh tangerine, fresh goat milk, sautéed spanish chorizo, and great basin nuts, tossed with lemon olive oil and orange muscat vinegar. We loved all three of these wines with this salad, but wanted a bit more fat from avocado, however what a lovely surprise. Our salad needed a bit more fat to enjoy the wine completely, we should have added an avocado, or put the rest of the mackerel on it to make it absolutely perfect.

While we had individual pairing notes with each of the wines having to do with our appetizers, we found that the menu went consistently well with all of the wines.

Prats + Symington Post Scriptum 2014 (SRP $25)

In the 16th Century, the Portuguese explored the world and set up ports dotted along the coastlines, evidence of their maritime dominance. This dominance included monopolizing the Indian spice trade with pepper and ginger one of the first. In 1511, the Portuguese sailors found the Banda Islands, which at that time was the only source of nutmeg and mace, and later they found the island source for cloves. No wonder these spices are ingredients in the cuisine — and go well with the wines. For example, seasonings in Portuguese style potatoes includes smoked paprika and black pepper.

Color: Dark red, ruby, dense and dark, hot pink rim.

Count Dracula would be attracted to this wine.

Nose: Sage, rosemary, lavender, bay, laurel, like a dried herbal wreath that has been pinched.

Palate: Warm textural feeling across the tongue, velvet, or like cocoa powder in texture, dried earth, a bit of mint up front, cherry and blackberry mid palate, and then following through to the finish along with baking spices.

Pairing: This wine loves salty foods, mackerel with goat cheese on our multi grain baguette was divine, fantastic with the prosciutto, rich well aged cheeses, the menage makes the cheese feel like milk chocolate, it really enhances the flavor of the wine, while mellowing the strong cheese flavor, and the mouth feel is just incredible. The complete experience is incredible.

The steak brings out the beautiful fruit in the wine, which was a pleasant surprise considering there was not a huge fruit presence in the wine prior to drinking it while eating steak.

2015 Pombal do Vesuvio – 13.5% alcohol – ($28 SRP)
50% Touriga Nacional, 45% Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Amarela.

With fruit from one of the largest (and considered one of the greatest) estates of the Douro Superior, Pombal do Vesuvio offers an interesting blend of three Portuguese grapes with the two Tourigas giving the wine its structure and the Tinta Amarela additional acidity and bright fruit aromas.

Color: Very dense and cloudy, red red that is also on the brown side without being coral, with a light pink rim.

Nose: Sue got earthen funk, and creekside mud on her first visit, I got a lot of mint, and pennyroyal, while we both found bright cherry fruit.

Palate: With such bright tart fruit up front, we thought this wine could lay down for much longer to mellow, the fruit on the palate without being too fruity. We love the minerals, lots of acidity; this is a bright young wine.

Pairing: I loved it with the prosciutto, and it reminded me how when I was in Portugal, every meal started out with wonderfully cured meats, olives, and delicious cheeses.  The brightness of the wine easily tackles these bold flavors. It likes the heartiness of the grainy bread, this is not a fussy wine, it can pair with peasant foods just beautifully, super with salt cured olives. If you didn’t get the earthen funk that Sue found, pair it with a piece of sliced brie, the rind on the brie really brings out the earthen funk.

While this wasn’t the favorite with the soup, it was the big winner with our salad: the bright citrus notes of the salad became a choir when paired together.

Who would have thought that tart sweet tangerines would go so well with a red wine? But it is out of this world when paired together.

And of course it was great with the steak. With some age to mellow this wine, it is going to be even that much better.

Quinta dos Murças Minas 2015 SRP $25
Made from a blend of five indigenous grapes from three terroir

Color: Deep and dense, very dense and somewhat cloudy, maroon with bright pink rim

Nose: Bright red fruit, pomegranate, underlying red rose tones, stone, rocks at the sea.

With all of the rainstorms around here, people have posted a picture of a local beach with strawberries washed up along the shore; this wine reminds me of that.

Palate: Clean and fresh across the palate, bright fruit up front, pomegranate, acidity, lingering mineral finish. There is a nice smoothness. There are lots of tannins, but there is also a textural sensation, leathery.

Pairing: Loves the Menage cheese which is a blend of goat, sheep and cow milk. We found it really interesting how well the mackerel went with this wine. We imagined making bruschetta with fresh goat cheese spread on a multigrain toast with a piece of mackerel with fresh herbs sprinkled on top, it also liked the salt cured olive and strong aged cheeses.

I really loved this wine with the soup. It resonated the beautifully with the flavor combinations. The wine also really likes the root vegetables, the turnip, the potato, and the carrot.



So tell me, what do you plan to do about climate change? What action or actions will you take to decarbonize your lifestyle?

4 thoughts on “Which Wine Pairs with leadership on #ClimateChange? 3 from Portugal

  1. Another interesting wine write up. All the ecological information was informative, and important. What I’m doing, in the aspects reducing my carbon footprint, is using public transit as my main mode of transportation, besides my powerwheelchair. I use my gas van very little. I always use my stainless steel refillable water container. BTW it also holds exactly one bottle of wine. That’s handy when needed. I buy as few products as possible with plastic components or packaging. I’m a fervent recycler, much to a level of annoyance to some. I also try to go to protests or rallies in support of the green movement.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I forgot to add, the wine I chose to drink this evening while reading this article was a 2016 Grüner Ventliner, Terrassen, Traisental, from Huber Winery Austria. It’s sustainable certified.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My 12 year old niece started an Instagram account about zero waste. Her parents went plastic free three years ago and are working towards zero waste. She is an inspiration and gets friends to go with her to the Beach where they live in Florida to clean up trash. We need to teach the younger generation like this!

    Liked by 1 person

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