Right before Hurricane Sandy I was working at the restaurant and noticed a guy having a tasting menu. Sometimes you get an industry-feeling about someone. He was going through the tasting menu like a restaurateur, he thumbed through the wine list like a sommelier, and he tasted wines like a winemaker. Little did I know, he is practically all three of these things! I struck up a conversation, and it turns out that both his wife and father-in-law are great winemakers in Portugal; William has a beautiful restaurant in Antwerp (Pazzo), and he and his wife live an action packed life with their children between the Portuguese winery, the restaurant in Belgium, and traveling to promote the wine. William was visiting NYC to pour his wife's wines at a special Portuguese tasting, and had popped into Public for dinner because it was near his hotel. William's wife, Filipa Pato, makes wines in Beiras, Portugal. I was fresh from my recent trip to Vinho Verde, and as luck would have it that night, I had an open bottle of Pedro Aurajo's laureiro (Quinto do Ameal). So naturally, I brought a glass to my new friend to toast the upcoming Portuguese tasting. It turns out that William knows Pedro very well. Here is a photo of William in mid toast!
But the Portuguese tasting was cancelled due to the weather, Sandy shut down all of Manhattan, and, as I later found out, William was holed up inside of his hotel for three days before he could get back home! He left, and the tasting was postponed.
A few weeks later, I get a message that his dad-in-law is in town and is planning to visit! Enter the enigmatic Luis Pato; his energy fills up a room when he walks in.
So I had met the clan, with the exception of Filipa. After Hurricane Sandy the Portuguese tasting that William had originally been in town for was rescheduled, and this time..... Filipa herself came to pour the wines.
Filipa grew up on her dad's vineyards and was inspired by wine and winemaking from the start. She broke away and started her own winery called "FP" for, you guessed it, Filipa Pato. Her wines range from sparkling to red to white. She makes inspiring terroir-driven 'Nossa' wines from limestone soils. Her vision is much different from her father's, yet equally inspired.