Posts Tagged : Douro Wines

The presentation of an old producer – Quinta Dona Matilde

Text João Barbosa | Translation Bruno Ferreira

At every curve of the Douro there seems to exist a Quinta or a special location. It’s a river with charisma, a valley where nature and man have joined in creation. In the twists and turns, heights and riverbanks, in the way of facing the sun and in the wide range of varieties is written a great book. Not everything deserves to be character or chapter, but it’s a sheaf.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta Dona Matilde-presentation-Quinta quinta dona matilde The presentation of an old producer - Quinta Dona Matilde Blend All About Wine Quinta Dona Matilde presentation Quinta

Quinta Dona Matilde – Photo Provided by Quinta Dona Matilde | All Rights Reserved

The Quinta Dona Matilde has the right to enter history. If I use the book picture is because there’s a plot about this property. This domain belonged for four generations, to the Barros family, who bought it in 1927.

In May 2006, Manuel Ângelo Barros sold the Barros Group to Sogevinus Group. Quinta Dona Matilde was in the package along with the other assets. However, the wine is an imp and soon started to pester the entrepreneur who had sold the property.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta Dona Matilde-presentation-Quinta-2 quinta dona matilde The presentation of an old producer - Quinta Dona Matilde Blend All About Wine Quinta Dona Matilde presentation Quinta 2

Quinta Dona Matilde – Photo Provided by Quinta Dona Matilde | All Rights Reserved

Thus, Manuel Ângelo Barros and his family decided they had to go back to the wine. So many turns and they ended up buying back Quinta Dona Matilde at the end of 2006 – the remaining assets remained in Sogevinus.

The Quinta is located in Canelas, between Peso da Régua and Pinhão, within the initial demarcation area of Douro, established in 1756. All the wine area, 28 ha, is classified as Letra A (letter A) – the highest rank of the scoring table by the Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto – IVDP. In addition to the vineyards, Quinta Dona Matilde also has a traditional olive grove, an orchard, where stand out the lemon and orange trees, gardens and land left to nature. All this adds to the total of 93 ha.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta Dona Matilde-presentation-Quinta-3 quinta dona matilde The presentation of an old producer - Quinta Dona Matilde Blend All About Wine Quinta Dona Matilde presentation Quinta 3

Quinta Dona Matilde – Photo Provided by Quinta Dona Matilde | All Rights Reserved

Port wine has always been the destination of this Quinta’s grapes. A small part wasn’t fortified, but it was only for family consumption. In the 60s, the company produced a rosé and, in the 90s, a white – but always marginal. In family reincarnation, the Douro wine production is side by side with the production of Port Wine. Currently they are selling the grapes to the group The Fladgate Partnership.

Manuel Ângelo Barros says that he in no hurry to put the wines for sale, a rare decision in Portugal. Now they presented the 2011 vintage, related to reds. The presented white is from 2015. The tradition of this house was to make tawny ports and it will be, although the manufacturing of nectars with age indication is, for now, put aside. They decided to focus on the Rubies, namely vintages. The viticulture is in charge of José Carlos Oliveira and the enology in charge João Pissarra.

Dona Matilde White 2015 is a blend made with the grape varieties Arinto, Gouveio, Rabigato and Viosinho. The grapes were pressed and the wine was fermented in stainless steel vats.

Because of the mountainous terrain and a river cutting it, the Douro region is generous in variety of features. However, this wine surprised me, because I never would say that this is a nectar from this region.

I’m not a fan of making a sensory descriptors list, but it is justified to do so now, so that I can tell why I do not find the Douro in this white. It’s a wine where tropical fruit scents prevail, especially pineapple and passion fruit, combined with anise, a pinch of fennel, mandarin and a little lemon. In the mouth, the tropical nature stands out. It goes on and on and with freshness too.

And this that I’ve just written is good or bad? It’s a well-made wine – good! In terms of personal taste, it does not satisfy me. Then I wonder if this tropical and unpredictable profile is natural or if it was a will of the winemaker and the producer. If it’s solely the result of nature, I won’t speak a word. If it is intentional, I say I can see the reason for the Douro to produce wines with this profile.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta Dona Matilde-presentation-The Wines quinta dona matilde The presentation of an old producer - Quinta Dona Matilde Blend All About Wine Quinta Dona Matilde presentation The Wines

The Wines – Photo Provided by Quinta Dona Matilde | All Rights Reserved

The Dona Matilde Red 2011 is clearly a Douro and exemplary of the year. It’s a blend of Tinta Amarela, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional – all from old vines, as indicates the producer. Part of the grapes were trodden in lagares. The wine aged for a year in wood. It’s sweet tooth without being sweet, soft, fresh and has good mouth-time. Minty aroma and a very smooth smoked holm oak firewood. Beautiful!

Dona Matilde Reserva Red 2011 is a blend in which the Touriga Nacional represents 50%. Then we have Touriga Franca (30%) and a bouquet of various other, mixed in an old vine, where the Tinta Amerela prevails. Part of the grapes were trodden in granite lagares. The wine aged 18 months in new French oak barrels.

It’s the Douro well shown: rock rose, mint, wood and holm oak wood smoke, black plum, blackberry jam, strawberry jam (calm and soft), figs, a little of blond tobacco and shale – all happily married. In the mouth continues to be Douro, fully occupies the space, smooth, with tannins laughing (without biting the skin), fresh and dry, long and deep.

Before moving to the generous wine, I want to note that these three wines ask for table. The reds give hopes of good evolution in the bottle.

The Quinta Dona Matilde Porto Colheita 2008 is not an ordinary tawny, halfway Ruby. It’s the result of less time of aging in wood. Three years in oak barrels and four in barrels of 600 liters.

It’s a happy and pleasant surprise wine. It has what is expected of a tawny and resembles a ruby. There are dried fruit, caramel, vanilla and a pinch of iodine. Along with the blackberry, plum, cherry, and strawberry jams… It’s deep and dense, long.

The Quinta Dona Matilde Vintage 2011 is further proof that the year was very generous to the Portuguese winemakers. It’s a blend of Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca, Rufete, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. The wine aged two years in oak barrels, having then been bottled. There are again the many jams that liven up the vintage, from the nose to the mouth – deep and long.

The new Vintages are what they are, but they will also be something else. They should be drunk now or be saved? I do not know! I do not know if I’m alive tomorrow. I know that if I stay awake for more years, the wine will be better. Those who can, drink and save it.

Contacts
Quinta D. Matilde
Bagaúste
5050-445 Canelas PRG
Portugal
E-mail: info@donamatilde.pt
Website: www.donamatilde.pt

Coração d’Ouro, from television to the table

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

The telenovela Coração d’Ouro, which is broadcasted in prime time on SIC, went from the screen to the table, more properly into the glass. I’m talking about two wines, a white and a red, DOC Douro, resulting from a joint commitment of SIC and Real Companhia Velha. I remind you that the scenario is Quinta das Carvalhas, which belongs to Real Companhia Velha.

Two wines where the main role is given to the fruit, in conjunction with fresh and inviting aromas, a set where everything appears very clean and delicious. The Coração d’Ouro white 2014 is a blend of Viosinho, Gouveio, Moscatel, Arinto, Fernão Pires, Rabigato and Verdelho, showing plenty of fruit with citrus and ripe pear with a slight sauce. Youthful profile controlled by the freshness with floral aroma. It’s a very attractive and easy to like white. For all that it shows becomes versatile at the table and can make company along a good conversation and an extended variety of starters, seafood or salads. If you go for fish choose one with that has a more delicate meat and not too much fat, grilled preferably, with a pinch of butter sauce/salsa/lemon.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Coração d'Ouro-White coração d'ouro Coração d'Ouro, from television to the table Blend All About Wine Cora    o dOuro White

Coração d’Ouro white 2014 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Coração d'Ouro-Red coração d'ouro Coração d'Ouro, from television to the table Blend All About Wine Cora    o dOuro Red

Coração d’Ouro red 2014 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

Regarding the red wine, the typical grape varieties of the region come into play: Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca. The wine is a blend of acid wild fruits with many berries, ripe and fragrant strawberries. All good little things to smell and enjoy. In the background the ever present vegetal touch, as if it was the line stitching the whole set that smells and tastes like the Douro. Very balanced and full of energy, able to keep up with good seasoning dishes, but it will, in my view, shine brighter with the griller running. Pick a cut of beef suitable for the grid, previously marinated so that the meat gets caramelized, which matches beautifully with the wine.

Contacts
Real Companhia Velha
Rua Azevedo Magalhães 314
4430-022 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel: (+351) 223 775 100
Fax: (+351) 223 775 190
E-mail: rcvelha@realcompanhiavelha.pt
Website: www.realcompanhiavelha.pt

Quinta do Vallado

Text Bruno Mendes

It’s one of the oldest and most famous Quintas in the Douro Valley. Built in 1716 it was owned by Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira and remains until today in the family. We’re talking about Quinta do Vallado, close to Peso da Régua in the riverbanks of the Corgo river.

In 1993, at a time when the direction was already in charge of Guilherme Álvares Ribeiro and his wife Maria Antónia Ferreira the company decided to expand its area of activity by doing production, bottling and trading with its own brand. Up until then and for 200 years Quinta do Vallado had as its main activity the production of Port wines that were then sold under the name Casa Ferreira, which also belonged to the family.

Nowadays Quinta do Vallado has 70 hectares of planted vineyard 20 of which are vines with over 80 years and the remaining 50 with vines from 11 to 18 years old. The most prevalent grape varieties planted here are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Barroca, Tinta Amarela e Sousão for the reds and Viosinho, Rabigato, Moscatel, Verdelho (Gouveio) e Arinto for the whites.

Finished in 2009 both the new winery and cellar have the most advance tecnhology and na architecture of quality, which make the Quinta a fantastic space and one of the places to visit in the Douro Valley (Baixo Corgo).

More recently Quinta do Vallado has opened the doors of another estate located in Douro Superior (Foz Côa). The Quinta do Orgal (river house), which has magnificent facilities and views over the river – see here what we’re talking about.

For a more detailed vision check the video below and Sarah Ahmed’s previous article about this Quinta.

Pôpa Fiction – three wines given to crime and seduction,Quinta do Pôpa

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

Good evening, welcome to my place. Have a seat; I will serve you some wine in a moment. Tonight, we dine in the living room. I’m feeling groovy.

– We all are!

– In the living room?! Preppy-boy’s gone mad!

– Shut up, Pedro. Let me finish. I feel this groove and…

– We all do!

– Well, seeing as you all answered back in a chorus this time…  I shall sulk and dance my way to the kitchen to bring you some appetisers. I’m glad the good vibes are unanimous.

[Once back in the living room]

– Why has nobody turned music on yet?! Are you trying to upset me? We have three wines for tonight…  and there’s some logic to them. They come in a sequence… Bibbidi! Bobbidi! Boo!

[Everybody is dancing to You Never Can Tell by Chuck Berry… Pulp Fiction].

– Wow, the party has only just begun and the rug is already drizzled with red… hurrah!

– What are we drinking?

– Hot Lips 2012. Let me change the track… Why Don’t You Do Right by Katherine Turner… [Who Framed Roger Rabbit]

– Roger Rabbit! But tell us more about the wine…

– It’s red…

– Yup!

– That’s obvious.

– Come on, tell us!

– Douro.

– Oh, come on!

– Duh!… Didn’t you get it yet? We have to be careful… walls have ears. They could be listening in on us… the grape varieties are secret.

– L-O-L.

– Look, the bottle’s finished. What should I open now?

– That one… that one over there. It says In The Flesh 2012.

– Cool!

– Play Bryan Ferry’s Slave To Love…

– Whoa! From Nine 1/2 Weeks… Wow!

– Just the thought of Kim Basinger…

– And me instead of Mickey Rourke.

– I never got what women see in him…

– Tough luck! Girl stuff. Never mind. Tough!

– What’s up with the wine?

– What do you mean, what’s up?!

– It keeps ending…

– Open that one now… Is everybody ready? Let’s go!

– Wow! It tastes delicious! What is it?

– You don’t want to know…

– Psycho!

– Take that disc out and play this one, please.

– What is it? Good choice.

– What is it? …What?

– Push It To The Limit.

– Paul Engemann?!

– Yup!

– Scarface!…

– Yes!

– Nailed it! Tell me, what are we eating?

– You have to figure it out for yourself. This dinner’s a crime fiction.

Besides “formal” wines, Quinta do Pôpa have a conceptual side and, until now, it has amusingly been called Pôpa Art Projects. The first were Lolita and Milf. For this occasion, we had the second episode; this idea is a toast to the world of seduction, crime and the cinema.

The bottles in this trilogy (Pôpa Fiction) contain one litre, a little tease… or rather, a slight stifling of ideas. Each wine has its own name and label, which feature Mário Belém’s artwork.

Hot Lips 2012 is a greedy wine; relaxed, thus, dangerous. I recommend having it before a dinner date… That’s it – smooth and sexy.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Pôpa-Popa-Fiction-Hot Lips 2012 quinta do pôpa Pôpa Fiction – three wines given to crime and seduction,Quinta do Pôpa Blend All About Wine Quinta do Popa Popa Fiction Hot Lips 2012

Hot Lips 2012 – Photo Provided by Quinta do Pôpa | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Pôpa-Popa-Fiction-In the Flesh 2012 quinta do pôpa Pôpa Fiction – three wines given to crime and seduction,Quinta do Pôpa Blend All About Wine Quinta do Popa Popa Fiction In the Flesh 2012

In The Flesh 2012 – Photo Provided by Quinta do Pôpa | All Rights Reserved

Now the second, In The Flesh 2012, is the most “substantial” on the mouth. It’s meetier. “A bad egg,” say the sibling vintners, Stéphane and Vanessa Ferreira. Exactly… it does slip down easily, but a few appetisers can only do you good. Say hot appetisers like puff-pastry nibbles, smoked sausages and some cheeses.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Pôpa-Popa-Fiction-Stephane-Vanessa quinta do pôpa Pôpa Fiction – three wines given to crime and seduction,Quinta do Pôpa Blend All About Wine Quinta do Popa Popa Fiction Stephane Vanessa

Stéphane and Vanessa Ferreira – Photo Provided by Quinta do Pôpa | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Pôpa-Popa-Fiction-The Grape Escape 2012 quinta do pôpa Pôpa Fiction – three wines given to crime and seduction,Quinta do Pôpa Blend All About Wine Quinta do Popa Popa Fiction The Grape Escape 2012

The Grape Escape 2012 – Photo Provided by Quinta do Pôpa | All Rights Reserved

The third wine in the gang is The Grape Escape 2012. It’s a sort of Al Capone. It demands respect and must be taken with strong and powerful food. It’s a little more rustic and food friendly.

To drink them all in one occasion is funny and logical, because there’s an evident evolution in the style of the wines, from the easiest one to drink to the one that shakes up the table.

All you have to do is fantasise a little and you’ll see a detective plot being “written” in front of you – orally – as every person at the table adds a bit. Then, and if there’s any strength left, play Cluedo – one of the most amusing games to play when you’re inebriated.

Contacts
Quinta do Pôpa, Lda.
E.N. 222 – Adorigo
5120-011 Tabuaço
Portugal
Email: geral@quintadopopa.com
Mobile: (+351) 915 678 498
Site: www.quintadopopa.com

Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail

Text Sarah Ahmed

Pormenor” means “detail” in English.  Evidently, Pedro Coelho has indeed paid attention to the detail and done his homework – his first release of Pormenor Douro wines from the 2013 has already sold out. Not bad for a first generation winemaker who told me “my grandfather was an oak producer, my father a cork producer so… in the family it was necessary for someone to produce and drink… well that’s me!!!!!”

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pedro Coelho pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor Pedro Coelho e1444820548300

Pedro Coelho – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pormenor-corks pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor corks

Pormenor Corks – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

So, aside from Coelho’s boyish enthusiasm for the project, what’s the appeal? The packaging is simple – it’s not trying too hard – but it is classy with a contemporary feel which would catch your eye on the shelf.  And how contemporary is it to launch with two white Douro wines and one red!  There and again (another detail) his consultant winemaker is ex-Niepoort man Luis Seabra, whose very own “Cru” (translation “Raw”) range I wrote up in these pages earlier this year.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pedro Coelho-2 pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor Pedro Coelho 2

Pedro Coelho – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

Just like Seabra, Coelho’s aim for his own wines is to show the Douro “in the most natural way…with minimum intervention, giving priority to the main important characteristics from the Douro Valley: vines, grapes, soils and climate.”  And like Seabra’s Cru range, the whites are a little funky and very textural. In a way, not so very different from the labels – not trying too hard but insinuating – they find their mark.

In fact the whites are the stronger suit; I found the red a little rustic.  Which is fascinating when you consider that the whites come from the generally warmer, drier Douro Superior sub-region and the red from the Cima Corgo sub–region.  While the Cima-Corgo in the “heart of the Douro” is often cited as the source of the Douro’s most elegant wines and best Ports, Pormenor’s whites live up to their name – the devil is in the detail, especially site specificity.  It’s precisely this factor which explains why, contrary to received wisdom, the Douro Superior is the source of some of my favourite Douro whites.  Take Conceito, Quinta de Maritávora, Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas, Muxagat (though sadly Mateus Nicolau d’Almeida is no longer involved in this project) and Mapa.

Here are my notes on the maiden releases:

Pormenor Branco 2013 (Douro DOC) – this pale yellow wine was sourced from very old field blend vines on schist in the Douro Superior, located at between 400m and 500m in the Carrazeda zone, Ansiães. The grapes were harvested in late August in order to preserve acidity. Apparently Rabigato and Códega do Larinho pre-dominate, both of which  varieties have good fruit, though Rabigato is high in acidity and Códega do Larinho softer, with low acidity. The wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks.  It is a pale yellow with a highly individual palate redolent of cinnamon spice-grilled pineapple, apricot and firmer quince – quite fruity for the Douro.  Complexing acacia honey and a creamy, nuttiness make for a round, silky mouthfeel.  A ripe, very seamless undertow of acidity carries a long finish. Drinking very well now on its own and has the weight and interest to work very well with sauced white fish dishes. 12.63%

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pormenor-Reserva-2013-white pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor Reserva 2013 white

Pormenor Reserva Branco 2013 (Douro DOC) – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

Pormenor Reserva Branco 2013 (Douro DOC) – similarly old field blend vines (with Rabigato and Códega do Larinho predominating) were picked early from vineyards in the Carrazeda zone, Ansiães.  However, the fruit came from higher vineyards at between 600m to 800m, so the palate of the slightly deeper yellow Reserva is firmer, more concentrated, grapefruity and mineral once you get past the oak – I much preferred it on day two when the oak was less intrusive and it finished long, focused and mineral. The Reserva was naturally fermented and aged for nine months in used French oak barrels from Burgundy without temperature control and without batonnage.  I’d leave it for a year or so to unwind and allow the oak to integrate.  12.5%

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pormenor-Colheita-2013-white pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor Colheita 2013 white

Pormenor Branco Colheita 2013 (Douro DOC) – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Pormenor-Colheita-2013-red pormenor Pormenor: The Devil is in the Detail Blend All About Wine Pormenor Colheita 2013 red

Pormenor Tinto 2013 (Douro DOC) – Photo Provided by Pormenor Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

Pormenor Tinto 2013 (Douro DOC) – this medium-bodied crimson blend of several classic Douro grapes (mainly Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela and Rufete) is sourced from 50+ year old vines in Soutelo do Douro in the Cima Corgo planted at between 500m and 600m altitude.  It was fermented and macerated in stainless steel vats with some whole bunches (stems as well as grapes) for 25 days and aged for 14 months in used French oak barrels.  Like the Reserva White, this wine needed air.  This time because of a “white noise” earthiness to the nose which detracted from the fruit (and which I initially thought could be down to the bacterial spoilage, brettanomyces).  However, the clarity of the palate (from the same bottle) on day three suggests it was a “stemmy” character derived from the whole bunch fermentation.  So how did Pormenor Tinto look on day three? It showed fresh red currant, cherry and plum fruit with a very subtle hint of florality. Though the tannins were a touch earthy and rustic, they didn’t get in the way of this wine’s more enjoyable aspects – the fruit and freshness (indeed allowed that pretty floral hint to come through). While the rusticity arguably conforms to Coelho’s idea to show the Douro “in the most natural way,” best case scenario the stems in whole bunch fermentation can produce wines of thrilling spice, lift and structure. Coelho told me that this wine was picked in early September “to maintain a high level of acidity” but, while I commend the freshness of the palate, I wonder if the stems might have benefited from being a little riper?  Of course, 2013 was a tricky year – from 27 September there was a period of sustained rainfall which encouraged early picking.  So I for one am interested to taste follow up vintages of this wine.  12.5%

Contacts
Tel: (+351) 919 679 393
Email: geral@pormenor-vinhos.com
Website: www.pormenor-vinhos.com

A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro…

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

Grape harvests have started in full swing all over the Douro region, with a hand from the weather. It was in a grape-harvesting atmosphere that we spent our weekend at Real Companhia Velha, comfortably settled in Palácio de Cidrô.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-House Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   House

Palácio de Cidrô – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

We enjoyed all the architectural beauty, the wonderful gardens, and the silence of the cool nights under clear skies.

A very pleasant “ambulant” dinner party awaited, as it escorted the first and very traditional wines of this company. Shredded codfish, fried codfish buns, thin veggie omelettes, vegetable rice, homemade moist cake and a variety of fruit.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Wines Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Wines

Wines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Besides the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sparkling wines (the latter tasted very good), we tasted the traditional whites from Cidrô – Sauvignon-Blanc and Semillon – and the reds Cabernet Sauvignon with Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir. But a surprise, a Quinta do Cidrô Cabernet Sauvignon, was yet to come… a 1996 still full of life. We ended with Port wine, of course, Colheita 1986, which quickly slipped down our throats.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Douro Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Douro

Douro – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The next day, after a delicious breakfast, we arrived at Quinta das Carvalhas in two shakes, accompanied by all the beauty of Douro.

And there it was, waiting for us, Sousão vineyard. A herd of grape pickers was already at work; we joined them in the hard task of picking bunches of grapes.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Sousão-Vines Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Sous  o Vines

Sousão Vines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Bucket Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Bucket

Bucket, gloves and scissors – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

When we arrived, they quickly provided a bucket, gloves and scissors.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Pedro Silva Reis Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Pedro Silva Reis

Pedro Silva Reis – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Harvest over, we continued going up the hill, stopping here and there as Pedro Silva Reis told us about the constant evolution of the company.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Douro-2 Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Douro 2

The beauty of the Douro – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Douro-3 Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Douro 3

The beauty of the Douro – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The more we looked, the more overwhelming Douro became.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Casa-Redonda Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Casa Redonda

Casa Redonda – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

When we arrived at Casa Redonda, with that amazing 360º view over the Douro river, our cameras couldn’t stop shooting, “dictated” by the landscape. Miguel Torga would have said: “It’s too much Nature!”

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Appetizers Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Appetizzers

Appetizers – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Grape-harvesting-Carvalhas Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Carvalhas

Quinta das Carvalhas Tinta Francisca – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

A few appetizers awaited, as well as a rich “feijoada à transmontana” (a bean, cabbage and meat stew), one of the most typical meals during the grape-harvesting season.

Lest we forget, the Carvalhas wines in new clothing. Whites full of freshness and excellent acidity, the reds fully bodied, young, with very ripe fruit, amongst them the amazing Tinta Francisca, very elegant, replenished, and exquisite. The wines are really very good, modern and nicely presented. Álvaro caught up with us and amused us with many stories and info about his biggest passion, wine production. But it was time to go to Quinta da Granja in Alijὀ, where the huge cellar was working hard on the harvest.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Sourcing-grapes Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Sourcing grapes

Sourcing Grapes – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Jorge Moreira Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Jorge Moreira

Jorge Moreira – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In the cellar, we picked grapes from a tray as we listened to Jorge Moreira’s explanation, the main oenologist. He even gave us samples from the vats.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Foot-Treading Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Foot Treading

Foot-Treading – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Finally, the bravest squashed the grapes of red wine and Port inside the granite winepresses. It was celebration of the harvest. We still had time to taste a meatball and a few glasses of wine before we went back to Cidrô, tired but happy.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Evel-XXI Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Evel XXI

Evel XXI & Quinta de Cidrô Sauvignon-Blanc – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

All refreshed and buttoned up, we gathered in the first floor palace hall to share some snacks and wines, among which the Evel XXI tasted very good. Very lively, it conveyed finesse to the brand; the Sauvignon-Blanc Cidrô was absolutely delicious as usual. At the wheel, Pedro Silva Reis revealed his good taste and friendliness once more.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Alheira Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Alheira

Alheira – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-roast loin Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   roast loin

Roast Loin – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Sitting at the table, we enjoyed a crispy alheira (garlic sausage) with fried egg and greens, followed by roast loin with roast potatoes.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-1997-Vintage Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   1997 Vintage

Quinta das Carvalhas 1997 Vintage Port – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-1997-Music Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   1997 Music

Álvaro’s live music – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

We ended in the best way with a Vintage 1997, which embraced our spirit.

In the background, the happiness in Álvaro’s live music gently rocked us and made us smile…

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta de Cidrô-Farwell Grape-Harvesting A grape-harvesting weekend in Douro... Blend All About Wine Quinta de Cidr   Farwell

“See you soon” – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In the morning, after breakfast – those scrambled eggs with tomato were unbelievable! After that, it was farewell and back home.

I mean, it was a ”See you soon!”

Contacts
Real Companhia Velha
Rua Azevedo Magalhães 314
4430-022 Vila Nova de Gaia
Tel: (+351) 22 377 51 00
Fax: (+351) 22 377 51 90
E-mail: graca@realcompanhiavelha.pt
Website: realcompanhiavelha.pt

Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

I’m starting this text exactly the same way I’m going to start the next one. Writing about one of my three favourite Portuguese wines is difficult given the necessary care with your common sense, pleasure, memories and the product’s intrinsic quality.

I appreciate certainty; even the certainty that comes with uncertainty. I like a Coca-Cola to be a Coca-Cola – always the same. I like the certainty within the uncertainty of great wines. That’s what happens with this company in the Douro region.

Maritávora is a magical name if you think about how the Távora Family suffered when they were exterminated by the first Marquis of Pombal. I can’t even understand how people still use this surname. The present owner of the Quinta de Maritávora – in Freixo de Espada-à-Cinta – is unrelated to that aristocratic family.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Junqueiro-Family-Maritavora maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Junqueiro Family Maritavora

Junqueiro Family in Maritávora – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

The property was bought in 1870 by the father of poet Guerra Junqueiro, Manuel Gomes da Mota’s great grand-uncle. I first met him when he had a show on RTP about agriculture. He wanted to create a different kind of wine-tourism, relentlessly leading people to that wilderness to make an exclusive wine. Why? Because that town thrives on tours of the blossoming almond trees; because no one knows that the person who sketched Mosteiro dos Jerónimos monastery was also there; you see, the monastery has a strange tower with seven walls.

The cameraman and I arrived at dinnertime. There are no sophisticated restaurants in this area; you eat what the land offers you – the principle of the “Kilometre Zero” landmark, of the slow-food and of the wisdom of Alexandre Dumas Senior.

Manuel Gomes Mota opened a bottle in this inland-style restaurant: “Wow!” Quite a wine, and “weird” too. What was that? It expressed a lot, but it was almost always beating about the bush, thus excluding the obvious. “When you visit the farm tomorrow, you’ll see.”

Blend-All-About-Wine-Maritavora-Manuel-Gomes-Mota maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Marit  vora Manuel Gomes Mota

Manuel Gomes Mota – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Maritavora-José-Serôdio-Borges maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Marit  vora Jos   Ser  dio Borges

Jorge Serôdio Borges – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

Quite right! Schist-rich soil (very much so), centenary vines, wine of grand minerality, and a kerfuffle of varieties in the vineyards – typical of the olden days.

What does terroir mean? It’s something no vintner leaves unclaimed. What is a terroir? It’s some complex and rare “thing”. Maritávora has it! Good soils (not just pebbled schist), its own weather, good vineyards (their culture is in organic mode), and oenology is supervised by Jorge Serôdio Borges, one of the oenologists who best know the Douro region.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Vineyards maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Vineyards

Vineyards – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

Maritávora markets a range of choices; it’s impossible to write about all of them. It all sarted with a white and a red wine. Fit for the title of Grande Reserva, although only later on did they receive it.

As far as I am concerned, the Maritávora Grande Reserva reds suffer from the second-born syndrome. The high-responsibility tasks assigned to the eldest at ten years of age are denied to the youngest even when he is 12.

The top-of-the-range reds “stay” in the dark. Not because they don’t deserve it, but because the whites are special. Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas red 2011 is complex and dense, it will last a long time. Made with grapes of varieties such as Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, among “others”, it was left to age for 18 months in new French oak casks.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Maritavora-Grande-Reserva-Vinhas-Velhas-2011-red maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Marit  vora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2011 red

Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2011 red – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Maritávora-Grande-Reserva-Vinhas-Velhas-2011-white maritávora Maritávora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white, prince of Douro Blend All About Wine Marit  vora Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2011 white

Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas 2011 white – Photo Provided by Maritávora | All Rights Reserved

My passion is the Grande Reserva Vinhas Velhas white. The one from 2011 has the charisma and catchy personality of its older brothers, with the benefit of being from the year 2011. The varieties are Côdega do Larinho, Rabigato, Viosinho and “others”.  It aged for three months in new French oak barrels, with battonnage. Just the same as the 2012… the 2010 ones…

The same?! Of course! Glowing minerality and a “strange thing”, which is a refreshing warmth –  it has the weather factor, the demands of the grapes, of the soil and of the noble wood.  Long, deep and varied while you drink it.

The same?! No, fortunately not. The uncertainty found in great wines feels so good!

Contacts
Quinta de Maritávora, EN221, Km88
5180-181 Freixo de Espada-à-Cinta
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 214 709 210
Fax: (+351) 214 709 211
E-mail: mgm@maritavora.com
Website: www.maritavora.com

Foz Torto: In Search of Elegance

Text Sarah Ahmed

In 2000, Lisbon-based IT entrepreneur Abílio Tavares da Silva started looking for a vineyard.  He was always dead set on the Douro.  But he was fussy.  It took five years to find the right site.  Today, he has a bird’s eye view of the Douro, especially Sandeman’s top vineyard, Quinta do Seixo, which is located on the opposite bank of the river Torto from his own slice of Douro pie, Foz Torto.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Foz Torto-Abílio-Tavares-da-Silva Foz Torto Foz Torto: In Search of Elegance Blend All About Wine Foz Torto Ab  lio Tavares da Silva

On top of the world Abilio Tavares da Silva at Foz Torto – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Foz means mouth and Foz Torto’s 14 hectares of steeply terraced vineyards tumble down towards the Douro river.  It’s not only because the vertigo-inducing view from the top (at 320m) down to the bottom (at 72m) that Tavares da Silva feels on top of the world.  More to the point, he is realising the passion which lead him to sell his businesses, re-locate his family in the Douro and study winemaking (he has a degree in Oenology from the University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro).

Why that site?  Because, says Tavares da Silva, “I was looking for elegance and balance and my vineyard on the Torto river has been known for power and elegance for 200 years.”  “Mostly for Port,” he adds and, even today, 80-85% of his grapes are sold to Taylor’s for Port.  He attributes this reputation partly to Rufete, which is very common in the Torto and “is known more for elegance than raw power.”

That said, Tavares da Silva has re-planted some 80% of the vineyard from scratch (three hectares of 85 year old vines remain).  He explains “the vineyard was in bad shape because it belonged to a family who were embroiled in a court dispute for 10 years.”  Suffice to say his new plantings include Rufete, also Tinta Francisca, which the food lover describes as “condiments” to the Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet which he has also planted.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Foz Torto-vegetable-garden Foz Torto Foz Torto: In Search of Elegance Blend All About Wine Foz Torto vegetable garden

The vegetable garden at Foz Torto – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Tavares da Silva is just as passionate about the vegetables he has planted at Foz Torto as he is about his vines.  Telling me, “I truly believe in vineyards to be enjoyed and visited like a garden, not just used to produce wine,” he showed me strawberries, onions, beans, potatoes, fruit and olive trees.  Such is his messianic zeal about the flavour intensity of the rucola which he proffered for me to taste that he (and I) forgot we were about to taste the wines.  The most peppery (hot as horseradish) rucola I’ve ever tasted proves to be my palate’s undoing.  Fortunately, Tavares da Silva obligingly sent me fresh samples to taste at home in London!

The wines, the first release from 2010, are made with Sandra Tavares da Silva (no relative) who honed her Douro winemaking skills in the Torto Valley at Quinta do Vale Dona Maria prior to establishing Wine & Soul with her husband and fellow winemaker, Jorge Serôdio Borges.  She is, says Abílio, “the teacher” to his “intern” and evidently, like me, he is a huge fan of Wine & Soul’s exquisite Douro white Guru, since he has acquired a second white wine vineyard close to its source in Porrais in Murça at 600 metres above sea level. I must say, I like the highly characterful Foz Torto white better than the reds which, though very soundly made, were not as elegant as I’d expected given both site and vintage.  But it’s early days and, where Tavares da Silva is content to study (for him “the pleasure is in the journey”), I’ll be interested to see how his range evolves.  In fact, on his “teacher’s” advice that it will help the wines taste “more elegant, more distinctive,” he has already started installing lagares for more small batch winemaking in the old winery which he is restoring in Pinhão.  As an IT guy well knows, “you have to take account of all the small details.”

Here are my notes on his latest releases:

Foz Torto Vinhas Velhas Branco 2013 (Douro) – from a small (under one hectare) 70-80 year old field blend vineyard with a predominance of Códega do Larinho and Rabigato.  Tavares da Silva tells me that the vineyard smells like gunpowder and, like Guru, this wine has a striking cordite/struck match character with, on day two, a spicy, fenugreek edge.  Though it’s leaner than Guru and not as powerful or long, I like its minerality and steely drive of grapefruit with riper lemon.  Complexing, complementary vanillin and lemon oil notes come courtesy of five months’ maturation in French oak.  Lots of old vine interest and intensity.  12.5%

Blend-All-About-Wine-Foz Torto-trio Foz Torto Foz Torto: In Search of Elegance Blend All About Wine Foz Torto trio

A Foz Torto trio – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Foz Torto Tinto 2012 (Douro) – a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Francisca, 5% Tinta Roriz, 5% Alicante Bouschet, 5% Sousão, 5% Tinta Barocca from 7-8 year old vines; it was fermented for 8 days in stainless steel tank then aged for 16 months in 2nd and 3rd year French oak barrels.  It has dark-chocolate-edged ripe, round black berry and plum to nose and palate, with prune, tobacco, leather and berber whisky (stewed mint tea) undertones (the Alicante Bouschet?) and smooth-grained tannins.  The tobacco is more marked on day two.  A touch warm (alcohol) going through; would benefit from a little more definition and freshness.  14.5%

Foz Torto Vinhas Velhas 2012 (Douro) – an old vine field blend of more than 30 varieties; it was fermented for 8 days in stainless steel tank then aged for 18 months in 30% new, 70% 2nd year French oak barrels.  As you’d expect, more concentrated, mineral and spicier than the younger vine cuvée, with rich, ripe cassis, fleshier, juicier black plum and sweet raspberry. New oak brings vanillin sucrosity and more pronounced savoury notes of toast and mocha. A little over-ripe and warm for my taste, though it benefits from svelte tannins and a useful (uplifting) hint of eucalyptus to the finish.  14.5%

Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende…

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

Jorge Tenreiro and Cláudia Cudell own Quinta do Cume, in Provesende.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Jorge-Tenreiro quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Jorge Tenreiro

Jorge Tenreiro e Cláudia Cudell – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume

The House – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

He is a vascular surgeon and she used to paint beautiful paintings. He still uses a scalpel every day, but he also discovered pruning shears and other instruments he uses to “operate” on his vines; she hardly paints any more, because she has dedicated her heart and soul to selling the wines they both love to make. They count on the expertise of their oenologist and friend Jean-Hugues Gros, a frenchman who has become more of a “douroman” than many “douromen”. Only in 1998 did Jorge Tenreiro buy lands where, along with his wife, he would build a magnificent house and start planting vines, especially of white grapes.

Until, in 2006, they started producing white wine with a little rosé.

In 2009, they also started making red wine. They bought old vines in the lower part of the village and now make reds that are already very popular.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume_Vines quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Vines

Old Vines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Up top, the vines of white grapes cover up the landscape.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-White-Grapes quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume White Grapes

Vines of white grapes cover up the landscape – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

They mostly consist of Malvasia-Fina, with a little Rabigato and Viosinho. The more than 600 metres of altitude convey freshness and elegance; the schist-rich and poor grounds convey minerality. In the meantime, production evolved, and they began producing white Reserva wine every year; a red Selection and a red Reserva, and red Flor do Cume. The latter was only made for exporting. In the fabulous year that was 2011, they made a very special red, Grande Reserva; the only harvest until today, having produced a limited edition counting 1540 bottles and 90 magnum. Total production of Quinta do Cume currently amounts to about 40,000 bottles.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Wine-Cellar quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Wine Cellar

Wine Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Meanwhile, they built a cellar; small yet modern, big enough to cover their orders. What wasn’t big enough was the bottling section, which created serious “traffic jams” in the cellar, and is the reason why they are now building a warehouse for finished goods, bottling and labelling. The following project will be an amazing tasting room, which will grow amid the vineyard, and will rely on this couple’s proven good taste. They once again welcomed me with simplicity, to a lunch meal as simple as it was delicious.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-salmon quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume salmon

Salmon – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

To open my appetite, a superb smoked salmon with droplets of lemon.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta-do-Cume-Alheira quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Alheira

Alheira – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta-do-Cume-Eggs quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Eggs

Eggs – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Then, alheiras (Portuguese garlic sausage) from the village, toasty and crunchy, accompanied by fried egg, boiled potatoes, and sautéed cabbage, the latter two well covered in olive oil; lastly, a side of bread from the village baked in a wood-fired oven.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-boiled-potatoes quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume boiled potatoes

Boiled Potatoes – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Peach quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Peach

Peach – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

For dessert, a delicious salad of peach from the quinta; no need for anything else.

We started off with Reserva white 2014, to compare with the 2013 – what a difference a year in the bottle makes. It was elegant, with scents of white fruits and mountain flowers; on the mouth, marked acidity, freshness, notes of citrus and some vanilla; all very soft and well matched. The 2014 is youthful, fruited, intense; it will be a great wine.

When we “attacked” the alheiras, we tasted Selection red 2013 and Reserva red 2012. Selection is a modern wine, showing a broad range of harmonised elements; soft, yet persistent, a lot of ripe fruit, refreshing and appetising; it’s food friendly.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Branco-Reserva quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Branco Reserva

Quinta do Cume Reserva white 2014 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-selection-2010 quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume selection 2010

Quinta do Cume Selection red 2013 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Reserva-tinto quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Reserva tinto

Quinta do Cume Reserva red 2012 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Grande-Reserva quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Grande Reserva

Quinta do Cume Grande Reserva 2011- Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The red Reserva has more intense aromas, red fruits, notes of wood, smoke and spices. At the same time, it carries freshness and very good acidity; it’s velvety, very elegant.

We then skipped to Grande Reserva 2011, a serious red, concentrated, austere, with exotic aromas. On the mouth, it shows excellent volume, notes of dark fruits, a light touch of dark chocolate, beautiful acidity and a long-lasting finish. To store for a good few years. When the peach salad arrived, we went back to the white 2013, which was kept in ice in the meantime, and it made a perfect match.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Quinta do Cume-Provesende quinta do cume Quinta do Cume looking down at Provesende... Blend All About Wine Quinta do Cume Provesende

Provesende – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Down the hill, the village of Provesende remained peaceful…

Contacts
Quinta do Cume
5060-261 Provezende
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 91 445 7550
E-mail: quintadocume@netcabo.pt
Website: www.quintadocume.pt

Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

The Ramos Pinto company was founded in 1880 by Adriano Ramos Pinto, who was later joined by his brother, António. In a house where innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset always walked hand-in-hand, the name José Ramos Pinto Rosa stands out for having organised an important project to select the five recommended varieties for Douro – both Port and table wine – together with his nephew João Nicolau de Almeida. Seeking inspiration in his father, Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, the creator of Barca Velha, João Nicolau de Almeida, quickly learned that part of the secret would be to put grapes grown at high-altitudes (more acidity) together with more mature grapes from lower vines. This way, Ervamoira grapes (492 ft high) were combined with Bons Ares (2000 ft high); the name would, of course, be Duas Quintas (“Two Quintas“), and after a few trials it was released for the first time using the 1990 vintage.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-Casa ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas Casa

House of Ramos Pinto – Photo by Ramos Pinto | All Rights Reserved

Duas Quintas was an innovation and a challenge in its time, having mixed the more modern wine processing techniques with the traditional presses; a project planned from the start, and once again new to the region, as well as a driver for the emergence of a “new Douro”. In 1991, Duas Quintas Reserva emerged, followed by the Duas Quintas white in 1992. With 12 wines, we slowly gauged the 25 years of history that João Nicolau de Almeida’s expertise translated into wines and words.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-vinhas-ervamoira ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas vinhas ervamoira

Ervamoira Vines – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

In a brief introduction of the wines I was mostly touched by, this tasting began with a magnificent Duas Quintas white 2000 presented in a beautiful narrow Rhone bottle, decanted and served immediately, leaving us all flabbergasted. A combination of freshness and hints of crayons, herbal tea, and flowers, where the fruit alternately combines with freshness, and with the syrupy touch of jelly. It’s the kind of wine that makes you feel like drinking it as well as storing a few bottles away at home. Beside it stood Duas Quintas white 2014, displaying all its youthful energy; perhaps irreverent in a way it predicts an also high-calibre future.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-branco-decanter ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas branco decanter

Decanter white – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-tinto-decanter ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas tinto decanter

Decanter red – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

We got started with the reds, first of all the pioneer, Duas Quintas 1990. A very handsome wine, full of life, and in which the fruit seems to rejoice with all the fresh strawberry and raspberry, a lot of energy with very polite third-level aromas, well-rounded corners, but highly glamorous, and showing an envy-worthy presence on the mouth. A classic of the range, just like the eloquent Duas Quintas Reserva 1991, the first Reserva to be able to raise the quality level much higher than what was available at the time in that region.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-1990 ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas 1990

Duas Quintas 1990 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Two reds out of the exceptionally high-quality harvest, 1994, were brought out to be tasted. Comparing the Duas Quintas 1994 to the 1990, the first proved better and showed more presence of fruit, some vegetable and very balanced throughout. However, Duas Quintas Reserva 1994 presented a classic profile of a great Douro red, noble and of strong character, very complex, combining the freshness of the fruit with a touch of milk toffee, a delight.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Ramos Pinto-Duas-Quintas-the-wines ramos pinto Ramos Pinto – Duas Quintas, 25 years of History Blend All About Wine Ramos Pinto Duas Quintas the wines

The wines – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The tasting was to end with the wines of the new millennium. Just like the white, so did Duas Quintas Reserva 2000 show a colossal path to stardom; dense, cohesive, and with a lot of freshness, everything at its best, until it’s tamed over time. The last wine, Duas Quintas 2013 is quite tempting, filled with beautifully perfumed aromas, very young and full of energy, within the character and profile that have been steering the wines on this amazing journey that started in 1990.

Contacts
Av. Ramos Pinto, 380
4400-266 Vila Nova de Gaia
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 223 707 000
Fax: (+351) 223 775 099
E-mail: ramospinto@ramospinto.pt
Website: www.ramospinto.pt