Posts Tagged : Real Companhia Velha

Aromas of Cidrô, the novelties of Real Companhia Velha

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Real Companhia Velha’s portefolio of wines produced at Quinta de Cidrô is based on a surprising collection of domestic and foreign grape varieties. Located near São João da Pesqueira, with over 150 hectares of vineyards, its first plantations date back to the end of the XIX century, when its beautiful and imposing Palace was built. Quinta de Cidrô was bought by Real Companhia Velha in 1972 and was subject of a necessary restructuring, both the vineyards and the palace. They bought new plots and planted new vineyards in a vertical system, as you can see in the photo.

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

In a concept that we can say of irreverence and innovation, the white varieties such as Chardonnay, Boal, Alvarinho, Sauvignon Blanc or Gewurztraminer or the reds such as Pinot Noir, Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon, Rufete have been filling our glasses of aromas and flavors from Quinta de Cidrô. In conversation we learnt that amidst the white varieties is lacking the Riesling, which surely will be planted there in the near future. Most certainly the freshness of the Quinta de Cidrô’s lands will welcome the new lodger as it has done with all the others and showing such good results.

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The tasted wines – Photo by Gonçalo VillaVerde | All Rights Reserved

Having Quinta do Sidrô 1996 in mind and comparing with the latest Quinta de Cidrô Chardonnay 2015 we can understand the successful path that this house has taken in recent years. The tasting had a handful of white and rosé wines, a total of 6, and all of them showing lively and well defined flavors. An increasingly refined and elegant profile with the Douro marking their souls. An evolution across vintages where the wines are increasingly showing the many charms of the place where they were born.

Quinta de Cidrô Alvarinho 2015: Showing freshness in a very focused and cohesive set, structured and marked by the Douro terroir with orchard fruit notes, citrus and a slight mineral austerity in the background. Good palate, tasty and fruit marking the flavors in a cool, dry finish.

Quinta de Cidrô Sauvignon Blanc 2015: Still very young. Expressive in a mix of austere fruit of a more tropical character and a touch of lemon candy. Fresh vegetable (asparagus), cohesive set with a medium tone palate as far as presence goes. The fruit is less present than in the nose, finishing fresh and with good persistence.

Quinta de Cidrô Boal 2014: The Semillon grape variety is known in the Douro as Boal, so the wine changes its name, but fortunately nothing else has changed keeping all its charms. It is clearly one of my favorites of the tasting. A full and entangling wine that marks us with its freshness and the warmer tone that the wood gives it. Full and rich in flavors and aromas with the acidity completely dominating its spirit. One of those to have, drink and, if you’re able, to keep.

Quinta de Cidrô Chardonnay 2015: It’s already a classic and one of the most successful Chardonnay wines made in Portugal for years now. The wine is now more elegant and refined and we can feel the winemaker’s hand. A slight feeling of toasted bread, very subtle wood with freshness and elegance of orchard fruit, underhanded pineapple. Closely-knit but at the same time delicate, clean and captivating.

Quinta de Cidrô Gewurztraminer 2015: Aroma full of lychees and rose petals, full of freshness in a very direct aroma that saturates the nose and even the palate, almost always a mixture of freshness with rose water. The problem is mine I’m sure, because rare are the cases of wines made from grape variety that have conquered me, this is no exception and it was the one I liked the least of the tasting.

Quinta de Cidrô Rosé 2015: A Rosé made from Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. Shows up dry with smoked touch, a mix of red fruits and flowers (Santa Teresinha roses). The palate replicates the aforementioned, marked by very tasty fruit and a good dryness in the end.

Contacts
Quinta de Cidrô
5130-307 S. João da Pesqueira
Tel: (+351) 254 738 050
Fax: (+351) 254 730 851
E-mail: turismorealcompanhiavelha@gmail.com
Website: www.realcompanhiavelha.pt

Five O’clock Port by Real Companhia Velha

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

The Five O’clock Port is a movement created by Real Companhia Velha that intends to promote the consumption of port wine by the consumer, and this year it celebrates 260 years of its foundation. The name invokes the so famous “Five O’clock Tea” brought to England by Catarina of Bragança, daughter of Dom João IV and married to Charles II of England. The dowry of her marriage included a box of tea, the same tea that Catarina of Bragança used to drink in Vila Viçosa, her place of birth. This would become the most British habit of all, the famous 5 o’clock tea. The explanation of this will came from Pedro Silva Reis, son of the current president of Real Companhia Velha and responsible for the company’s marketing. He stated that “The Portuguese are increasingly waking up to habits already well established in other countries like gathering up after work in bars, wine bars, kiosks and esplanades, to have a glass of wine, whether it be just the glass of wine or while harmonizing it with snacks or finger foods.”

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Five O’clock Port – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

The aim of this initiative is for the Port Wine consumption to become a habit at mealtimes or even outside it. The implementation of this “movement” involves the creation of Port wine lists with their matching suggestions, which can be wine pairings of Port wine with cheeses and chocolates, and on a non-gastronomic side, with cigars, among others. The offer will be adapted to the places of where it will be available, and the range of Port wines with the Real Companhia Velha’s signature is broad. For this demonstration they were presented in a very interesting harmonization of several Port Wine styles with varied combinations and moments.

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Royal Oporto Tawny 10 Years – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

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Royal Oporto L.B.V. 2011 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

The first two wines to be suggested show all their versatility and are an excellent door to the fantastic world of Port wine, with more affordable prices for the consumer who in this way is able to access and enjoy them at home without making big investment. In this mano a mano, the Royal Oporto Tawny 10 Years showed up fresh with a balanced and sweet profile, with no great exaltations and a strong raisins aroma, resulted fully with the proposal. The Royal Oporto L.B.V. 2011 shows the vigor and energy of the Ruby style, full and opulent, fully coats the palate with wild fruit flavors, plenty of strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, in a fresh and spicy background. A more versatile wine showing enough energy to be paired with a good cut of beef just off the grill.

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Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1970 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

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Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1967 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

The last wines to enter the scene were three Vintages in adulthood, breathtaking and memorable. From the proposals that were put on the table I discarded the one that referred to the cigars. All the wines that I speak of here were harmonized with cheese, either with Queijo da Serra da Estrela or with Stilton. The first one was the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1970 with stuffed pear-rock and Queijo da Serra, a very engaging Vintage that got to me immediately with notes of caramel, fresh fruit mixed with dried fruit, flowers and a slight of balsamic. Beautiful presence in mouth, very good freshness with presence coating the palate, full of flavor and very good persistence, with enough energy for the clash with the Queijo da Serra where the acidity cuts the fattest part of the cheese while the greasiness feeling combines beautifully with the fattest tone left. For the second moment, with Stilton cheese, crackers of spices and dehydrated Granny Smith, it was served the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1967. If the previous Vintage had already got me with its charms, what to say about this one that to me shows up even better, a treat for the senses. Huge elegance and freshness, milk caramel, unctuous, conquering immediately. Rich complexity, all very nice and neat, serious, broad and persistent on the palate, very tasty with great persistence. Even with the Stilton’s power the Vintage 1967 proved to be a true colossus, shouldering side by side in a classic combination and again showing the will that these wines have to be at consumers’ table. I end with a wine that was intended for smokers, I chose to pick up the Real Companhia Velha Vintage 1957 and try to make a harmonization with the two proposals that had already been made. It showed up incisive and razor-sharp, much more fresh and less grease than the previous, which two make it a wine suitable for cigars. However, it was with the Silton that I liked it the most, and that demonstrates the versatility of Port wine in its most distinct styles and the ability to be matched with meals as well as to more festive moments and moments of pure relaxation. Shall we meet at 5:00 for a glass of Port 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
Wesbiste: www.realcompanhiavelha.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.

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

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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

Real Companhia Velha – “Only rags are old”

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

I kept my word and ended the text with the word terroir. Now I promise to end this one with a toast. So much can happen in 250 years. The law has changed many times, the wine-growing and producing area has expanded, great figures have emerged and died… Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro changed its nature quite a while ago; it is now a commercial agent and a producer.

It has been nicknamed Real Companhia Velha, and in order for any doubts to be wiped clean, it even bought Real Vinícola, whose name was confusing. It was, however, a good acquisition that brought them new business and added brands that are now historic.

In 1960, the company was purchased by Manuel Silva Reis and currently is still in the family. He owns five estates (Aciprestes, Carvalhas, Casal da Granja, Cidrô, and Síbio), which total 1300 acres of vineyards. Although it is one of the biggest Portuguese companies in the sector, Real Companhia Velha has not left home yet, as it produces Douro wines, Port, Moscatel do Douro, and Regional Duriense.

I am conservative and not a big fan of gadgets. To stop is to die and one thing is tradition, another is “invention” – that which is not opposing is contradictory. Douro is doing fine, so fine and safe that I don’t see experiments as a threat. I, a conservative who does not like gadgets, have surrendered to the innovation that are late harvests in Douro!… The first was performed in 1912, by Real Vinícola.

Foreign grape varieties have been planted and studied in Cidrô, a testing estate. One day, a technologist was brought in to certify a new grapevine – plants of the Semillon variety purchased in France. But he called them Boal. What do you mean, Boal?! Around there, in those villages, people even call it Semilhão (Portuguese phonetic adaptation)…

How can I not feel outraged? After the Grandjó Late Harvest or the “machinations” they made in Quinta de Cidrô? Because I feel ensured that they are about to create something, and not just to do something for a laugh; because the Grandjó Late Harvest are – I am peremptory – the best late-harvest wines made in Portugal.

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Grandjó Late Harvest in realcompanhiavelha.pt

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Real Companhia Velha Logo in realcompanhiavelha.pt

Once you have met the technologists in Real Companhia Velha, you feel safe and you feel respect for the region. As if you were doing 250 miles per hour on a motorway, in a Bugatti Veyron driven by Niki Lauda.

This collection of articles about Real Companhia Velha was supposed to have been published in September to mark their… 259th anniversary! However, I have more wine than days, which I wish were 48-hours long.

Three texts have many words (you can read part 1 here and part 2 here), but it all began with a twisted notion of irony… the competition for the oldest designation… Tokaji (Tokay), having magnificent wines with Botrytis cinerea – assure that they were created there for the first time – and Douro with its Grandjó.

The Marquis of Pombal must never have thought of it, not even in his tedious trips from Pannonia to Lusitania, where he pondered about wine from Galécia. I toast to those two wines as well as to the man I would never wish to have for an enemy. Saúde and here’s to another 259 years!

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

Real Companhia Velha – How Douro got to Tejo

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

I couldn’t possibly be a politician; I kept my promise! I did write “terroir”. And why? Because the English and French were on bad terms again, and Douro had the quality that insular throats demanded. Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo knew about the quality of wines with specific origins, so he demarcated the location.

It is still necessary to go back in history, and I once again promise to end the text with “terroir”. This concept is usually applied to France. But that is an illusion derived of the creation of the word. Throughout history, people have always identified special locations for wine production. One day, someone thought of writing a law that would define that.

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Douro © Blend All About Wine, Lda

The Portuguese say that the first region of the world to have been designated was Douro, thanks to the royal permit of the 1st of September 1756, written by Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo.

The Italians argue that Chianti was the first region to ever be demarcated, dating from 1716. In their own opinion, Hungarians and Slovaks counter the claim, saying it was Tokaj (Tokay), in 1730. Arguments can be found for anything and the Portuguese defend themselves with detailed specifications and with the placement of boundary stones.

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Chianti Region in wikipédia.com

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Tokaj Region in wikipédia.com

Still, the thought must have occurred to Carvalho e Melo because of the time he spent as ambassador in Vienna. The Roman-German Holy Empire was a sui generis state composed of multiple countries with various levels of independence and of monarchs. When it was dissolved in 1806, it comprised more than 400! Tuscany belonged to the Emperor and was part of the “Consortium”. The empress was Archduchess of Austria – another country in the empire – and the queen of Hungary, which was left out of that political organism.

The Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (Real Companhia Velha) had many duties, from institution, regulation, policing, exercising justice, sales monopoly… To defend the region and the authenticity of its wines, Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo ordered for vineyards in several areas of Portugal to be pulled out.

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Real Companhia Velha logo in realcompanhiavelha.pt

Since everything that has any value ends up copied (counterfeited), the temptation to create non-existing wine quickly emerged. In order to successfully create the adulterations, elderberries were used to taint the liquid. Therefore, the ruler decreed that every bush within a five-Portuguese-league radius (about 15 modern miles) away from the designated area was to be pulled out.

Interestingly, bushes are still about 20 miles away from the region; however, there are no vineyards. They were on the border, within the legal limit. This means that Port wine continued to be tainted despite the ban. Not long ago, I wrote an article for Vida Rural about Sambucos nigra, a multipurpose plant that is undervalued; the 1730 acres in the country represent about 2.2 million Euro.

Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo was a man of his time. Enlightened and a despot. He pursued and almost exterminated the family of the Marquis of Távora, his opponents. Here’s an illustrious quote I have just made up: “If you serve the state and do not serve yourself, you do not deserve such state!”

The man who was later graced with the title of Count of Oeiras in 1759, and Marquis of Pombal in 1769 did not skip the chance to earn some money in a fashion not so frowned upon at the time. From his estate in Oeiras, many “Douro wine” casks were released, as were others from other properties he owned.

At the time, the Douro terroir had some features of the strong light of the sea close to Lisbon, of salinity, and of calcareous or clay-rich soil. Terroir

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

Real Companhia Velha, as old as they go… – Part 1

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

Some companies have such a long history that it feels as though they need more years than they actually have to tell the whole story. That is the case of Companhia Geral da Agricultura das Vinhas do Alto Douro (Real Companhia Velha), created in 1756, much due to who founded it. Before the wine comes the history.

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Real Companhia Velha logo in realcompanhiavelha.pt

Some people are ahead of their time and, among them, there are some who become greater than time. This privilege is granted to heroes – and also to some crooks, but they’re not celebrated. For example, Sebastião José de Carvalho e Melo.

Relax! I really must! I promise to end this text with the word terroir. For now, let’s pretend it’s September – I will explain this in the third chapter.

Born in Lisbon on May 13th 1699 to a family of minor nobility. It is not even clear if he was a majorat or if the crest truly belonged to his family; they say the lineage had ended and our man took this opportunity to use the family name, which was the same, and to even switch his heraldic coats of arms. However, he adopted this title and the respective Carvalho family crest for the rest of his life. He had no right to use “Dom” (meaning Sir, applied to aristocrats, noblemen, and royalty) in front of his name… not even after he climbed the social hierarchy is there mention of such privilege being awarded.

In 1723, he married Teresa de Noronha e Bourbon Mendonça e Almada. He thus jumped up on the social scale… however, he had to kidnap the bride because the lady’s family believed him to be of very low status… albeit still noble.

These are important events in the life of a common man, yet almost meaningless in the life of one of the biggest Portuguese and European statesmen. Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo was a soldier and a diplomat.

Sebastião de Carvaho e Melo was promoted to ambassador in 1738 in London. That was where he started to get to know the European elite. On September 14th 1744, he “bought the winning lottery ticket” – he became an ambassador in Vienna.

The prize meant marriage, on December 13th 1745, to Countess Maria Leonor Ernestina Daun. Through her, he got to the Archduchess of Austria, Maria Teresa, chief of the House of Habsburg, married to Francisco de Lorena, Emperor of the Holy Roman-German Empire.

Maria Teresa of Austria is one of the greatest figures of enlightened despotism, and was the grand-niece of the Queen of Portugal… When Dom João V died and Dom José rose to power, Sebastião de Carvalho e Melo climbed to the highest position anybody could attain: Secretary of State, the equivalent of the current Prime Minister.

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Dom João V, painted by Miguel António do Amaral

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Dom José, painted by Miguel António do Amaral

Around 9.30am of the 1st of November 1755, the ground shook. With its epicentre in Portugal’s most South-western point, Cape São Vicente, an earthquake with a magnitude of 9.0 on the Richter scale (estimated) shattered the Southern part of the country and devastated Lisbon. As if that were not enough, besides the aftershock, a tidal wave arose with waves perhaps as high as 65 feet, and a fire that lasted for days.

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Lisbon, 1755 Earthquake

Lisbon was visited by great figures of the Enlightenment. Voltaire was very shocked with the state of the once rich and proud Portuguese capital, one of the biggest and most majestic of its time.

Paço da Ribeira (royal palace) was brought down, just like the brand new Opera Theatre, right next-door and which had opened six months beforehand. The Secretary of State decreed: “Bury the dead and take care of the living!”

Sebastião de Carvalho chose modernity, from the style of the buildings to the width of the streets and the grid plan. But Lisbon was not the only target; a year later, he founded an iconic company based on an innovative concept: terroir.

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

Wine from everywhere – starting with Douro

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

During the Portuguese Colonial War, the army was supplied with bottled wine. “Back then, selling wine by the glass was forbidden, because the state suspected that this was an opportunity to taint the wine.” In 1965, a scandal exploded when people started selling vinho a martelo [wine “by the hammer” or counterfeit wine]. This beverage is “made by fermenting sugar and adding water and food colouring”, according to Vasco d’Avillez.

White or red? Full! “Most people had no idea what a good wine was, and they drank what they were used to, whether it was a washed-out red or an oxidised and heavy white”, explains Vasco d’Avillez.

Oenologist Virgílio Loureiro says that “before the 60s, wine in Portugal wasn’t much better than it had been in the previous 250 years. Cult spots for consuming and buying it were taverns, where it was almost invariably sold in bulk. Customers’ demands weren’t high, because the glass was served up to the top – preventing people from appreciating the aroma – and it was generally drunk at once.”

Although taverns in Lisbon and in Porto had favourite areas of origin (but not designated origins), they sold wines from different locations. Wine mostly came from the tavern governor’s hometown.

The Douro region was first outlined in 1756. The company that established this is still around, and is known as Real Companhia Velha. For centuries, Port Wine was the real deal; unfortified wines had no special status.

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Real Companhia Velha Grandjó – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

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Real Companhia Velha Grandjó – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

This company owns iconic Douro brands. In 1912, Grandjó was created especially for late-harvest wines. Only in the 60s did the first wines without Botrytis Cinerea appear in response to the demand for lighter wines.

Evel was “born” in 1913 – evel is light [“leve”] written backwards. “The idea was to create an elegant, soft and light wine”, explains Pedro Silva Reis, the head of Real Companhia Velha. “The first wines corresponded to those characteristics, much like nowadays: elegant, soft and, in a way, light. Only a few brands were around in those times and only a small part of the wine was bottled and labelled. The brand became more well-known in the 30s and 40s, which is how one can explain why it took a few years before it was considered truly successful.” In the following two decades, Evel made its way to the table of the head of state; from then onwards, labels included a note that said “Supplier to the Presidency of the Republic”.

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Real Companhia Velha Cellar – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

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Pedro Silva Reis – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

Real Companhia Velha also owns the opposite of the Evel brand. Porca de Murça, created in 1928, was a tribute to a pre-historic monument found in a square of Murça, a small village. “Strong, full-bodied red wines. They only started producing whites a few years later. The brand achieved high levels of fame between the 40s and 60s. It has recently enjoyed moments of glory again, as it became the best-selling Douro brand in the world”, states Pedro Silva Reis.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Wine-from-everywhere-starting-with-Douro-Barca Velha 1952 douro Wine from everywhere – starting with Douro Blend All About Wine Wine from everywhere starting with Douro Barca Velha 1952

Barca Velha 1952 – Photo Provided by Sogrape Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

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Casa Ferreirinha Colheita Seleccionada 1960 Reserva Especial – Photo Provided by Sogrape Vinhos | All Rights Reserved

When on the Douro subject, two wines have to be mentioned, which many consider to be two of the best in Portugal: Barca Velha (1952) and Ferreirinha Reserva Especial (1960). Sogrape has established that wines of a stronger storing potential must be called Barca Velha [“old boat”], and those whose longevity is expected to be lower must be called Ferreirinha Reserva Especial [special reserve].

The spirit and style never change. So far, 17 Barca Velha and 16 Ferreirinha Reserva Especial have been released (between 1989 and 1987, the law forbade using the adjective especial).

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Sousão Vines – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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

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

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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.

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

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

The more we looked, the more overwhelming Douro became.

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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!”

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Appetizers – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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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.

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Sourcing Grapes – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Alheira – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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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.

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

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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…

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“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

Code name: Samarrinho

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

With a 258-year long history, Real Companhia Velha has recently taken to research, innovation and experimentation. Since 1996, the year when the so-called ‘Fine Wine Division’ was created, Real Companhia Velha have been doing complex work in experimenting and innovating. This was part of a mission between the young teams that work on viticulture and oenology. One of the first wines they worked on was the Chardonnay from Quinta de Cidrô of the 1996 harvest.

Séries Real Companhia Velha Samarrinho 2013 foto by Real Companhia Velha Code name: Samarrinho Code name: Samarrinho Blend All About Wine Series Samarrinho 1

Séries Real Companhia Velha Samarrinho 2013 – Photo Provided by Real Companhia Velha | All Rights Reserved

In 2002, after a few visits to wine fields of the region, the technical team decided to plant a few white species, for instance Alvarelhão Branco, Alvaraça, Esgana Cão, Donzelinho Branco, Samarrinho, Touriga Branca – in Quinta Casal da Granja (Alijó) – and reds: Donzelinho Tinto, Malvasia Preta, Preto Martinho, Cornifesto, Tinta Francisca – in Quinta das Carvalhas (Ervedosa do Douro). The choice of species was based on a visual analysis of a few morphological parameters (vigour, size, sensitivity to dryness) and productive (fertility, size of the bunches, tasting of seeds), and Real Companhia Velha are responsible for collecting twigs for grafting.

This resulted in the launch of the brand Séries (Series) Real Companhia Velha, in 2012. Although it was registered as a wine brand, it really is a concept that aims to expose the company’s work in innovating and experimenting. When successful from an oenological point of view, these wines can be distributed and, when profitable, the next harvest will be approved for the company’s commercial portfolio. This happened with Rufete, the single-species wine of 2010, whose 2011 harvest was included in the portfolio for Quinta de Cidrô. Next were the Sparkling Real Companhia Velha Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Brut 2011 Series, which wore the ‘Real Companhia Velha’ seal in the following edition.

Casal da Granja  - Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved Code name: Samarrinho Code name: Samarrinho Blend All About Wine Series Samarrinho 2

Casal da Granja – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

After an intensive study lead by the viticulture team, the Samarrinho species was found to have an unavoidable presence in the Vinhas Velhas (old vineyards) in Alto Douro. Pedro Silva Reis, president of RCV, believes that Samarrinho may even become a reference for white wine in the region. Therefore, the company has decided to begin a ‘clonal selection’ (a process used to select grapes), now being developed by Instituto Superior de Agronomia (Higher Institute of Agronomy). The problem, for now, is that the current genetic material – in a speedy degenerative process – is too sensitive to diseases such as millerandage and irregular seed sizes. This caused a loss of the entire 2014 harvest.

This unique wine has only produced 860 bottles. The grape it is made from was completely unknown until now, and has come to show Portugal’s full potential in the World of Wine – for its wines’ distinction and unique identity. This Samarrinho turns out unusual, with a strong character, very defined in the nose with mixtures of white-pulp fruits and drupes (stone fruits), honey, lots of freshness, flowers, some similarities to some wines of the Riesling species. In the mouth, it’s mark is freshness; medium-bodied and merged with oiliness, fruits in syrup, a mineral and dry bottom with some nerve and displaying good potential to age in the bottle.

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
Email: graca@realcompanhiavelha.pt
Website: realcompanhiavelha.pt