Posts Tagged : Still Wines

Summertime Rosé

Text Ilkka Sirén

Summer is approaching. At least that’s what they say. We have had a very cool start to the summer season here in Finland. In fact the last time it was this cool in June the Berlin Wall was still up. It’s not like the bad weather comes as a surprise but after a long winter we Finns are definitely ready for some warmth. If you have a good imagination and a glass of rosé in your hand, you just might get yourself in a proper summer mood. Only thing missing is my Speedos, sunscreen SPF 30 and Havaianas.

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A Glass of Rosé – Photo by Ilkka Sirén | All Rights Reserved

Summer boosts rosé sales all over the world. In Finland rosé wines are virtually nonexistent throughout the year but in the summer shelves flood with rosés from China to California. Intense fruit bombs of different origins fly out of the shops at record speed. Big part of the rosé wines we get here are not very good to be honest. I get “easy-going” but most of the stuff is closer to pink Sprite. Just uninteresting. While rosé might not be the most intellectually challenging wine, it’s still a wine that can sweep me off my feet like the best of them. A good rosé wine, for me, has to be balanced, fresh and full of flavour. None of that watery bland liquid with aromas that feel almost artificial. Nowadays everybody seems to be doing rosé just because they can. Half-ass attempts, barrel rinsers, thirst quenchers. Wines that doesn’t excite nor quench. But when a rosé wine is really good, oh boy…

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Crayfish sandwich – Photo by Ilkka Sirén | All Rights Reserved

I came back home from a trip and I just had to have some crayfish. Don’t know why but sometimes I get hungry for something specific and when I get an idea in my head nothing else will do. In this case a creamy crayfish spread with dill and lemon on black bread. Not just any black bread but certain slightly sweet kind of black bread from the Finnish archipelago. Simple and delicious. Comfort food at its best. The crayfish was screaming for some wine and frankly so was I. As we all know a good rosé wine is extremely food-friendly. It has the mouthwatering acidity and drinkability of a white wine but it’s slightly more structured and has this certain vinous character to it. Luckily I had a JP Azeitão Rosé from Bacalhôa in my fridge just for this kind of tasty crayfish emergencies.

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JP Azeitão Rosé – Photo by Ilkka Sirén | All Rights Reserved

JP Azeitão is a straightforward rosé with seductive raspberry and cherry notes. It has some Syrah in it which gives it a nice spiciness. Not complex by any stretch of the imagination but simply a delicious little wine. Good bang for the buck and a great match with some seafood snacks.

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Screwcap – Photo by Ilkka Sirén | All Rights Reserved

While I continue to wait for summer it’s this kind of small treats that make the wait worth while and with this you don’t even need the sunscreen. You can just close your eyes and feel the Portuguese sun through the wine.

Contacts
Bacalhôa Vinhos de Portugal
Estrada Nacional 10
Vila Nogueira de Azeitão
2925-901 Azeitão
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 21 219 80 60
Fax: (+351) 21 219 80 66
E-Mail: info@bacalhoa.pt
Website: www.bacalhoa.com

Quinta da Pacheca Colheita White 2014

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

I often get phone calls – this happens to everybody that writes about wine – and sometimes at quite inconvenient times, from people asking what wine they should buy for a dinner-party. I sigh and, for the sake of friendship, spill out a few.

This always happens when people are in a supermarket and in a hurry… time was wasted on meaningless stuff and wine ends up always being bought in a hurry, from the first fridge along the away.

I ask “When you buy a book, do you usually go to the supermarket? Or do you go to a book shop?”

Never mind. I mention some brands – makes it easier to understand – which often aren’t on the shelf. We switch roles and my friend tells me which are. Then, I will name an equivalent one… “Well, there’s this one, that one and the other. Safe bets. Now you decide, I’m in the middle of (something) and have to finish up.”

Usually, they go for Quinta da Pacheca. These wines are found in the modern distribution chain, they are good-quality and present affordable prices.

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Quinta da Pacheca – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

I have liked wine for quite a while now and am a diligent militant. Nowadays, it’s easier to find a good wine than it was 20 years ago. Back then, there were few brands, labels were bad, but not only the look was bad.

Still, there were already more than two handfuls of quality wine. Some have disappeared and others survived. Quinta da Pacheca has been bottling for ages and I have often bought from this company.

This producer popps up in my brain – on its good side – for many reasons: for having been introduced during my first long-lasting adult relationship, because my surname is Pacheco and because of the Riesling.

Much ahead of its time – apparently – Quinta da Pacheca was already producing single-variety wines, especially Riesling. This made for a happy buzz for those who didn’t have the pockets for foreign wines and wanted to, like a sponge (!), soak up the experience.

I defend Portuguese varieties, but I am never shocked if foreign varieties are farmed, as long as they aren’t certified as DOC (Denominação de Origem Controlada – Controlled Source Denomination for Portuguese Food & Beverage). Riesling from Quinta da Pacheca often comes to mind.

So far, people have realised that foreign varieties haven’t generated any advantages. Douro wines take on the identity of autochthonous varieties. In this case: Cerceal, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio and Moscatel Galego.

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Quinta da Pacheca Colheita white 2014 in quintadapacheca.com

I can’t remember the Quinta da Pacheca range from the 90s. It’s quite wide these days. This Quinta da Pacheca Colheita white 2014 is easy and self-confident, well done.

It has the Douro accent and the breeze from Lamego. It’s refreshing, with a healthy 12.5% alcohol.

I think it has everything it takes to please many people, especially the price – they recommend charging five euros minus one cent. I am not everybody.

I understand why the “Galician Moscatel” variety (Moscatel Galego) was included in the plot of land. It makes the wine easier to drink and harder to resist (it’s not a flaw). Seeing as whites are usually drunk too cold, the sugar in this will bring out what could have been missing.

To me – someone who doesn’t have so much as half a litre to sell – Moscatel Galego should be excluded. It isn’t contributing to the Douro identity; I am not a fan of this variety. I have my personal taste; however, I write for the world to read and thus must step off the scales. This wine deserves to be bought and it will certainly be hard to let go.

For more on Quinta da Pacheca read José Silva‘s previous article here.

Contacts
Quinta da Pacheca
Cambres – 5100-424 Lamego
Portugal
Tel: (+351) 254 331 229
Fax: (+351) 254 318 380
E-mail: comercial@quintadapacheca.com | enologia@quintadapacheca.com
Website: www.quintadapacheca.com

A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

This exemplary rural unit is located in the Alentejo interior, south of Beja, and it belongs to a German group.

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Typical Alentejo Hotel – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In Albernoa, the Philosophy consists in combining a typical Alentejo hotel with a rural environment, where ecological care is a priority.

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The Beautiful Lake – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Firstly, the very beautiful lake gathers the perfect conditions for Ornithology. This unit produces many different goods, and wine is one of the best, its wines constantly earning awards across the world. They are produced from very good quality grapes covering about 170 acres of vineyards, white and red.

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170 Acres of Vineyards – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Much more is produced here, such as herbs, vegetables and fruit, which grow all year in a bio regime, and are mostly consumed in both hotels: Alentejo and Algarve.

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Cattle – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Cattle are another great produce, comprising cows, goats and pigs, whose meats are widely consumed in the group’s restaurants.

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Jumping Horses – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The jumping horses are another of the land’s ventures, some of them being thorough-breed, and claiming excellent results internationally. Furthermore, the company produces a very high quality olive oil, jam, honey and several biscuits.

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The Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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The Cellar – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The cellar operates in the main building. It was built from scratch and includes all the modern technical facilities for producing quality wine. This has been achieved continuously, also thanks to the leader of the entire team (not only dedicated to wine), Luís Duarte, one of the most awarded Portuguese oenologists. He has vast experience producing wines throughout Alentejo, and in the hotel he is also the Manager. Rigour seems to be the watchword, with every member’s tasks and responsibilities well outlined. Luís Duarte has succeeded in putting a clearly winner team together. The results speak for themselves.

All Herdade dos Grous wines belong to this brand, maintaining a sober image, which has grown on customers. Only its label’s colours change and, of course, the year of the harvests. On this visit, we tasted six superb wines with a delicious meal.

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Herdade dos Grous 2014 White – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The 2014 White proved very refreshing and young, with beautiful acidity, some fruit in the nose, and the wine quickly fading out of the glasses.

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Herdade dos Grous 2013 White Reserva – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The 2013 White Reserva revealed a lot of elegance, soft woody notes, some freshness, very soft – quite velvety. To be drunk slightly less cooled – a beautiful wine.

Herdade dos Grous Red 2013 A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous Red 2013

Herdade dos Grous Red 2013 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The first red, Herdade dos Grous 2013, was solid, with a lot of ripe fruit, a lot of good acidity in the mouth, clean, round, a modern wine.

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Herdade dos Grous 2013 Moon Harvested – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Then followed Moon harvested, also from 2013, with good aromas of very ripe fruit, complex but very soft spicy and woody scents, beautiful volume in the mouth, consistent and full of elegance, with a very lasting finish.

Herdade dos Grous 23 Barricas de 2013 A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous 23 Barricas de 2013

Herdade dos Grous 23 Barricas de 2013 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

23 Barricas, of 2013, is made with Touriga Nacional and Syrah; a very structured wine, with good character and a complex but fascinating and slightly floral nose. In the mouth, it has volume, excellent acidity, a lot of dark fruit; it is lightly austere, deep, and with a never-ending finish.

Herdade dos Grous 2012 Colheita Tardia A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous 2012 Colheita Tardia

Herdade dos Grous 2012 Colheita Tardia – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

By the end of the meal, 2012 Colheita Tardia slipped into our glasses. Here, they prepare it with the Petit Manseng variety. Its grapes were injected with “Botritis Cinerea”, to create the necessary features for a very special wine. Where sweetness is strong, it is compensated with amazing acidity and somewhere in-between are complex spicy aromas, notes of honey, jam and ginger. However, everything is very balanced, and served cool. Delicious!

Herdade dos Grous The Meal Started with A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous The Meal Started with

The Meal Started With.. – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Herdade dos Grous Cured Chease Paiola Paio From The Neck A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous Cured Chease Paiola Paio From The Neck

Cured Chease Paiola Paio From The Neck – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The meal, in the vineyard’s restaurant, started with bread from the region, olives, two different pates, normal butter and butter with herbs, tuna with black-eyed beans, cod with chick-peas, cured chease, paiola, paio (spicy pork sausage) from the neck and, of course, olive oil from the land in which to dip bread.

Herdade dos Grous The Meats A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous The Meats

The Meats – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Herdade dos Grous The Meats A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior A Winning Project in The Alentejo Interior Blend All About Wine Herdade dos Grous The Meats 2

The Meats – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

After some scrambled eggs with wild asparagus came the meats from the land: lamb, black Iberian pork and Alentejo beef. They had been grilled only in salt, and served with a side of (literally) punched potatoes and sautéed vegetables, all local produce.

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The mix of Alentejo sweets – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The mix of Alentejo sweets disarmed us all!

Outside, the peaceful Alentejo plane still reigned…

Contacts
Herdade dos Grous
Albernôa 7800-601
Beja, Portugal
Tel: (+351) 284 960 000
Fax: (+351) 284 960 072
E-mail: herdadedosgrous@herdadedosgrous.pt
Website: www.herdadedosgrous.com

Alfeu, a grandon’s tribute to his grandfather

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

Thanks to Grandpa Alfeu and his dedication to vineyards and to the field, his grandson João Amado, founder of Amado Wines, felt inspired to begin a new adventure: producing his own wine. He created a brand that is, most of all, a tribute to a man in the field, in love with the earth, inseparable from his hat – now featured on the labels.

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Alfeu Wines – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

I first heard about this project last year, around the time when Festival do Vinho do Douro Superior (Douro Superior Wine Festival) takes place, in Vila Nova de Foz Coa, and is aimed entirely at producers from the Douro Superior sub-region. This event is one of the few where it is possible to discover new talents, meaning producers who, in away, have never been heard of, nor was a word ever written about their work. That is why these events are organised; to show us they welcome us with open arms and are happy to present their work.

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Alfeu white 2013 – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

This was how I came to hear about the wines; last year, when João Amado wished to pay tribute to his grandfather, and whose new harvests have very recently been tasted. Joana Maçanita oversees Oenology (see Maçanita Douro article). Both Alfeu white 2013 and Alfeu red 2012 have displayed a strong character – given the region – and a little boldness, which goes down so well on me.

Alfeu white 2013, comprising Viosinho and Malvasia Fina in a beautiful 12.5% alcohol, presents a cohesive body, with a lot of fruit alongside aromatic herbs, a touch of flowers and a refreshing background. The palate is also distinguished for its ripe fruit and jam, the wine is slightly dry and memorable for its strong persistence.

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Alfeu red 2012 – Photo by M&A Creative | All Rights Reserved

Alfeu red 2012 contains Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz, the former in the lead. Cohesive, with a lot of ripe fruit surrounded by dark chocolate, and with a twirl of the glass, some flowers emerge, suggesting Touriga Nacional. A very faint austerity is present from the beginning in a serious body with good energy. A firm wine based on a solid structure. From the first sip, it shows vigour and a pinch of austerity that comes from the cheekier tannins.  The fruit bursts with flavour along with cocoa; it ends somewhat dry, and begging for a lamb roast, or for some more time in the cellar.

In the producer’s cellar, two more reds still age; two new releases composed of 100% Touriga Nacional, and one Reserve. In the tasting, they proved still a little green and not very ready to face the world. They are, however, as serious as the rest of the range, and are very centred on the fruit, but revealing a leap in quality.

Contacts
Amado Wines
Quinta do Meio, Relva
6430-075 Longroiva, Mêda
E-Mail: geral@amadowines.com
Website: www.amadowines.com

Poças: A New Era of Douro Wines With a Little Je Sais Quoi

Text Sarah Ahmed

Port is so emblematic of Portugal that it’s hard to believe that Poças Junior one of only a handful of Port Houses which has remained in the same family (and for that matter, Portuguese ownership) since it was founded nearly a century ago by Manuel Domingues Poças Junior.  When I met with Chief Viticulturist Maria Manuel Poças Maia, she left me in no doubt that her generation – the fourth – are absolutely determined to keep it that way.

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The new era uncorked by industrious Chief Viticulturist Port Maria Manuel Poças Maia of Poças Junior – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Which is not to say that they are stick in the muds.  Far from it. I hadn’t realised until my visit earlier this month that Poças was among the first wave of Port producers to embrace Douro (table) wine at the outset of the modern era in 1990.  The trigger? Maia’s cousin, Chief Winemaker Jorge Manuel Pintão, had just joined the business fresh from his oenology degree in Bordeaux and an internship at Château Giscours in this famous French region.  She explained, “he wanted to make here what he had learned in Bordeaux and knew that the Douro had potential for good dry wines.”

Of course Pintão was not the first Douro winemaker to take inspiration from Bordeaux. Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, creator of Barca Velha, claims that distinction. But thanks to Pintão’s continuing relationship with the prestigious French region (Maia says “he never lost contact with Bordeaux”), Poças has now gone a step further.  Last year, the company secured the services of Bordeaux winemaker and consultant Hubert de Boüard de Laforest, owner of the acclaimed Château Angélus, in Saint-Emilion. Together with Philippe Nunes of Hubert Boüard Consulting (who, coincidentally, is of Portuguese parentage) the Bordelais duo helped craft Poças’ 2014 Douro wines.

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Time for reflection at Poças – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

With 25 years under its belt, Poças is among the Douro’s most experienced Douro wine producers. I asked Maia why the family felt the need to hire a consultant.  Her reply is candid – “nowadays, the market is difficult and we wanted to expand our markets for table wine.  We are growing in terms of Port but want to see the same growth in Douro wines which are starting to be very known, but still need to be more known by people.”  In other words it’s not just about “someone from outside the company giving us new ideas to have an evolution,” but also about the profile which Hubert Boüard Consulting brings.  As she freely admits, “being from France, the status is important….Our work with Bordeaux is adding value in bottle of course, but in perception too.”

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Maria Manuel Poças Maia of Poças Junior against a backdrop of Quinta Santa Barbara – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Still, Maia is quick to emphasise “they [Hubert Boüard Consulting] are helping us to grow our image of wines and styles, but always without forgetting that we want to use Portuguese varieties and keep the heritage of our grapes and terroir.”  The family were delighted that, given the consultancy’s experience of wines from around the world, “there is huge respect for what they found here in the Douro.”  If, before coming, Maia thought Boüard had “a bit of doubt” about the old vineyards, it was dispelled when he first visited Santa Barbara [Poças’ vineyard in Caêdo, the Cima Corgo] and saw the old vines and schist.  Glowing with pride the viticulturist who, at the tender age of 23, assumed responsibility for the family’s three quintas in 2005 reports, “he said ‘this is terroir’ and was really convinced he could do a very good wine.”

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New, improved Douro white Poças Coroa d’Ouro 2014 – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Before I tasted samples of the new, improved 2014 wines (none yet released, the reds unfinished), we discussed what changes have been introduced following the appointment of Hubert Boüard Consulting.  Describing them as “slight refinements,” Maia explained that the overall aim was “to make a more international style – a lighter perception of Douro wines because Douro wines are seen as very tannic, very strong and difficult to drink.”  In the vineyard this pursuit of elegance, especially more refined tannins, has involved tweaks to fruit sourcing.  Grapes now come from riper parcels and Boüard has introduced a younger vine (15 year old) Touriga Nacional component to the predominantly old field blend flagship red Simbolo.

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In with the new, out with the old – Poças Vale de Cavalos 2014 – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

In the winery, changes have included different press settings (for the unoaked white) and different yeast and oak selections.  The reds are no longer aged in a combination of American and French oak.  From 2014 they were aged in 100% French oak barriques using different coopers or the same cooper as before but different woods.  Where the Bordelais are renowned for their blending skills, the premium wines are now made in a new location with more space “to have opportunity to try several [blending] options.”

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Great potential, flagship red Poças Simbolo 2014 – Photo by Sarah Ahmed | All Rights Reserved

Obviously, it is very early days to reach any definitive conclusions about this Douro/Bordelais relationship, or the 2014 wines.  However, having compared Poças Coroa d’Ouro white and unfinished (barrel) samples of both reds Vale de Cavalos and Simbolo with earlier vintages (the 2013, 2011 and 2007 respectively), I suspect Poças will not only be celebrating their centenary in 2018 but also a sound return on their investment.  Despite their youth, all three wines displayed greater refinement to the finish; the improved length of the white and tannin quality of the reds was especially striking. The 2007 Simbolo tasted fully mature and more developed than expected; rather drying tannins were already starting to out-pace the fruit. On the other hand, Simbolo 2014 impressed with its fine, fluent tannins. The sample I tasted was vibrant, perfumed, and mineral with a very long, elegant finish.  Showing great potential, I reckon it will deliver more pleasure and for longer than the 2007.  It’s a testament to the winemaking when 2007 was a highly acclaimed (classic vintage Port) year and 2014 was much trickier, with intermittent rainfall at harvest.   I look forward to tasting the finished article.

While, with a touch of je sais [Hubert Boüard Consulting] quoi Poças’ range of 2014 Douro wines may be new, improved and higher profile, some things don’t change. I’m told Poças intend to maintain the family’s tradition of focusing on a good relationship between cost and value (the current release of Simbolo retails for £30-35/bottle).   As Maia puts it, “we are about quality not quantity but without having unreachable prices.” I’ll drink to that!

Contacts
Manoel D. Poças Junior – Vinhos, S.A
Rua Visconde das Devesas 186
4401 – 337 Vila Nova de Gaia
Portugal
Tel.: (+ 351) 223 771 070
Website: www.pocas.pt

VZ, a brand with the history of Douro

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

In 1780, Van Zeller’s & Co was established as a Port wine company. They sold wine until 1930. During that time, the company was sold to another Port Wine group, having been rebought in 1933 by Luís de Vasconcellos Porto, who was, at the time, the owner of Quinta do Noval. This purchase made a generous offer for his grandchildren (children of his only daughter, Rita de Vasconcellos Porto, who was married to Cristiano van Zeller’s grandfather). Hence, Van Zeller’s & Co.’s several brands were merged with Quinta do Noval, just as “Van Zellers” and “VZ” were.

In 1980, a decision was made to revive Van Zeller’s & Co., making it independent from Quinta do Noval, giving it its own land and stocks of Port Wine. This wish was, however, put on standby when Quinta do Noval was sold to AXA, and Van Zeller’s & Co. was sold to the owners of Quinta de Roriz, who were cousins of Cristiano van Zeller’s. Time went by and only in 2006 were Van Zeller’s & Co. and all its brands handed to Cristiano van Zeller – also the result of a generous offer by a family member.

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VZ Douro branco 2013 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The new wines quickly emerged in the market, firstly a high-end VZ Douro white 2006, whose grapes – (Viozinho, Rabigato, Codega and Gouveio) aged on average between 50 and 80 years – come from Murça. This VZ Douro 2013 is a beautiful white, fermented, and aged in casks for 9 months, including a battonage by a team of luxury oenologists: Cristiano van Zeller, Sandra Tavares da Silva and Joana Pinhão. It results in a characterful tasting, the Douro very well outlined, standing out from a mix, weaving and involving it with light toasted notes from the cask, and fruit (peach, citrus, pear), cohesive, serious, marked by a lasting mineral finish. The description above equally suits the wine’s passage through the palate: a very good presence, ample, with light mineral austerity in the background. The total blend suggests consuming straight away or saving it in the rack for a few years.

Contacts
Lemos & van Zeller, Lda.
Rua de Gondarém, 1427 – 2º Dt. Ala Norte
4150-380 Porto
PORTUGAL
Telef. +351 223744320
Fax. +351 223744322
E-mail:

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In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

I remember many years ago, in cafés in Lisbon, it was customary to order “A bica (espresso) and a São Domingos!”

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Aguardente In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Aguardente

Aguardente Bagaceira (Marc Spirit) Caves São Domingos © Blend All About Wine, Lda

This São Domingos was the brandy made by Caves São Domingos, and very popular as a high quality spirit. Times went by, drinking spirits became less and less popular due to a law that emerged in the meantime, but Caves São Domingos are still there and, among many other products, they produce this and other very high quality drinks.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos

Caves São Domingos are Still There © Blend All About Wine, Lda

The cellars still include the facilities in Anadia, but have been growing and have been producing not only more wines and spirits, but also a broader variety of products.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Prestigious-Brandies In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Prestigious Brandies

Their Prestigious Brandies © Blend All About Wine, Lda

Although the main – and most renowned – product is the sparkling wine, their prestigious brandies have kept the traditional customers coming as well as broadening the range of consumer types, who search more and more for genuine products. Table wines, from the regions of Bairrada and Dão, have taken over the front page of the company’s portfolio.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Modern-Cellar In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Modern Cellar

Modern Cellar © Blend All About Wine, Lda

All these developments make them want to stay up-to-date, which is why the company now has a modern cellar and all the technology available – especially the Cold Chain that enables them to make modern attractive wines. Furthermore, they can also keep producing sparkling wines distinguished by national and international experts, and by the end customers.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-More-Than-2-Million-Bottles In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos More Than 2 Million Bottles

More Than 2 Million Bottles – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In their cellars now age more than two million bottles of sparkling wine, of several categories, and which are released in the market according to demand.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Traditional-Riddling-Wine-Racks In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Traditional Riddling Wine Racks

Traditional Riddling Wine Racks © Blend All About Wine, Lda

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Modern-Method-of-Remuage In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Modern Method of Remuage

Coexisting With The Most Modern Method of Remuage – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

They still rest in the traditional riddling wine racks, where bottles are turned by hand every day. Those racks coexist with the most modern method of remuage (turning bottles periodically) and allow for producing a larger amount of sparkling wine while ensuring the quality.

Thanks to great care in dissemination, participation in countless national or international fairs and wine tasting events throughout the country, sparkling wines are more and more consumed with the rich Portuguese cuisine, which goes far beyond roasted suckling pig – although a still very popular and very good natural partner.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Demi-Johns In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Demi Johns

Demi-johns © Blend All About Wine, Lda

This is also where they store the liqueur demi-johns and the ageing casks for several brandies produced in those cellars. The latter are known in many markets as the best in Portugal. São Domingos wines are made of grapes from their own vineyards and other producers’ vineyards in Bairrada and Dão, who the company assists with technical matters, ensuring top quality raw materials.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Old-Wall-Clock In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Old Wall Clock

The Old Wall Clock – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In the main room, the old wall clock reminded us that it was time to taste some wines. So we did, with Caves São Domingos white 2014, of floral aromas and some citrus lending the Maria Gomes and Bical varieties. In the mouth, it feels velvety, slightly citrusy, flavourful and very enjoyable. Next was Volúpia White, also a 2014, although comprising Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Maria Gomes varieties – a modern wine and very fresh, very mineral, with excellent volume in the mouth, very balanced acidity and filled with elegance. – For a more detailed insight of these white wines please check João Pedro de Carvalho previous article here.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Old-Reserve-Brute-2009 In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Old Reserve Brute 2009

Velha Reserva Brut 2008 © Blend All About Wine, Lda

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Cuvée-Brute-2011 In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Cuv  e Brute 2011

Cuvée Brut 2011 © Blend All About Wine, Lda

Then, the sparkling wines. First, Velha Reserva Brut 2008, made of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, very fresh floral notes in the nose, hay, brioche and a little hint of toast. The bubble is very fine and elegant, it was refreshing in the mouth with notes of nuts. Following, the Cuvée Brut 2011, with Baga and Sauvignon Blanc, had some complexity in the nose, it was fruity, with dry notes, a very refined bubble, very refreshing in the mouth with a hint of toast, very soft notes of almond – a very elegant sparkling wine.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Aguardente-Lopo-de-Freitas-Brute-2010 In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Aguardente Lopo de Freitas Brute 2010

Lopo de Freitas Brut 2010 © Blend All About Wine, Lda

Finally, we tasted Lopo de Freitas Brut 2010, already a classic wine by this company. Cerceal and Chardonnay make an excellent match, their bubbles very refined, slightly fruity aromas, somewhat exotic. In the mouth, it has excellent acidity; it is full, creamy, with light notes of nuts and a lasting and pleasant finish.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Roast-Suckling-Pig In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Roast Suckling Pig

Roast Suckling Pig – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Citric-Suggestions In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Citric Suggestions

Some Citiric Suggestions – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Present in the roast suckling pig was Blanc de Blancs Brut 2011: very fresh, mineral and with some citric suggestions, great acidity and battling the pork.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Sao-Domingos-Blanc-de-Blancs-Brute-2011 In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition In the Bairrada Region, a Producer With a Great Tradition Blend All About Wine Caves Sao Domingos Blanc de Blancs Brute 2011

Blanc de Blancs Brut 2011 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

To finish, “an espresso and a São Domingos”, of course…

Contacts
Caves do Solar de São Domingos, S.A.
Ferreiros – Anadia
Apartado 16
3781-909 Anadia – Portugal
Tel: (+351) 231 519 680
Fax: (+351) 231 511 269
E-mail: info@cavesaodomingos.com
Website: www.cavesaodomingos.com

The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

Since 1937, the company named Caves do Solar de São Domingos has been producing bubbly wines, aguardente velha, bagaçeira (wine spirits), and Bairrada and Dão wines. Their arcades were carved into rock. It is definitely worth it to visit this wonderful hub where more than two million bottles of bubbly, many thousands of bottled wines and hundreds of small barrels are stored in French oak – for it’s infamous wine spirit.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Solar-Sao-Domingos The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos Blend All About Wine Caves Solar Sao Domingos

Solar de São Domingos – Photo Provided by Caves do Solar São de Domingos | All Rights Reserved

A few of their bubbly wines are in my list of national favourites. However, I will be focusing on the new white wines in this article, the 2014 editions that have just been launched. The 2014 harvest was tricky given the heavy rain. Those who harvested wines before the rains were lucky and got great quality white grapes. These words were repeated throughout the country, although the potential white casts of later ageing was mourned, but fortunately the early-ageing whites gave birth to high-quality wines.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Solar-Sao-Domingos-Branco-2014 The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos Blend All About Wine Caves Solar Sao Domingos Branco 2014

São Domingos white 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

In this case, this means two whites of 2014. They are quite distinct from each other. While São Domingos is faithful to the Bairradino profile – its plot of land is mostly composed of Maria Gomes (80%) and Bical (20%) –, the grapes from S. Lourenço do Bairro, Vilarinho do Bairro and Ventosa do Bairro, grown in grounds rich in sand and clay, resulted in a white wine that is briefly passed through the cold stainless steel. Its aroma is very clean, mostly fruity, citrus, white pulp, flowers for a scented profile, creating a good environment, in the nose as well as in the mouth. A good presence in the palate, evident clean fruit; it shows some grasp with some mineral dryness in the background. A good white to have with a meal, for instance swordfish in a coal-oven or even fish soup.

Blend-All-About-Wine-Caves-Solar-Sao-Domingos-Volupia-Branco-2014 The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos The 2014 whites by Caves do Solar de São Domingos Blend All About Wine Caves Solar Sao Domingos Volupia Branco 2014

Volúpia white 2014 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The other white is the most innovative side to this producer. Volúpia 2014 is wrapped in a poem by Florbela Espanca, from Vila Viçosa. Invoking voluptuousness and seduction, desire and flavour, the search for harmony and the pleasure of drinking a white grape. A desire to love deeply, to love for the sake of love itself, to love near or love far. That would be how Florbela Espanca would have defined this deeply poetic white wine – very sensual and bold, deeply personal and feminine. It comprises Sauvignong Blanc (50%), Chardonnay (35%) and Maria Gomes (15%) that come from Carregosa and are briefly run through stainless steel. It produces a different result, of a complex aroma but very fresh and perfumed, and with notes of very mature fruit; clean and mouth-watering. It is, most of all, a captivating wine of a delicate scent; its tasting reveals a mouth that gracefully combines volume with freshness. It has acidity and structure, it is well-able to entertain more oriental-flavoured meals, or to enhance a wide-range of tapas in a late-afternoon on a rooftop terrace.

Contacts
Caves do Solar de São Domingos, S.A.
Ferreiros – Anadia
Apartado 16
3781-909 Anadia – Portugal
Tel: (+351) 231 519 680
Fax: (+351) 231 511 269
E-mail: info@cavesaodomingos.com
Website: www.cavesaodomingos.com