Quintas de Caiz, on the hillside of river Tâmega
Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne
Quintas de Caiz is a very recent project in the Portuguese wine panorama and it’s in the middle of the Vinho Verde region. A fruit of the passion that the Freitas have for the earth as well as the desire to create something unique that would also be a good product of that region, and specifically the hillsides through which river Tâmega slithers. The three wines by Encostas de Caiz in this tasting were all from 2014 – the same first harvest that was put on the market.
Restless wines, still nervous from having been recently bottled; not long before they came into my hands. Again, I repeat, the wines from this region generally benefit from one or two years in the bottle; more than enough time to set their anxhiety aside when they appear to be free from the shakes or memory loss. Just a whiff of fresh air and everything was back to normal, making the tasting quite reassuring of the quality of these new Encostas de Caiz.
The first wine to be tasted was Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha 2014 of a lot composed of Alvarinho and Loureiro. It spoke the least out of them all, given that Loureiro was completely dominated by Alvarinho, and the blend needs time seeing as everything is still very tense and in a tuning stage. Nonetheless, it appears wrapped in freshness, with enough strength to unwrap by itself during the next couple of years. Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha Alvarinho 2014 was better, although it did also reveal a need to age in the bottle a little longer. Very fresh and sharp in aromas and flavours, quite a tight blend, tense, seamlessly tropical, dominated by very ripe fruits from the orchard wrapped in freshness with hints of flowers and the mineral austerity dominating in the background.
For the end, the one I liked best, the most pleasing and quickest to disappear out of the bottles, Encostas de Caiz Grande Escolha Avesso 2014. It immediately wins you over with a combo composed of lightly exotic fruit with a touch of pear and citrus fruits joined by a floral aroma. Perfumed and inviting, it reveals a background marked by minerality, a very good ability to revitalise the palate with oriental-style meals, where the seasoning usually rules. In this case, every wine served to accompany beautiful sardines roasted on coal.