Posts Tagged : white wine

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

Fish + White Wine = Portugal

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Jani Dunne

Portugal is currently the country with the greatest annual intake of fish per person in the European Union, and the third in the world after Iceland and Japan. In fact, Portugal can brag about having the best fish in the world swim in its waters; this fact is acknowledged by some of the best Chefs de Cuisine all over the world. Everybody knows that noble examples of our fish are flown out to restaurants worldwide. As far as consumption goes, one must eat consciously and, thus, sustainably, which is the only way to keep a balanced maritime food chain.

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Mar de Portugal – Photo by Ciência Viva | All Rights Reserved

Ciência Viva has published a catalogue titled “The most popular species in the Portuguese Sea”, where they present the main species of fish of greater economical interest, which make their way from the Portuguese sea to our table. In total, twenty species of fish were selected, three types of cephalopod, three bivalve and three crustacean. For each species presented, their main morphological features, such as habitat, etc. For all of those interested, the catalogue is available here for free.

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Fish from the Portuguese Sea – Photo by Ciência Viva | All Rights Reserved

Well, if the Portuguese call the shots when it comes to fish, in white wine we are starting a buzz. Besides, these days Portugal undoubtedly offers the best whites around – whether in profile or in quality – to accompany fish at the table. Mankind thinks with the stomach; a fact that relates regional cuisine to the wine produced in the same area. Just think about it: the best combinations are cuisine plus wine of a specific region. Regarding white wine, the leap in quality that Portugal has seen in the last two decades has made all of this possible. Furthermore, these days, there must be no better pair for our fish than our wine, Portuguese Wine.

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

One example is Allo 2014, created in Quinta de Soalheiro (Vinho Verde), and the product of the plot of land between Alvarinho and Loureiro. While the Alvarinho variety gives it the structure and vigour, the Loureiro variety contributes with all its exuberance. This results in an addictive wine with only 11% alcohol, but if you relax, the next thing you know is the bottle is empty. It is a proper terrace wine, with a scent of summer, suggesting seafood or, as we had, oven-roasted Red Snappers, combined with all the freshness of aromas and flavours, and an invigorating acidity that will cleanse your palate completely as well as make you take another sip. For more on Quinta de Solheiro and its wines see here.

Contacts
Ciência Viva – Agência Nacional para a Cultura Científica e Tecnológica
Parque das Nações, Alameda dos Oceanos Lote 2.10.01, 1990-223 Lisboa, Portugal
Tel: (+351) 21 898 50 20 / 21 891 71 00
Fax: (+351) 21 898 50 55 / 21 891 71 71
Website: www.cienciaviva.pt

Quinta de Soalheiro
Alvaredo . Melgaço
4960-010 Alvaredo
Tel: (+351) 251 416 769
Fax: (+351) 251 416 771
Email: quinta@soalheiro.com
Website: www.soalheiro.com

Wine Tradition, History and Production as an Art

Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne

Alentejo encompasses a significant number of magic places; whether for beautiful scenery, never-ending lands, earth-grown products or historical families and buildings. One specific location in the Estremoz region includes all of the above: Quinta Dona Maria, dating from the 18th Century, which belonged to king D. João V at a point.

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Dona Maria, Júlio Bastos – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Entrance – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The current owner, Júlio Bastos, has proven his skills in maintaining the beauty and quality of the facilities, so rich in history, and the magnificent surrounding gardens. His other talent is investing in producing high-quality wines, these days renowned worldwide as deluxe products.

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The Beauty – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Quality Facilities – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

It is made from very good grapes of different species, of which Alicante Bouschet stands out amongst the reds. The grapes are prepared in an old cellar – very well restored with beautiful presses made of marble from that region – where they still crush the grapes under their feet. Powerful wines age there – with strong character yet very elegant, with a particular profile and excellent potential to accompany food.

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Vineyards – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

When wine is grown with rigour, vines are well guided and watered by nature, your grapes turn out very sound. Later, they are timely harvested and carefully selected to make wines with the Dona Maria signature.

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The Winery – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

On our recent visit, we were greeted by oenologist Sandra Gonçalves and the owner, Júlio Bastos. They brought us on a tour of the austere yet beautiful cellar, revealing what grape preparation process lies behind such good wines.

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Wood Ceilings – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

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Old Cement Reservoir – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

The cellar’s wood ceilings are fantastic, along with supporting columns with ceramic vaults surrounded by thick stone walls, which also house the old cement reservoirs, still in use after restoration.

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Casks – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

In another room, the wines rest in countless French and American oak casks, to be bottled in due time, and then continue ageing for some more months or years. After enlightening explanations about the whole production process, Júlio Bastos invited us into the tasting room where Sandra Gonçalves prepared a tasting guided by the two. Júlio Bastos entertained his usual strict tone, even in regard to his own wines. He was, however, immensely educational regarding Alentejo wines in general, which he knows very well. Before us, eight wines were presented, much to our delight:

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Dona Maria Whites and Rosé – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Dona Maria white 2014 maintains the tropical aroma profile – quite citrusy, refreshing, of balanced acidity and great volume in the mouth. The Amantis white 2013 let the Viognier species shine. It had very soft tropical notes and some white fruits, with a hint of smoke, balanced acidity keeping it very elegant.

Viognier 2013 still felt very young, combining aromas of white fruits and a light floral scent, but very elegant, with volume in the mouth, full, intense acidity but balanced, with an excellent aftertaste. Next, an amazing Rosé 2013, very balanced, with soft tropical aromas alongside a complex mouth, very refreshing, with notes of tropical fruits, strawberries, jam and acidity that connects all of the above, and a great aftertaste.

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Dona Maria Reds – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Moving onto the reds, Dona Maria Red 2012, a brand with aromas of ripe red fruits, light smoky notes and blackberries. It’s lively in the mouth, with excellent acidity, intense red fruits and good volume, a well-balanced wine. The red Touriga Nacional 2011 reveals the quality in that year’s harvest. The elegant aromas of violet and bergamot with light smoky notes and some spices contrast with the full mouth – velvety, with notes of red fruits and some chocolate, and excellent acidity.

Next was Amantis Red Reserva 2009, a muscular wine, complex, with aromas of ripe dark fruits and refreshing. In the mouth, it’s volumous, maintaining complexity, notes of mint, red fruits and some spices, persistent acidity and a beautiful aftertaste.

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Quinta do Carmo Garrafeira 1986 – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

For the grand finale, Júlio Bastos opened a bottle of classic from this farm, Quinta do Carmo Garrafeira 1986, previously decanted. It showed violet hues and some brown smatterings, which determined its age; very elegant, a smooth velvety nose and some red fruits. In the mouth, it is delicate, smooth, of deliciously soft tannins, full of complexity, very balanced acidity, persistent, slightly smoked, with a very, very long aftertaste. It gets better if opened a few hours beforehand and proves that Alentejo reds also age well.

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The Main House – Photo by José Silva | All Rights Reserved

Once outside, in the enormous yard, we were “crushed” by the beauty of the main house, which continues on the inside. Its many rooms lead us almost three centuries back. In a corner of a room, through a secret passage, we can almost see D. João 5th walking in for a stealthy visit to D. Maria, the courtier to whom he had gifted Quinta do Carmo…

Contacts
Quinta do Carmo 7100-055 Estremoz
Telefone: (+351) 268 339 150
Fax: (+351) 268 339 155
Email: donamaria@donamaria.pt
Website: donamaria.pt

Vasques de Carvalho Wines

Text João Barbosa | Translation Jani Dunne

Cosmic scale aside, ‘a century ago’ is a long way away. Back then, the world was black and white… at least it’s what photographs show. Nonsense aside, reaching that milestone is worth celebrating.

Although not absolutely extraordinary, the truth is few humans get to say they got as far or beyond the one-century-old hurdle. Just a few days ago, Portuguese filmmaker Manoel de Oliveira died at the age of 105. Those who met him say he was very youthful – just like these wines.

The same goes for companies, or for the time a family has lived in a specific location. The moment such a contract is signed is when the story begins. This is a young company, founded in the year 2000, but its roots go back hundreds of years. The Vasques de Carvalho family settled in Vale do Rodo in the mid nineteenth century. They now own twelve acres of old vines, traditionally planted in tiers. Like most Douro farmers, Vasques de Carvalho sold their wine to companies in Gaia. However…

However, not one single year did José Vasques de Carvalho, great grandfather of the current manager, let go of a harvest. He kept everything until 1880. It’s a gem – confirming the vision of this eighteenth-century farmer.

Back to the main point; what can we taste now? Besides Port Wine, Vasques de Carvalho are presenting a wine collection, whose origin is identified as the Douro region. That designation is common to all the wines, as is a very elegant and scented profile. Because the white grapes are bought outside Portugal, I believe the design is oenologist Jaime Costa’s craft, of renowned competence. All the wines are refreshing and elegant.

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Oxum white 2013 in vasquesdecarvalho.com

The 2013 White Oxum encompasses viosinho, gouveio and rabigato grape species – a good conversation starter for passionate oenophiles, who often debate nose and mouth. Jaime Costa, once an army general, uses words like “very mineral, with fruity notes of peach and ripe citrus.” I beg to differ and, in agreement with my tasting partner, would say: delicate without being fragile, with a bouquet of soft jasmine, orange tree blossom and a pinch of lemon. The mouth, unfortunately, is missing something scent-wise. Each chooses one, between these two and other options. All in all… a beautiful wine.

Now, the white is where I mostly disagree with the oenologist, who was persistent on the Douro. To be honest, I find that writing descriptors is dull and I doubt that anybody would buy 0.75 litres of fruits of the forest…

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Oxum red 2012 in vasquesdecarvalho.com

Oxum Red 2012 keeps your appetite keen. Elegant and enjoyable, I feel some Douro in it as well as exceptional elegance. Above it is X Bardos Red 2012 – robust as a knight and pleasant, with remarkable depth in the mouth.

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X Bardos Red 2012 in vasquesdecarvalho.com

The Tawnies we tasted are not alike. Oh, the elegant aromas present in these wines. I did expect the 10-year-old Tawny to stand out more. I believe it could be improved.

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Vasques de Carvalho 10 years Tawny in vasquesdecarvalho.com

Ten years aren’t the same as 40, the comparison being an intellectual exercise. Vasques de Carvalho 40 years is a brilliant wine. Brilliant! Brilliant! Brilliant!

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Vasques de Carvalho 40 years Tawny in vasquesdecarvalho.com

I wish them success, because producers at this level are always welcome. Right, I almost forgot: the company will be selling 750 bottles of the 1880 wine. A few thousand litres of this treasure will remain untouched in the vats. An “all-inclusive” wine, better to taste it for yourself.

Contacts
Vasques Carvalho
Av. Dr. Antão de Carvalho n. 43
5050-224 Peso da Régua
Douro, PORTUGAL
Mobile: (+351) 915 815 830
Tel: (+351) 254 324  263
Fax: (+351) 254 324 263
E-mail: vasquescarvalho43@gmail.com
Website: vasquesdecarvalho.com

Morgadio da Calçada, from Provesende to the world

Text João Pedro de Carvalho

In the peacefulness of the picturesque village of Provesende (Douro) reigns a cozy atmosphere, full of tradition.

The fresh and clean morning air is taken by the smell of baked bread that travels the streets and guides us to an obligatory visit to the bakery. One of the most ancient manors in the village is Casa da Calçada, a stately Douro manor whose foundation dates back to the sixteenth century belonging to Morgado da Calçada, built in the late seventeenth century by Judge Jerónimo da Cunha Pimentel and remaining in the family until the present day.

Manuel Villas-Boas opens the gate that gives way to a set of old farm buildings, recent objects of deep and careful rehabilitation, which resulted in a beautiful wine tourism unit. In total, there are eight bedrooms and swimming pool, where good taste is allied with tradition and a needed slight touch of modernity. If we combine all this with the art of hospitality of Manuel Villas-Boas and the regional cuisine, the only thing left is to approach the beautiful wines that are produced there.

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Casa da Calçada – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Morgadio da Calçada, from Provesende to the world Morgadio da Calçada, from Provesende to the world foto1In fact wine has always been part of the history of that house. A visit to the old cellar only confirms this with the presence of stately and historic wooden casks. The approximately 4.5 hectares of vines live alongside the house. Their conversion began in 1980 ending around the 90s. The vineyard is divided into three parts: the oldest with more than 100 years, one of white grapes about 2.5 hectares long and around 20 years old and the other red varieties of approximate 30 years of age. It was then that the partnership Casa da Calçada – Niepoort was created with the emergence of Morgadio da Calçada. The entire winemaking process is handled on Quinta de Nápoles (Niepoort). No detail has been left to chance, the design of the labels has the signature of the architect Siza Vieira for table wines and the architect Michel Toussaint for Port wines. Dirk Niepoort is an admirer of the vineyards of Provesende, creating wines of great freshness and elegance helped by the 600 meters of altitude and the broad temperature range. In tasting, none of them are marked by oak and all show a huge gastronomic appetite.

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Morgadio da Calçada White 2012, Douro – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Morgadio da Calçada White 2012, Douro

Consequence of a great year, in it reigns the cleanness and freshness of ripe fruit (citrus, white plum, pear) of great quality. Only 60% of the blend went through oak in a very new and energetic set, dominated by mineral austerity in the background. Elegant taste in mouth, fruit present with harmony, some oak toast with freshness to involve the whole set.

Morgadio da Calçada Reserva White 2010, Douro

A wine that grows with time in the glass, benefits if decanted, showing an exquisite bouquet with fruit present (citrus, white plum), complex, elegant and inviting. 100% passed through oak, gaining some heaviness in a more structured and profound, complex and serious profile than his younger brother. Very good presence in mouth, with mild creaminess, full fruit flavor in a spicy, mineral, lingering finish.

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Morgadio da Calçada Red 2004, Douro – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Morgadio da Calçada Red 2011, Douro

Aged in used barrels, discreet oak sustains a set dominated by fresh red/black fruit (berries, raspberry) gluttonous with mild sweetness, a hint of smoke and cocoa. Very elegant, with good structure, palate full of freshness and fruit, engaging finish with slight dryness.

Morgadio da Calçada Red 2004, Douro

It was the first red of Morgadio da Calçada, simply delicious, captivates immediately. The clean fruit, ripe and very well defined, is shown bathed in a cape of mild sweetness, wrapped in freshness and complexity, spices, cistus, cocoa, deep and conversationalist. Full of flavor and freshness, soft on the palate, very refined, light trace of vegetable and spice in the mouth, long and persistent finish. Very good.

Morgadio da Calçada Reserva Red 2007, Douro

The Reserva born from the best grapes from the oldest vines is serious and complex, a slight austerity is felt so characteristic of red Douro, asking for time. Expressive fruit (cherries, blackberries) with notes of cistus, spice, notes of liquor, mineral, elegant and soft on the palate. Tasty with rich texture, freshness and depth, in a red of excellence and class.

Contacts
Largo da Calçada | Provesende
5060-251 Sabrosa (Portugal)
Tel: (+351) 254 732 218
Mobile: (+ 351) 915 347 555
E-mail: mvb@morgadiodacalcada.com
Website: www.morgadiodacalcada.com