Posts By : João Pedro Carvalho

Biodynamic Wine by Monty Waldin

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Bruno Ferreira

It is the latest pearl added to the already wide range of books devoted to the world of wine with the seal of the publisher Infinite Ideas. Each title of “The Infinite Ideas Classic Wine Library” covers a region, country or type of wine and if we take into account the other books that have already been addressed here then we can say that the quality is once again on a very high level.

This book entitled Biodynamic Wine deals with a controversial and argument generator subject. On one side we have the admirers and followers/practitioners and on the other a lot of skeptics and nonbelievers. The author is Monty Waldin, an authority when it comes to organic and biodynamic wine, also a critic, consultant and winegrower. The book is an open window to the biodynamic wine, a true source of knowledge where the author explains the processes and philosophies of this way of being in the world of wines with a fluid and engaging writing, step by step.

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Biodynamic Wine by Monty Waldin

Over the 222 pages we are guided through the Biodynamic wine world. Do not expect evaluation of wines or producers because you simply won’t find any. Once the necessary introduction is made we are taken on a trip to the origins of Biodynamic where Rudolf Steiner’s figure gets an expected important role. In the following chapters we are told about all the prepared, where we get to know among other things why the cow’s horns are stuffed of manure and buried at some point of the year, this and much more, always guided by the most varied techniques and alternative treatments that are listed and explained one by one. How important is the vortex by the time it’s necessary to streamline the prepared? Or which is the connection of the bodies to the cosmos and why the work is done following the celestial rhythm? Finally, a chapter dedicated to the Demeter certification, the accuracy is the same as always as is the will to continue reading and understanding this way of being that is increasingly gaining supporters among wine producers around the world.

A book of reference and mandatory for those that have in some way a connection to the fantastic world of wine, both for professionals as for wine lovers.

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.

Quinta de Cidrô
5130-307 S. João da Pesqueira
Tel: (+351) 254 738 050
Fax: (+351) 254 730 851

Quinta de Pancas, a classic’s reborn

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

I’m still in my little tour through the beautiful Quintas around the city of Lisbon. This time I went to visit the prestigious Quinta de Pancas that has been placing so much and such good wine on the table of consumers in recent decades. Quinta de Pancas, founded in 1495, is located 45 km northwest of Lisbon, in Santo Estevão e Triana’s parish, the so-called “Alto Concelho de Alenquer” close to Pancas. Between the Serra de Montejunto and the flatlands of the Tejo’s right bank, in between mountains, hills, valleys and plains Quinta de Pancas has 50 hectares of vineyards. The soils are predominantly calcareous, varying its origin as the altitude of the respective plots and slopes. Regarding the red grape varieties, the highlight goes to Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional, Syrah, Merlot, Castelão, Alicante Bouschet, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Petit Verdot and Malbec. In the white varieties we have the Arinto, Chardonnay and Vital.

For years its wines won the tastes of the most demanding consumers. The Special Selection were famous and greed targets in the 90s where shone among others the Touriga Nacional and Cabernet Sauvignon, blinking the eye to a profile inspired by the Bordeaux wines that this house has never hid. At the end of that decade there was a wine that was placed on the market that would be the top of the range, a wine that still brings me fond memories, a wine of excellence that went by the name of Quinta de Pancas Premium. Then the time went by and we witnessed a renewal of the products, some of the charm was lost but not the “savoir faire”. An example of that was the launch of the Grande Escolha.

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Solar de Pancas – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Nowadays we witness Quinta de Pancas’ rebirth, with a new strategy that includes, along with Quinta do Cardo, the splitting of Companhia das Quintas. Now it has a renewed image, signed by Rita Rivotti. The wines, including labels, were also target of renewal and were presented recently. The entry range are the Pancas, red and white version, both from the 2015 vintage, a simple and very direct profile, focused on fresh and inviting ripe fruit. They are in my opinion a very fine buy for daily consumption.

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The new wines – Photo Provided by Quinta de Pancas | All Rights Reserved

In the range Quinta de Pancas there is the red 2014 and the white 2015. The white shows itself better, the red is more cohesive and coy losing to the more cheerful and dust clear Pancas 2015. But the white shows all the candor of ripe, fresh and airy fruit, with slight rounding. It is a clear leap forward in quality and pleasure. To end with, the two Reserva that have also the white and red version. The white is from 2014 and 100% Arinto. The red is from 2013. The Reserva white aged in wood for 8 months, enough to calm its spirit and bring greater complexity to the set, which is dominated by ripe fruit with citrus reminding a lemon tart, light vanilla and biscuit. Palate matching, freshness supported by a beautiful structure. The Reserva red 2013 has also a lot to show, a more rounded profile with red and plump fruit notes, full of harmony and flavor, little wood presence that gives its place for fruit to stand out. A palate with vigor, tasty and with very good freshness packing the tasting, asking for food around. Based on this brief tasting, the wines are still aging, I will say that the Quinta de Pancas’ future is once more promising.

Quinta de Pancas
Porto da Luz, 2580-383 Alenquer
Tel: (+351) 263733219

Soalheiro – Alma Mater

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

A history that began in the 70s when João António Cerdeira with the support of his father, António Esteves Ferreira, planted the first vineyard of Alvarinho. And so, in 1982 at Quinta de Soalheiro was born the first Alvarinho brand in Melgaço, which is nowadays managed by Maria Palmira Cerdeira and her children. An endure that was done through the generations of the Cerdeira family. This was my first contact with Alvarinho, curiously with the Soalheiro Alvarinho 1994, at the time a young man. So is case to say that with the passing of time, after the affirmation, the consecration and at last the project consolidation, comes the time for breaking new ground and challenges with the launch of new wines.

These are new ways to understand and show the Alvarinho grape variety, the first approach was the Quinta de Soalheiro from 1999 or so. More recently came the Primeiras Vinhas followed by the Reserva. And even more recent are these two releases, of which one is a première and the other is the second vintage. Debuting we have the Soalheiro Alvarinho Granit 2015, the result of a specific selection from vines planted above 150 meters in granitic soils. The fermentation was made at a temperature above normal for white wines and in stainless steel with battonage on fine lees. The goal is to show the variety’s expression as well as soil’s expression in an austere, mineral and drier side. The highlight goes to the good exuberance with focus on fruit associated with Alvarinho, a very clean profile with great elegance. The palate is lined with fruit and a solid mineral background wrapped in dryness. A very precise and focused wine, another beautiful creation from this producer.

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Soalheiro Alvarinho Granit 2015 & Soalheiro TerraMatter 2015 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved


Soalheiro, first brand of Alvarinho in Melgaço – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

In its second edition is the Soalheiro TerraMatter 2015, made with organically grown grapes, not subject to filtration, with the fruit being early harvested and partial malolactic in barrels of chestnut. Different and overwhelming thanks to its ability to immediately conquer us, both for the difference and the quality that is the hallmark of this house. Fantastic rendering of finesse, power and aromatic definition. There is no place for any kind of olfactory “massacre” in a focused and precise wine. Beautiful presence with still much to give, the time it lasts in the glass shows that. Dense, good volume in the mouth with elegance and freshness, with a slight sense of greasiness. A mineral palate creased in a background full of fruit flavor and freshness. In my opinion it’s better than 2014 and, as expected, it’s still very young so it will be very interesting to follow its evolution, if there are enough bottles for that.

Alvaredo . Melgaço
4960-010 Alvaredo
Tel: (+351) 251 416 769
Fax: (+351) 251 416 771

Quinta dos Plátanos, on the route of the Classics

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Quinta dos Plátanos is part of the Extremedura’s Viticultural Region, with Alenquer Designation of Origin. It’s one of the oldest Quintas in Alenquer municipality and is located in the Aldeia Galega de Merceana.

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Quinta dos Plátanos – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Its main activity over the years, and since the seventeenth century, has been the wine industry. The Quinta has always been maintained within the same family and would undergo a renewal in the twentieth century, initially by the hands of Artur de Menezes Corrêa de Sá, and later by his eldest son, José de Menezes Corrêa de Sá. And thus come the first wireframed vines and with compasses that allow the mechanization of works, first with animal-drawn implements and then mechanical, and later using air assets in the treatments being this way considered as a pioneer in some practices. In the 50’s it underwent a full cellar renovation that allowed the launch of wines with Plátano brand in the 60’s. Only later with the creation of the demarcated region were the wines rebranded to Quinta dos Plátanos. In the last years the vineyards have been being restructured, with 16 hectares including Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. In total there are 35 hectares of vines with white grape varieties such as Arinto and Fernão Pires and red grape varieties such as the Pinot Noir, Castelão and Alicante Bouschet, in addition to the above.

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

Nowadays it’s Arthur Corrêa de Sá and his daughter Luísa who manage the Quinta dos Plátanos. The oenology is in charge of Jorge Páscoa, although when tasting the wines there’s clear distinction between the ranges, there’s a line that separates the range Quinta dos Plátanos from the Plátanos. This distinction is due to Luísa’s husband, the producer Joaquim Arnaud. While the first wines show the more classical side and say, the more rustic side of the region, the Plátanos wines show up in the most elegant side as is the hallmark of the Arundel lineage (Pavia). A place that oozes history, full of fantastic places, which in my opinion is still waiting for a wine that matches its full potential, and I might add that from what I tasted seems to be on the right track but still with some distance to go.

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

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

Both Quinta dos Plátanos are DOC Alenquer, the 2014 red and the white, also from 2014. The red shows up with breed, lots of ripe black fruit, freshness well present with a somewhat vegetal brake that provides it toughness and hardiness. In the mouth it shows fruit, fleshy fruit in medium body, it’s tasty and has a good freshness. The white gets its charms from the Arinto and Fernão Pires grape varieties, with great freshness, aromas with some sharpness, very citrus and some orchard fruit, flowers and lemon candy at the end. Mouth to match, fresh, inviting and appealing to the table in hot weather. In the Plátanos range two wines were tasted, the Plátanos Arinto 2014, with grape variety well present in the lemon leaf aromas, lime and lemon, great freshness, tense and with a slight floral somewhat shy in the background, a good example of the variety although it lacks greater angularity on the mouth tasting. The Plátano Tou Noir 2010 is a blend of Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir, shows up fresh and very appealing, with a beautiful ability to go changing in the glass and adjusting over time. It becomes sweet tooth, fresh and terribly gastronomic with those veal chunks in coal accompanied with garlic butter. A lot of ripe and juicy forest fruit, fleshy and tasty, full of spices, a lot of guts while sweet tooth runs through the palate, all of it packed by a nice freshness that at no time lets it wilt.

Dona Berta wines, the lasting of a will

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Let’s take a jump to the Douro Superior, to Freixo do Numão where Dona Berta‘s wine cellar is based. For years this wine’s brand image was the charismatic producer who I remember with longing, Eng. Hernâni Verdelho. It was with him that I first met the Rabigato grape variety of which he was a great supporter. I got to know his wines full of character, both the reds and whites. The conversations used to last for hours, always in a good mood and with a charisma that he was able to convey to his wines in a way that few are. It was interesting to notice that the roughness and the sometimes more rustic touch that sometimes insisted on showing up at first, seemed to sag and bow at the feet of Engº Verdelho. Going back to the tastings and the contact with the new vintages, the wines miss their creator, but the lines that define them are present. His heirs continued the project, and ensured to make last the dream of a man, which nonetheless continues to be powered by the fantastic old vineyard from where are born the different references of the wine cellar. These are wines that need time in bottle, whose well-marked character changes depending on the vintage year. That’s the way of being that I seek and like in a wine. A wine that can transmit to us the way of being of a given year, a wine that is not the same year after year as if it were a product made in series. Those of which I speak now are wines with aging potential that were wisely educated and prepared for life by the winemaker and professor Virgílio Loureiro. Thus, do not be surprised that after ten years both the reds and whites show an enviable health.

This tasting had two moments. The first moment was with the wine Dona Berta Vinhas Velhas Reserva white 2015, a wine with 100% Rabigato full of freshness. The wine has no longer the intense and fruity aromas that somehow made us guess the grape variety immediately, now shows up more tense and mineral. Very good freshness with well-cohesive and present fruit, and with no exaggeration for that is a thing that was never part of the party here. Tense and nerve in the mouth, good dryness in the well-structured background’s body. It has everything to evolve favorably as time goes by. For now, asks for fish/shellfish dishes with good seasoning because the structure that it shows gives it that clashing ability. Grilled fish in coal will also make a nice matching.

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Dona Berta Vinhas Velhas Reserva white 2015 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

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Dona Berta Reserva red 2012 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The second moment was with the Dona Berta Reserva red 2012, where once again the red takes its time to enter the market. Lots of character in a wine with power and full of energy, a lot of fruit (berries and forest fruits) but also a slight austerity in the flavor confirmed on the palate. All very compact and well-cohesive, so tight that only with time will we be able to better unveil the aromas. For now it is a red full of life and energy, able to make an outstanding company to a rump steak on charcoal with alioli sauce.

Quinta da Gândara

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

This white wine comes from the Sociedade Agrícola de Mortágua (Agricultural Society of Mortágua) and was produced at Quinta da Gândara, founded in 1756. From the granitic soils through the mountains of Caramulo and Bussaco are born the grapes that give place to the two wines now tasted, a white from the grape variety Encruzado and a Touriga Nacional red. Lacking more detailed and accurate information, I just want to register that these wines are part of Caves da Mantanha’s (Bairrada) “squad”. These are wines that fall under a profile that does not turn its back to the region, however, it is noticeable that everything is done in a more modern way and to the image of our days. It’s not that that’s bad sign, these are just signs that the region has known how to evolve and reposition itself in order to meet the demands of the market and new consumers.

A sign of this are the more modern wines. Wines that are more ready to drink and with more honed tannins where the aging and life in the bottle are often left aside. We are therefore faced with the immediate pleasure and we lose that keeping potential that gave so much fame to regions, such as the Dão. The question is whether this is the way forward or if it was just a shortcut that was chosen seeking early success. Both wines bear the designation Reserva. The aging was made in new French oak and lasted seven months for the white and ten months for the red.

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Quinta da Gândara Touriga Nacional Reserva 2011 & Quinta da Gândara Reserva Encruzado 2013 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

The Quinta da Gândara Reserva Encruzado 2013 has a rich aroma, is ample with a clear presence of wood entangled in ripe fruit, and has some dried fruit pointing to an precocious evolution. The rest of the set is fresh, medium-sized, with a mineral clipping background reminding flintlock, vanilla. A medium weight profile with good dose of freshness. On the palate combines ripe fruit with lemon pie notes, it’s ample and with final dryness.

The Quinta da Gândara Touriga Nacional Reserva 2011 is the opposite of the white. Its aromas immediately take us to the Dão. The set has a good freshness showing a fresh and mature Touriga Nacional, floral, orange peel with a slight tip of austerity and exuberance. All packaged in a sweet tooth tone with notes of cocoa, spices, forest fruits jam, wrapped in freshness with cohesive mouth, a lot of energy with austerity in the background, fleshy and full of flavor.

Tasting the History: Frasqueira Soares Franco

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

In the adventures and misadventures of an oenophile there are moments that mark our journey, and this is almost always because of one or more unforgettable wines. I can’t think of anything more exciting than literally come face to face with a preciousness and make way discovering its history. That’s exactly what happened to me with two rare specimens from Frasqueira de António Porto Soares Franco, whose wines are part of the Soares Franco family’s assets located in the headquarters of José Maria da Fonseca, more specifically in the Adega dos Teares Velhos. Going back to António Porto Soares Franco’s time, who at the time was a partner of the Companhia de Aguardentes da Madeira, the routes to the Madeira island opened many doors and opportunities for business, that’s where the Abudarham name comes in. Consulting the book “Madeira: The islands and their wines by Richard Mayson”, we can learn that Joseph Abudarham had dual citizenship, English and French, and that he arrived to Madeira in the first half of the XIX century. He settled there in the wine business, with access to the best that was produced at the time, but also in the cash loan business, which would later give rise to the Companhia de Seguros Aliança Madeirense. His wine business was centered on bottled wine and was sold mainly to France and Germany. After his death in 1869 the company was renamed to Viúva Abudarham & Filhos and would eventually be sold to the Madeira Wine Association, which is today the Madeira Wine Company. Now that I knew its source and its merchant, the only thing left to observe were the details in the small tape stuck to the bottle, the permanent ink on the label could barely be seen and faintly indicated 1795. After some research and exchange of data I came to conclusion that the wine in question was a Terrantez 1795 of which several bottles were auctioned some years ago. The cork came out with the strength of the blades, intact and with the brand José Maria da Fonseca, a sign that the corks are changed every x years, something that was confirmed by the producer himself.

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Adega dos Teares Velhos – Photo Provided by José Maria da Fonseca | All Rights Reserved

The second bottle tells a different story, thus bringing us to the Port wine. It also boasts the Frasqueira Soares Franco name and the label only shows R.M 187X. Given the age of the two bottles time has taken its toll on the labels and with them their precious information. In the case of the Madeira they saved up the date on a paper tape, and in the Port wine’s bottle there’s something left on the back label. Later I confirmed that the initials refer to Ramiro Magalhães, a former Port wine merchant who lived in Bombarral. Ramiro Magalhães was an important man in his land and a great wine dealer that at his time would have been one of the firsts to have car and driver. On the back label we can see the missing number, thus getting the vintage’s full year, 1878, the last pre-phylloxera year. In this case there won’t be much more to say, the remaining information only references the year in question, which was considered classic Vintage year.

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One of the wines tasted – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Frasqueira Soares Franco – Abudarham – Terrantez 1795: It’s amazing the ability that this wine has to perfume a whole room. As soon as it falls in the glass we get mesmerized by the shades that glow in the glass, a wine with 221 years showing the reason why even after all of the wines are served during the dinner, when the Madeira comes in it’s the king of the party. In this case the wine is breathtaking and unforgettable. First of all, a slight peak of volatility before conquering us with a warm and cozy tone of caramel, vanilla, toffee, preparing us for the next clash, a huge freshness. And it’s that same freshness that dominates us and leaves our hands attached to the glass. A WOW comes out immediately, it’s like those rollercoasters that we just want to keep on repeating. With this wine it’s the same, it’s a comes and goes of sensations, the aromas stuck in time go bouncing off the glass, there’s a slight sensation of unctuosity full of freshness, and in the background something that recalls the smell of cigar ash. The palate is another struggle, a conquest that holds us with caramel and burnt sugar, slightly rounds up to the point where we almost crack it, and then fires up in a crazy spiral of acidity with slight bitter in the aftertaste. Unforgettable.

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Frasqueira Soares Franco – Abudarham – Terrantez 1795 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

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Frasqueira Soares Franco – Ramiro Magalhães – Vintage 1878 – Photo by João Pedro de Carvalho | All Rights Reserved

Frasqueira Soares Franco – Ramiro Magalhães – Vintage 1878: A Vintage with 138 years of life. Yes, I said life, because although the tone reminds me of an old tawny its freshness and aromatic definition are remarkable. Very precise and delicate, great elegance with aromas of sweet tobacco, fine spices, candied orange peel, raisin fruit with dates, a cozy set and slightly unctuous. On the palate comes greedy, unctuous and with good volume in the mouth, a slight of vinagrinho, it’s almost like a sweet and cool marble that tears itself on the palate until it remains only a thin, long finish. Majestic.

Arundel, around the lands of Pavia with Joaquim Arnaud

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

Joaquim Arnaud is a name that has been around since 1883 and that has been passed on from generation to generation as tradition. He’s a descendent from an Alentejo family, from Pavia, documented there since 1515. A family that has always been dedicated to mounted, olive groves, vineyards, cereal cultivation and livestock (pigs, cows, sheep and horses). Their properties are located in the municipalities of Mora and Arraiolos, in the Évora district. In 2010, in order to maximize these resources, Joaquim Arnaud decided to create his custom brand, to which he gave his own name. His business goal is based on bringing to the market selected products with short runs, in which he combines the artisanal with sophistication. This is how producer Joaquim Arnaud presents himself, the wines that he creates in his cellar speak for themselves. In this tasting I only focused myself on the wines coming from Alentejo, more properly Pavia.

His wines express a will and an ideal and are made to his liking. This led him to move away from the scrutiny of the Comissão Vitivinícola Regional Alentejana. In this way he doesn’t feel cramped or trialed, he freeform creates his wines coming from the terroir of Pavia. His range of wines has been being broadened and we can notice that over there there is no rush to launch novelties or new vintages, the wines are only made known when Joaquim Arnaud believes that the time is right. So, even during the tasting, we oscillate between the strength of youth and the exemplars with tannins already educated. Of the five presented wines I decided to separate them into three groups:

Arundel Young 2013 and Arundel Petit 2012 are the example of youth and the fruit’s strength, both with a dose of austerity providing a very good energy to the set. Both share the same blend comprising of Aragonez, Syrah, Trincadeira and Alicante Bouschet, varying only in the time spent aging in barrel, 6 months for the Young and 9 months for the Petit. Wine with a fleshy profile, dense, with the Alentejo marking its presence with a quality bouquet emanating notes of plum, blackberries, spices and jam. Good freshness and purity of aromas in a conquering and breathtaking set. Wines asking for food nearby, grilled meats are the perfect match at this time.


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

The wines resulting from the partnership with Trienal do Alentejo are more recent. The first release is the Arundel 36 2009, which results from a wine that was literally forgotten in the cellar and originated a the small amount of about 500 bottles, aged for 36 months in barrel. A serious and fresh set showing a mix of sweet fruit with red blueberry notes, strawberries and blackberries, a slightly floral fragrance with spice in the background. Great set harmony with a good mouth passage. A more open profile and less concentrated but creasing the entire palate with fruit flavors and spices. Ends broad, with a slight dryness in the gastronomic side that is the hallmark of this house.

The second edition goes by the name Arundel T & T 2012, a blend based on the grape varieties of the previous two wines that aged in barrel for 12 months. For the most curious T&T are the initials of the Trienal and Terranagro (production company of Joaquim Arnaud’s wines). Another example that combines finesse, freshness and fruit. In this case the fruit is less present giving place to a more floral and spiced side. The red and acid fruit, with tones of raspberries and blueberries appears in the background next to a light earthy/graphite. Mouth full of flavor, a slight dryness in the background, much cocoa, tobacco leaf and fruit.

Culminating with the Arundel Great 2008, 400 bottles of a wine that aged 12 months in barrel and another 24 months in bottle. A 100% blend of Alicante Bouschet. A sweeping red right from the first contact, such is the finesse and lasciviousness that it displays. Pure class, great harmony of an adult wine and ready to provide pleasure, very fragrant with juicy and fresh fruit on a huge quality bouquet where everything shows up well-defined. Not nipped by time at all, showing that it has managed to evolve for the better side. Like all of this producer’s wines shows a good Alentejo character, asks for table and shines brightly alongside some wrapped partridges.

Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas in the Douro

Text João Pedro de Carvalho | Translation Bruno Ferreira

In a market where supply is increasingly getting higher and the quality is a common ground for the wines of Portugal, it’s becoming increasingly complicated to keep up pace with all the producers, brands or projects. That’s why there’s no reason to be surprised when we see novelties at every corner, every shelf or glass served by friends. There is so much to know and to be known that it is impossible to get to everywhere or attain such a comprehensive knowledge to say with a solid ground, I know everything. In my case I write about this project whose name I had only heard of, and even though I had already read about it I still hadn’t had the opportunity to have their wines in my glass.

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Quinta do Bronze in

I look at the world of wine as one looks at the starry sky, it is impossible to know or count all the stars in the sky, with wine is the same. In this case the project has a curious name but also able to captivate attention, hits our ear when we hear Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas (Full Moon in Old Vines). The project, holding the same name, follows the passionate connection that the three founders – João Silva e Sousa, Francisco Baptista e Manuel Dias – maintain with the Douro for more than two decades now. After being surprised for so many years by this unique wine-growing region, in 2009 came the time for them to show their vision on Douro wines. They went from buying the grapes to having their own vineyard, about 10 hectares of vineyards with the purchase of Quinta do Bronze in Vale Mendiz. Although they have already expanded to other regions it’s here in the Douro that we will focus, as well as on the new vintages that have just hit the market. Interestingly, only the red Reserva Especial and the white Reserva were subjected to wood, all the other wines only met stainless steel’s cold. Something that has to be highlighted is the excellent price/quality of all wines tasted.

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The Wines in

Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas white 2015: Made from old vines, very fragrant and fresh, with notes of orchard fruits and flowers, mineral background in a very harmonious set.

Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas Rosé 2015: Good aromatic intensity showing a rosé wine centered on fresh and ripe fruit (strawberry, raspberry). It is complemented by a really discreet floral and some spices in a young and balanced set.

Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas red 2014: A red wine that breaths Douro, fresh and nicely scented with the juicy and sweet tooth fruit standing out in the foreground. A slight vegetal aroma invoking the rockrose as its usual in the reds of the region. Medium body with tannins giving a good ending dryness in a wine that like the others shows a very gastronomic profile.

Lua Cheia em Vinhas Velhas Reserva Especial 2014: Was entitled to 12 months in French oak barrels. Great set harmony with the fruit (blackcurrant, strawberry, raspberry) emerging, well ripen and fresh, showing good complexity with floral notes, light cocoa, very elegantly. Captivating and very tasty, it’s one of those wines that is hard not to like of.

Tel: (+351) 234 329 530
Fax: (+351) 234 329 531