Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne
Gil, the father, Laura, the mother, and Gil, the son – they are Casa Amarela and Casa Amarela is them!
They have been building on this project, a life devoted to the Douro, to Quinta da Casa Amarela [estate] and to their wines. Wines made with passion, great passion, which they share with clients and friends, with simplicity and without formalities, while maintaining a level of quality that they never give up.
And rigth they are! They take their wines all around the country as well as to other countries. This work consists of persistence: a lot of hours at the wheel or inside aeroplanes, a lot of commented tastings, but also a lot of satisfied customers. In addition, they have partnerships with colleagues who also produce wines from other regions: the first partnership was made with Paulo Laureano and his Alentejo nectars; then with Paulo rodrigues from Quinta do Regueiro and Alvarinho, from Melgaço; finally, with Sir Cliff Richard and his Algarvian wines. They did all this thanks to the help of oenologist Jean-Hughes Gros, a Frenchman who also fell in love with Douro and decided to stick around and make very good wines. Visiting this farm is always a pleasure; for years we have been treated as family.
The beautiful house is covered in virgin vines, which are now slowly shifting into Autumn hues, in the new cask room, wood and stone make a perfect match, and in the old vat room, the classical music in the background conveys a touch of magic and intimacy.
The wines are certainly grateful.
Outside, the huge tree is already blending with the walls of the monumental and authoritarian-looking house.
Further up the hill, the vines rest as they await a well-earned winter break. But we were there to taste the wines, knowing that Laura Regueiro would not let us go without a homemade meal like only she can prepare.
Once in the comfort of the living room, we began with the white Casa Amarela Reserva 2014, full of very balanced freshness and acidity, notes of very elegant white-pulp fruits, persistent and connecting very well with cheese gratin on toast and a delicious pepper jam.
Then, Norte Sul 2013, also with freshness, exotic, youthful, very pleasant, simple yet structured; a pleasant surprise. Then, were enjoyed a few slices of bola de carne [meat cake], very typical of the region; soft and delicious.
We finished the appetisers with another partnership white, the II Terroir XIV, in which the minerality of the Alvarinho matches the elegance and freshness of the Douro white very well. Intense, very elegant, with excellent volume on the mouth; a gastronomic wine.
Already at the table, we were delighted with a Swiss chard soup with onion crunch, very flavourful and served quite hot.
In the meantime, the Casa Amarela Reserva Tinto 2013 was opened. It was full of floral aromas, red fruits, intense but very elegant, with notes of smoke, very refreshing, silky, with its tannins already well-matched, and a delicious finish.
Then, a superb oven-roast pork knee; very well seasoned, melting in our mouths, with “punched” potatoes [literally punched roast potatoes] and sautéed cabbage, a few slices of very ripe tomato and plump onion, well seasoned. Delicious!
For our glasses, the red PL-LR IX; an excellent connection made with reds of two regions that are so far apart and yet so close. Complex aromas, silky, light notes of smoke and some ripe dark fruit. On the mouth, it has excellent volume, it’s meaty, intense, powerful, with very balanced acidity and a lasting finish.
While still savouring the meat course, we enjoyed the Casa Amarela Grande Reserva red 2011, a beautiful tribute to grandpa Elísio. Of an incredible year, this is a distinct wine; very elegant, quaint, full of aromatic complexity, with very good acidity and a full mouth with a long finish. It will still last many years in the bottle… if it makes it!
Finally, dessert: first, the apple crumble, which is compulsory in this house; then, a slice of medium matured cheese accompanied by white grapes and little toasts.
Firstly, we opened the Porto Tawny 10 Anos, with intense aromas of nuts, notes of honey, quince, excellent acidity, and a lot of freshness.
To go with the cheese, we had the first Vintage sold by this house, and precisely the 2011! With very ripe dark fruit, notes of chocolate, slightly balsamic, fat, full, powerful, but elegant at the same time; a beautiful representation of the current best modern Ports being produced. A beautiful meal, as always, among good people, and in the company of characterful wines.
The Douro is grateful…
Quinta da Casa Amarela
Tel: (+351) 254 666 200
Fax: (+351) 254 665 209
Mobile: (+351) 962 621 661