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.
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.