Text José Silva | Translation Jani Dunne
Casa de Paços’ tradition with Vinho Verde goes back a long time. Its production is split between the land in Barcelos and the land in Monção.
Casa de Paços‘ main house, in Barcelos, has been remodelled with strict instructions to maintain the original design, although it now offers the right conditions for events such as group lunches and dinners, and wine tastings.
For example, the Silva Ramos tasting recently organised by the father and son of the family was exclusive to a lucky few, among which I was included.
Starting with a walk to observe the traditional beauty of the house and its surroundings, we could also peek at the new vines still being planted, view the thick granite walls, the porch and the road running by.
Then, we sat round the table to begin a delicious trip across the different wine categories this house offers. This tasting was very unusual: they presented vintages that had been bottled for years. Those old wines were about to give us very pleasant surprises and a delightful tasting. A few more modern vintages joined them for comparison purposes.
We tasted 39 wines of 7 different types – a true wine marathon. Some wines were close to expiring, some were very enjoyable, and others were still very strong.
The Casa de Paços Loureiro/Arinto 2005 range proved very clean, with an elegant nose, somewhat evolved, with notes of nuts and melon, fantastic acidity, round, a very pleasant drink. And it’s from 2005! But Casa de Paços Loureiro/Arinto 2008 surprised us most of all. Honey-yellow, more evolved, very elegant in the nose, silky, still very refreshing and revealing some fruit. Good volume in the mouth, excellent acidity, intense, with notes of honey, very complex and with a lasting finish; a great wine. The 2011 vintage presented a lot of minerality, good acidity, consistency, and the 2012 too: dry, with good acidity and a little fruit; very good.
The two most recent vintages in Casa de Paços Loureiro/Arinto were in great shape: 2013 with a very refreshing nose, extremely floral, light tropical notes, vibrant acidity and excellent minerality; the 2014 showed very good fruit; it was very elegant and refreshing. In the mouth, it’s engaging, light, has good acidity; this is a very modern white. Out of the Casa de Paços Arinto range came one of the biggest surprises, the 2004; honey-yellow, amber coloured. Very evolved, elegant, with notes of kerosene. In the mouth, it was incredibly intense, with powerful acidity, nuts, honey, complex, remarkable for a 10-year-old Vinho Verde! Then, Casa de Paços Arinto 2011 showed soft notes of vanilla, some freshness; it’s extremely elegant. Very structured in the mouth, dry, excellent acidity, and more, vanilla, peach, and pear fragrance; very good.
The three wines from Casa de Paços Superior presented in the tasting – 2010, 2011 and 2013 – performed very well, especially the 2013, which proved still very young, soft and refreshing. Very elegant in the mouth, with excellent acidity, somewhat tropical and round – a modern and fun wine. Next were Capitão Mor Alvarinho wines, the 2005 in an incredible crystal-clear-citrus-yellow, some evolution, elegant. Revealing some fruit, it was intense, of very good acidity and very enjoyable. The baby, Alvarinho 2013, tastes very floral, slightly tropical, intense and refreshing. In the mouth, it’s dry, has beautiful acidity, sweet notes, citrus and a hint of mineral; a very balanced modern wine.
Then, came Morgado and Perdigão Loureiro/Alvarinho. The 2004 and 2005 vintages were in good health, the first revealing a very clear honey-yellow, slightly evolved but elegant and refreshing, hinting at some fruit, notes of nuts, very balanced acidity and a very lasting finish. The 2005 wore a very clear, soft citrus yellow; it was refreshing, had slightly sweetened notes and excellent acidity, balanced throughout. The 2008 is delicious, intense, slightly evolved, with notes of nuts and a full, voluminous, dry mouth, excellent acidity, very complex; a great wine. Another funny curiosity, which was also a surprise, was Reserva Capitão Mor in magnum bottles.
The 2008 vintage stood out, soft and fresh in the nose, exotic in the mouth, elegant, with very good acidity, notes of nuts, but still young for a wine of this age. The 2013 also performed very well, in a crystal-clear citrus yellow, with intense tropical aromas, fresh and lightly floral. In the mouth, it’s very elegant, maintains the kind of freshness you get with good acidity, it’s persistent and has a long finish.
Finally, Casa de Paços Fernão Pires wines were served, bringing a few pleasant surprises. Starting with the oldest, a 2008, of a very handsome honey-yellow, with notes of evolution in the nose, albeit very quaint, including some honey and jam. In the mouth, it’s complex, with very balanced acidity, light notes of quince jam, a lasting finish, and a beautiful wine. The 2012 was also very well, very fruity and with notes of flowers and jam; it has volume in the mouth, notes of apricot and boiled pear, very balanced acidity; such a good wine. Finally, Casa de Paços Fernão Pires 2014 is a modern wine, with an intense nose of tropical aromas and flowers. Still very young, it shows beautiful acidity contrasting with some sweetness, it’s elegant and comes to an excellent finish.
In general, every wine was easy to drink and none was spoiled, even those at the end of their drinkable period.
An excellent, very well organised, very didactic tasting.