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Quinta Vale D. Maria VVV Valleys Tinto 2015
Cristiano van Zeller acquired the historic Quinta Vale D. Maria in 1996 after heading up his family’s prestigious Quinta do Noval estate. The property came with around 10 hectares of 50 year old vines of traditional Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, and Touriga Nacional grapes which needed careful care and attention to restore them to their former glory. Today the company combines these ancient parcels of vines with traditional winemaking techniques and modern equipment to produce stunning Ports and red wines.
The VVV Valleys red wine takes its name from the three valleys where the family have traditionally grown grapes for the past 15 generations. The grapes are sourced from the Pinhão, Torto and Douro river valleys where the vines are at least 35 years old. Since the customary way of growing grapes here was to plant different varieties alongside each other in the same vineyard, this is a stunning field blend which showcases many of Portugal’s little-known indigenous grapes.
As soon as you pour out a glass you’ll notice the gorgeous deep red hue and inviting aromas of plums, dark cherries and blackberries. On the palate the wine is silky smooth with distinctive spicy hints from the 21 months of ageing in oak. This rich dry red wine makes an ideal match for red meats and even game dishes thanks to the subtle earthy character.
Quinta da Falorca Reserva Lagar 2014
Over a century ago the Costa Barros de Figuerido family started making wine at an idyllic spot close to the Dão river in central Portugal. Conditions here on the Quinta Vale Das Escadinhas estate are ideal for crafting hearty red wines thanks to the steep south-facing slopes on which the family’s vines are planted and the warm Mediterranean summers.
This fine Reserva is created with Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alfrocheiro Preto grapes sourced from the family’s Quinta da Falorca vineyard as well as a small proportion from the 80 year old vines in their Esmoitada vineyard. The grapes are carefully harvest by hand and are then subject to foot treading in the family’s ancient granitic lagar which has been used in this way for generations.
Following fermentation the wine is aged in French oak barrels for a period of 18 months and then matured in the bottle for a shorter time before it is deemed ready for release. The result is a deep, inky red wine that exudes rich aromas of black cherry, dark chocolate and licorice. On the palate the body is full and generous with a firm structure, ripe tannins and a balancing freshness which brings a touch of elegance to this powerful wine.
Herdade do Portocarro Cavalo Maluco 2012
The Herdade do Portocarro is located just south of Lisbon in Alcácer do Sal where wine has been made since ancient times. Here conditions are ideal for growing grapes thanks to the hot dry Mediterranean summers which are moderated by proximity to the Atlantic Ocean and the Sado River. The 18 hectare estate takes its name from the “carro” or local high spot and “porto” after the nearby port which was crucial for the region in years gone by when transportation was mainly conducted by river.
Herdade do Portocarro focuses on producing top quality wines in limited quantities and their bottlings are consistently ranked amongst Portugal’s finest. The Cavalo Maluco or “Crazy Horse” is named after a Sioux chieftain who fought to preserve his people from the invading American pioneers. This intense, wild wine reflects the spirit of this bold man who was not afraid to tread his own path.
On the nose there are complex aromas of dried flowers, dark berries, sweet spices and bitter chocolate while the palate offers a firm structure and distinctive rich dark fruit, smoke and earthy hints. Crafted from Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Petit Verdot grapes, this full bodied wine spends 18 months ageing in oak and will continue to develop and evolve over the next decade or so.
Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Tinto 2016
Opening with a deep ruby red hue and enticing aromas of dried violets, ripe strawberries and raspberries, this is a fine example of the delicious dry red wines being made in the Douro region today. On the palate there are punchy flavours of cherries and wild berries which mingle with hints of licorice, black pepper and dried herbs. There is a generous full body balanced by freshness and a long lingering finish which make this an ideal partner for roasted beef or lamb.
The grapes used for the Vinha Grande are sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão where the high altitude helps to develop aromatic character and to preserve freshness in the finished wine. After the harvest the grapes are fermented in stainless steel tanks with an extended skin contact to extract a real depth of flavour and colour from the grapes.
The wine is then aged in used French oak barrels for up to 18 months. After the maturation process is complete the winemaker decides on the final blend, combining different quantities of the indigenous Portuguese varieties to produce a bold yet balanced red wine. Since the estate do not use cold stabilization to avoid changing the character of the wine there may be natural sediment in the bottle.
Quinta da Falorca Touriga Nacional 2011
Dried violets, crushed black cherries and subtle herbal aromas delight the nose, while the palate is rich with blackberry, cassis and dark chocolate flavours. In the mouth this powerful Touriga Nacional offers a full body, firm structure and smooth tannins which have been softened by the years of maturation in the bottle. The bold flavours and personality of this wine are carefully balanced by a refreshing acidity which makes this an ideal partner for rich tomato sauces and hearty red meat dishes.
The Costa Barros de Figuerido family have been making wine on the banks of the Dão river in central Portugal for five generations and they currently work 13 hectares of vines which are divided into four vineyards. The vines are largely planted on steep south-facing slopes with maximum exposure to the sun which helps to produce incredibly concentrated red wines.
This single varietal bottling is crafted from the legendary Touriga Nacional grape which actually originates from the Dão wine region and is best known for its role in Port wines. The grapes used for this wine are picked by hand and treaded by foot in an ancient granitic lagar. Following the fermentation process the wine is then aged in French oak barrels for 18 months and in stainless steel vats for an additional 18 months.
Herdade do Portocarro Anima 2011
Inspired by the Latin word for “soul” or “breath” and by the resemblance between Tuscany and the landscapes of the Herdade do Portocarro estate, Anima is an unusual example of a single varietal Sangiovese from Portugal. The estate decided to craft this unique wine as a contrast to Portugal’s traditional bold and powerful red wines, offering instead the freshness and elegance of the Sangiovese.
Herdade do Portocarro currently produce just 2400 bottles of this unique wine from grapes grown in their vineyards just south of Lisbon in Alcácer do Sal. This area is ideally suited to the Sangiovese grape thanks to the warm Mediterranean summers which are cooled by the nearby Atlantic Ocean.
The nose offers enchanting classic Sangiovese aromas of red cherries, wild crushed berries and a distinctive earthy character. On the palate there is a fresh acidity, smooth tannins, a medium body and intense flavours of bitter chocolate, cassis and hints of kirsch. This perfectly-balanced red wine exudes grace and elegance, making it an excellent choice to serve alongside a generous platter of cheese and charcuterie or to simply share with friends before or after a meal.