The earlier 2015 vintage was awarded 87 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2017 edition review of Douro Table Wines (see blue link below). It is subjective, of course, but we judge the 2017 to be of at least a very similar quality.
This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. It has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luis Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Esteva and Papa Figos, allied to a lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.
This white blend comes from relatively high-altitude vineyards above the river Douro. The grapes were harvested by hand in the highlands and plateaus of the region and were selected for their balance between phenolic maturity and excellent freshness. The soil in the Douro Valley is schistous; a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.
2017 was a very warm and dry year for the Douro with almost every month from December 2016 to August 2017 recording below average rainfall. Average temperatures were much higher than normal, especially in the crucial spring months of March, April, and May. This meant that the vine’s growing cycle was much more advanced than usual, often being one or two weeks ahead of the expected schedule. The advanced maturation of the vines and grapes coupled with heatwaves in June and July meant that the 2017 harvest was destined to be one of the earliest ever recorded. Harvest began in the last week of August and finished in most areas by the end of September, a time when most harvests usually begin.
On arrival at the winery of Casa Ferreirinha in Vila Real, the grapes were destemmed and softly crushed. They were pressed and the must clarified by static decanting at low temperatures. This was followed by a long alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures between 16ºC-18ºC. After fermentation, around 20% of the wine was aged in used casks for three months, the remainder held in stainless steel tanks.
This wine is made using Viosinho 25%, Malvasia 20%, Fina Arinto/Pedernã 15%, Códega 15%, Gouveio (Verdelho) 15%, Moscatel 5%, Rabigato 5%.
This wine is lemon yellow in colour with golden lights. On the nose, intense floral notes stand out with hints of tropical fruit and earthy, slightly shrubby tones. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a lively and well-integrated acidity, alongside floral notes and touches of white peaches. The finish is long and fragrant.
Awarded 84 points and Commended status by Decanter in their April 2019 Panel Tasting on Chilean Carmenère.
Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.
Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, thereby controlling everything from grape to bottle.
The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at temperatures between 25-28°C before undergoing malolactic fermentation. The wine was then aged for six months in oak (60% French, 40% American) to soften tannins and add complexity.
With an intense, deep ruby colour, the wine has red and black cherry notes with black pepper and chocolate on the finish. Its rounded texture and fruitiness give it an appealing, plush mouthfeel.
The 2016 vintage was Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2018 edition review of Spanish Value Wines (under £20); (see blue link below).
In the mountainous area of the Upper Penedès the more delicate and aromatic white grape varieties are grown. Moscatel and Gewürtztraminer form the basis for Viña Esmeralda, an exceptionally delicate and strikingly fragrant wine.
Torres say: "We're particularly proud of our white wines. The production of these types of pure, clean and seductive wines, as we see them today, was quite difficult for our ancestors. However, we now know the secret and have the resources to maintain the fruit properties and transform them into unique, refreshing and elegant wines with a little help from the climate, the land, our well-cared for grapevines and experience."
"The Mediterranean breeze blends with the scent of roses, which grow around our vineyards further inland, to bring us our most cherished gem: Viña Esmeralda."
This wine was fermented at controlled temperatures of 16°C in stainless steel vats for two weeks to preserve its freshness.
Brilliant pale straw yellow. Fragrant, with floral orange blossom, delicate nuances of exotic fruit and a note of apple jam. It is smooth and exquisitely luscious on the palate, leaving a subtle honeyed trace.
This wine is sublime with seafood appetizers, fish and pâté. It is also well worth trying with Asian food.