The 2017 vintage was awarded 95 points, Gold and overall Trophy status (Portuguese Red Trophy and Great Value Red between £8 and £12) at the 2019 IWC (International Wine Challenge) in May 2019 (see blue link below for review and their tasting note).
This historic producer, founded in 1751, was purchased by Sogrape in 1987. Today they have 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 the talented Luis Sottomayor, who manages to restrain the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like Estevo and Papa Figos, allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Red and Quinta da Leda.
About 25% of the grapes for Papa Figos come from Casa Ferreirinha's Quinta da Leda estate, and the rest from producers owning north-facing vineyards at relatively high altitudes. The soil in the Duoro Valley is made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.
The golden oriole (papa figos in Portuguese) is one of the rarest birds in the Douro region. An attractive, brightly-coloured migratory bird, its uniqueness and rarity make it the perfect inspiration for this lovely wine.
The 2018 vintage saw a cold and dry winter which was followed by an extremely wet spring which replenished water reserves in the soil but also affected flowering and increased disease pressure on the vine. These factors significantly reduced the yield but a hot and dry summer allowed for a balanced maturation and the fruit harvested was of excellent quality
After gentle destemming and crushing, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks. Intense maceration is achieved by pumping over. After maceration, the wine is run off the solids, the free-run wine is kept separate from the press wine. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged in controlled conditions. The blend was selected and remained in stainless tanks throughout the winter. 25% of the total of the blend spent eight months in used French oak barrels, and the final blend was bottled after 12 months.
35% Tinta Roriz, 30% Tinta Barroca, 20% Touriga Franca, 15% Touriga Nacional.
This wine is ruby red in colour with violet nuances. Intensely aromatic with fresh black fruits, red berries, heather, chocolate and balsamic savoury spice on the nose. The spicy red fruit profile follows onto the full bodied palate that balances smooth tannins with well-integrated acidity on the long lasting finish.
ABV = 13.5%.
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. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, 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 Luís 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.
The selected grape varieties were sourced from the Quinta do Sairrão estate located at a high altitude in the Cima Corgo region. The mountainous vineyards here have schist soils with vines planted either in vertical rows or on traditional patamares (terraces). The selected plots are ideal for optimal maturation thanks to the hot days and cool evenings bringing out the fresh fruit character of the grapes.
Like the rest of Portugal, this region suffered from a severe lack of water throughout the 2017 growing season with high daytime temperatures tempered only by the cooling effect of the high altitude. The harvest was very early and yields were much lower than average. The region suffered a series of wildfires due to the extremely dry conditions and many vineyards were damaged and in some cases, completely destroyed. However, despite the atypical harvest year, the resulting wines have great balance, elegance and concentration.
Grapes selected for the Vinha Grande Tinto went through gentle crushing and destemming prior to temperature controlled fermentation in stainless steel tanks. Long skin contact during fermentation ensured optimal extraction, which was facilitated by pumping over and robotic plunging. Maturation took place for between 12 and 18 months in used French oak barrels. The blend was then selected based on both sensory and technical analyses. The wine was then lightly filtered before bottling. In addition, the wine did not undergo cold stabilisation, which may mean it will have natural sediment in the bottle.
40% Touriga Franca , 25% Touriga Nacional, 25% Tinta Roriz, 10% Tinta Barroca.
This wine has a deep ruby colour and intense aromas of flowers, strawberry and raspberry fruit, a touch of black pepper and well-integrated oak. The voluminous palate has well-integrated acidity, velvety tannins, a delicate minerality and notes of red berries. The finish is elegant and long.
ABV = 14.0%.
In 2009, Michel Chapoutier picked out a plot in the Douro Valley. A small – very small – plot of 3 hectares, but full of promise: Eleivera. Here, the winters are tough, the summer a long, dry heatwave. To get sufficient output, Michel Chapoutier joined forces with local producers and worked with them to grow touriga nacional, a typical Portuguese grape. The result was Pinteivera and Eleivera, two representatives of this region, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Terroir: Highly altered schist soil on the surface with a subsoil of unaltered schist from 30-40cm.
Harvest: The grapes are hand-picked in small crates of 20kg.
Vinification: in small tanks with a long vatting of more than 4 weeks.
Maturing: The wine is matured in concrete tanks and French oak barrels of 2 to 4 years.
This wine is 100% Touriga Nacional.
The apperance is elegant, pale yellow flecked with green. The nose is fresh, fruity aromas of peaches and pears with citrus notes. The palate is clean and fresh on entry, with perceptible volume on the mid-palate. The finish is broad and taut with citrus aromas.
ABV = 13.5%.
Dorina Lindemann, one of the most well-known female oenologists in Portugal, has developed her wines of distinctive character at her 65-hectare Quinta da Plansel wine estate. While Portuguese wines are much known for their blending, Quinta da Plansel focuses primarily on monovarietal wines. Doing so allows the true potential of the grape to be revealed, as is the case with the Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, and Tinta Barroca, often used individually to produce their top wines.
Here, in Montemor-o-Novo, in the Evora sub-region of the Alentejo, a unique microclimate provides excellent conditions for pithy terroir wines. Soils are residual granite and metamorphic sedimentary. Plenty of sun, low rainfall, and the large differences between maximum and minimum temperatures ('diurnal range') combine to produce the climatic conditions required for fine, aromatic grapes which are harvested only when mature. Competent work in the vineyard and the cellar, and a love of precise attention to detail result in some very special wines indeed.
For this wine, hand-picked grapes are chilled overnight and then slowly fermented within 4 weeks in traditional lagars. Maturation is for 12 months in French oak barriques.
50% Aragonez and 50% Tinta Barroca.
Intense dark garnet color. Sweet and concentrated wild fruit with soft floral hints. A touch of dark chocolate, vanilla and marzipan. On the palate a little earthy with an idea of canned fruit, very dense, smooth and elegant with an amazing soft and fruity finish.
Ageing potential is around 5 years from vintage.
ABV = 14.5%.