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 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.
The Meireles family have nurtured the region’s varietal characteristics to produce wines with a true sense of place. The Vinho Verde boasts eye-catching packaging and a typical fresh style of this type of wine.
After the grapes are picked by hand, the grapes are pressed at low pressure. Fermentation then takes place in stainless tanks at a controlled temperature (12 to 14ºC) over three weeks.
This wine has fruity, floral notes, which are fresh and well balanced. The nose is reminiscent of aromatic green apple, melon and white peach. The palate is balanced and smooth with a generous texture and a touch of petillance. White peach, apples and tangerine on the palate leading to a long, crisp finish.
Awarded 95 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition review of Portuguese whites (see blue link below).
The Marques family and their estate, Vale da Capucha, represent the viticultural renaissance that the Lisboa DO has experienced over the last decade. Having grown fruit for bulk wine production for a few generations, they realised that their heritage and terroir was something worth expressing. While their adjacent neighbors routinely turn out yields in excess of 25 tons per hectare, Vale do Capucha has trimmed theirs to under 6.
Only 10 km from the Atlantic Ocean just outside of Lisbon, Vale do Capucha is a property whose wines speak to the presence and proximity of the ocean. Winemaker Pedro Marques has taken the reins of the estate from his family, replanted it entirely with indigenous varieties, and has set about expressing a singular message of terroir. Pedro follows the ethos that 'great wine is made in the vineyard'. The precept is simple: maximum human work in the vineyard and minimum intervention in the winery. The resulting terroir-driven wines come from a medley of Portuguese varieties.
Capucha refers to the ancient Roman military road that led from Lisbon to Santarai, and both fossilized seashells and ancient Roman artifacts are consistently unearthed on the property, situated on a 400 million year-old thread of Kimmeridgian limestone. With minimal interventionist winemaking, Marques manages to clearly express the minerality and salinity of these ocean-inflected vineyards.
This is a blend dominated by the indigenous variety of Fernao Pires, a grape that possesses of terrific structure and aromatics and demonstrates the minerality of this maritime terroir wonderfully well. Intensity and purity of fruit and mineral character are the hallmarks of Capucha Branco.
80% Fernao Pires, 20% Arinto from organically-grown (certified thus) vines planted in 1996.
Innoculated fermentation with native yeast strains in stainless steel, cold stabilization. Aged on the lees for 8 months in stainless steel. Unfiltered and unfined.
Exotic tropical and stone fruit, mixed with spice tones, anise, paperwhites and dusty mineral. Unmistakeable sea spray aromas. On the palate, fleshy stone fruit gives way to an intensely mineral backbone with chalk and sea salt providing balance and length.
This wine is suitable for vegans.