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 2016 to be of at least a very similar quality based on the producer's data: the acidity is a little higher and the alcohol a little lower, yielding more freshness in a class of wine that can, to some, taste a little "hot".
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 made up of schist - a slate-like metamorphic rock that is rich in nutrients and has useful water retention properties.
On arrival at the winery of Casa Ferreirinha in Vila Real, the grapes were destemmed and softly crushed. They are then pressed and the must clarified by static decanting at low temperatures. This is followed by a long period of alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures between 16ºC-18ºC. After fermentation, around 20% of the wine is aged in used casks for three months, the remainder stored in stainless steel tanks.
Yellow colour with a slightly golden hue. The nose has floral notes, tropical fruit, white fruits and earthy, slightly shrubby tones. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied and reveals a lively and well-integrated acidity, alongside floral notes and touches of white fruit. It has an extremely elegant finish.
Bright and clear with a light citric colour; Some evident tropical aromas reminding of pineapple, mango and also citrines. Fruity blended with interesting floral notes. It presents itself with a soft minerality, very well balanced and medium structure.
Fruity, floral notes, fresh and well balanced.
The nose is aromatic green apple, melon and white peach. The palate is balanced, 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 96 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their June 2018 edition review of Portuguese whites (see blue link below)
The 105-hectare Quinta dos Carvalhais is a beautiful property in Mangualde commune in the Dão. Purchased and invested in by the Guedes family, the estate combines the most up-to-date techniques with extensive experience of traditional winemaking practices, creating wines with elegance and personality. In addition to investing in their own vineyards, Quinta dos Carvalhais has also been instrumental in defending the interests and living conditions of many local small winegrowers who sell their grapes.
This property, which today has 50 hectares under vine, was purchased by the Guedes family in 1988. The vineyards were planted on poor granite soils with indigenous Dão varieties (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tinta Pinheira for reds and Encruzado, Assario, Verdelho, Bical and Cerceal for whites), and the modern winery was built soon afterwards. Today, winemaker Beatriz Cabral de Almeida makes an increasingly impressive range of wines from estate vineyards, which are situated at an altitude of 465-500 metres above sea level.
Wines from 2004, 2005 and 2006 make up the blend of Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco Especial. The 2004 and 2005 vintages were excellent and produced ripe grapes with excellent phenolic development. The 2006 vintage had a cold and dry winter. Spring was rainy but May saw good conditions for flowering. Summer alternated between high temperatures and rainy periods, maintaining a fine water and temperature balance which favoured an even ripening. There was occasional rain during the vintage, but this did not affect the quality of the wines.
31% Encruzado, 15% Semillon, 15% Verdelho, 39% other white varieties.
The grapes were loaded directly into the pneumatic press upon arrival at the winery. The must underwent static decantation at low temperatures for a 24-hour period to reach the required level of clarity. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks for about 20 days at temperatures no higher than 16ºC. The wine was made using some of the region's traditional winemaking techniques, including the maturation of white wines for long periods of time in large, old oak casks. This is a blend of grapes from 2004, 2005 and 2006, with an average of eight years ageing in 225-litre oak barrels. During the maturation, intervention was avoided as far as possible. The wines from the different barrels were tasted one by one, and those that showed the best potential for development were selected for the final blend.
Bright golden in colour, the Branco Especial's bouquet has a prevalence of truffles, honey and dried fruits, as well as oak hints and warm spicy notes. It is a dense and structured wine with broad and fragrant aromatics. Its lively acidity is very well-balanced by the full, rich body of the wine. An elegant, complex and very sophisticated white wine.
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.