Have you noticed that people have been saying they just got back from Portugal??? The food and wine scene is one of the best in Europe right now (and very reasonably priced!), so folks are flocking to Portugal and discovering the old world charm of everything Portughese! We tasted a series of wines from Portugal and fell in love with this red. Made from all local varieties, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) and Touriga Nacional, it is the perfect introduction to Portughese reds. This has very pure, natural fruit intensity with youthful aromas of ripe red fruits especially wild cherry, currant and plums and along with an inner floral perfume and minerality. The smooth palate has silky tannins and a touch of acidity that gives lift to the rich, complex fruits. This is truly delicious and complex, and a terrific value under $20.
The Quinta Nova winery dates back to 1764, boasting beautifully situated vineyards on the northern shore of the Douro River in one of the most prestigious sub-regions, Cima Corgo, close to Pinhao. The current owners, the Amorim family, purchased the estate in 1999, but has been a leader in cork production in Portugal since the 1870s. Luisa Amorim, the youngest member of the fourth generation (and a Woman in Wine!) is at the heart and soul of this winery, bringing unsurpassed passion to the project, producing wines based upon a great tradition and modern techniques. The entire estate covers 120 hectares with 85 planted to vines.
The terroir of Quinta Nova consists of greywachian schist on flat terraces (patamares) rising up on steep, slopes from the river; some parts of the vineyard are steeper than 45 degrees. The vineyards are planted facing south and west, exposing them to hot, dry winds. The vines are planted at varying densities from 3500 plants/ ha up to 6000 for the top wines. The low humidity of the area produces highly concentrated grapes. Summers are hot and winters are cold.
The success of these wines is based on the passion of Luisa, who not only makes wine at her own winery but travels to the world’s greatest vineyards to learn other techniques as well. Her standards of quality are very high both in the vineyard and in the winery. With its incredible terroir and indigenous grape varieties, these are great wines which speak of a unique place. We tasted and loved this lovely red made of 100% indigenous grapes : 40% Touriga Franca, 40% Tinta Roriz, 20% Touriga Nacional. This is very smooth and classy, although oftentimes Portughese reds will be more rustic in style. We chose Pomares, named for the 18th century fruit orchards next to the vineyards, for its accessibility and lovely, pleasing nature.
Pomares red also has great complexity due to its old vines averaging 25-plus years and careful selection. The grape bunches are passed over a sorting table upon entering the winery. The grapes are de-stemmed and undergo a 5 day pre-fermentation maceration. The fermentation happens in stainless steel tank at cool temperatures. The wines are then blended and aged, partly in stainless steel tanks, partly in 4 to 5 year old French and American 300 liter barrels, for 6 months before bottling. Only 13.5% alcohol. 6500 cases produced.