Alvaro Catro tasting fruit in his old mixed vine vineyardQuinta da Pellada and Quinta de Saes
6270-141 Pinhanços 

Seia, Portugal

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www.quintadapellada.com

 GPS: 40º28'11.93"N 7º41'11.85"W

 

Alvaro Castro is not only a seminal figure in Dao’s resurgence over the last two decades, but one of Portugal’s leading producers. Following Quinta do Bica’s bold move in 1992, he too left the co-operative system for independence intent on making  terroir focused wine. Rather than adapt to external market demand for ‘modern internationalist’ styles, he has consistently demonstrated that Dao’s grapes and their traditional blendings were the best way forward. He hasn’t looked back since.


Castro continues to be a key Dao innovator with the strength of his innovation due its faith in both to the grapes that grow in his old vineyard and sub-region, and to Dao's traditions. Every wine Castro makes is worth getting to know and understand on its own terms.

 

 

PAPE 2004 This 50/50 blend of 80 year old vine Touriga and young vine Baga matured in old barrels for 6 years and bottled unfiltered. A wine of great density and concentration, it is packed with graphite and black fruit aromas and brimming with black cherry flavors. Long, linear and elegant from start to finish, each vintage consistently offers one of Portugal’s greatest wines. Tasted 10.2012

Pellada 2003 13% This is a blend of 50% of old, mixed variety vineyards and younger vine Touriga, Roriz and Jaen. This is a symphony of edgy, mineral infused, dried red fruit flavors and aromas underscored with firm tannins and succulent fruitiness. Although from 2003, alcohol levels were kept low. Tasted 10.2012

Primus 2007 This field blend of old vine, mixed white varieties is barrel fermented in large 400 litre neutral oak barrels displays mature, honeyed mineral notes on nose, with florals emerging in glass. Tight bodied with firm acidity it is less expressive than 2010. Perhaps it is going through a dumb phase and needs more time. Tasted 10.2012 

Primus 2010 This field blend of old vine, mixed white varieties is barrel fermented in large 400 litre neutral oak barrels and bottled immediately. Comparatively it is more concentrated, denser, more mineral with less spice than Quinta de Saes whites. A wine of great depth, finesse and length, outlined with crystal clear acidity, it is nothing short of superb. Tasted 10.2012 

Quinta da Pellada 2008 13% A blend of Touriga, Roriz, Jaen and old, mixed vineyards.  Subtle licorice and black fruit aromas followed on by creamy, berry and vanilla florals in the mouth. Offering great back palate concentration, fruit intensity and minerality, length of flavor and complex, multi-layered tannins, this is delicious wine. Tasted 10.2012

Quinta de Saes Encruzado 2010 After 12 hour of skin contact, the sees no oak is treated only with battonage to create texture. This is a great wine with spicy, fresh straw high tones and succulent fruits hinting at green melons.Sharply focused textures are visceral, something you can get your tongue around, kept in check with a little tannic grip and supportive fine acidity. Tasted 10.2012 

Quinta de Saes Estagio Prolonagado 2007 Two-thirds of this wine originates from an old field blended, mixed vineyard with over 50 varieties (Touriga, Alfrocheiro Rufet, Negro Mole, Amarela…) fleshed out with Touriga and Roriz (bottled since 2008 as reserve). Aromatically this very poised and pure nose offers an intriguing mix of graphite minerality over focused red cherry aromas, quite Burgundian-like. Tasted 10.2012 

Quinta de Saes Reserva 2008 Two-thirds of this wine originates from an old field blended, mixed vineyard with over 50 varieties (Touriga, Alfrocheiro Rufet, Negro Mole,  Amarela…) fleshed out with Touriga and Roriz.  Broadly perfumed with fresh blackfruit and pronounced florals. In the mouth it is smooth, ultra-clean and beautifully focused. Offering superb structure and back palate concentration which is delivered through a very long, drawn out finish. This is great wine: elegant, persistent and still very young. Tasted 10.2012

Quinta de Saes Reserva 2010 13% This traditional blend of Encruzado, Cercial and Bical sees no oak, but a little lees stirring for textural interest. It is shows the true potential of Dao whites with delicate florals and complex minerality shot through with a meaty, beef broth-like undercurrent adding complexity to wine. Slick and fine bodied, ending with a long, elegantly tapered, ethereal melt-away finish.  A Dao to give Montrachet a run for its money. Tasted 10.2012