the spanish aquisition

Portuguese White Wines

Portugal's geographic and political isolation from the world for much of the 20th century, left it as a viticultural 'island' with a treasure trove of indigenous varieties often unheard of outside the country. Viticultural studies, completed since Portugal joined the EU in1986, identify the most promising white varieties as being: Louriero, Encruzado and Bical, with Cerceal, Codega and Rabigato also showing promise with winemakers.

Loureiro: Once known as Dourada (golden) owing to the yellow hue of its berries. Nervous, floral, and when well made can age very well.

Bical: At home in Bairrada, Dão and Beiras. Can make wonderfully scented peachy, textured wines with crisp finishing acidity.

Cerceal: While characterised by its high quality, delicate aroma and good acidity, Cerceal as a monovarietal wine it can be unbalanced. To counter this it is usually blended with other indigenous white varieties.

Codega: The most-planted white in the Douro. Yields well and produces a naturally soft, low acid fruit.

Rabigato: The 'cat's tail'; home in the Douro. Has elongated bunches, hence the name, and has good acidity at higher altitudes.

Quinta do Ameal, D.O.C. Vinhos Verdes

Quinta do Ameal is the quality wine champion of Vinhos Verdes, devoted to the Loureiro grape variety. Ameal is a single estate, a walled vineyard planted in 1948. The estate is in the northern sub-region of Lima. The soils are deep yellow granite (the yellow is from a clay component), slightly acid with little organic material. The vines are 14 hectares, facing south and sloping gently down to river Lima. Viticulture is organic and biodynamic.

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Luis Pato, Vinho Regional Beiras

Luís Pato is the leading winemaker in an interesting, but very patchy appellation in the Beiras (a broad multi-appellation region including Dão and Douro). Luís has alternated between releasing wines under the local appellation (with which he struggles to identify due to quality issues), and often de-classifies his wines to the regional classification, Beiras.
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Niepoort, D.O.C. Douro

Niepoort has been an independent family business since 1842, and is today headed by fith generation, Dirk Niepoort. Dirk's passion for wines and his humble respect and curiosity for the Douro terroir has re-defined the Niepoort team spirit.

The business has gone through a process of modernisation over the last two decades. The first important step in this process was the acquisition of their own vineyards: Quinta de Nápoles and Quinta do Carril in Cima Corgo.

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Lavradores de Feitoria

A collaboration of Quintas (Lavradores are Farmers) across the 3 sub-regions of the Douro (Baixa Corgo, Cima Corga and Douro Superior). Started in 2000, this 'kind-of-co-operative' has 48 shareholders across 19 estates, selecting from 600 hectares of possible source material. The wine world's Ultimate Super Group?!

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Quinta do Vallado, D.O.C. Douro

Quinta do Vallado, 30 minutes downstream from Pinhão, spreads along the banks of the Corgo River, where it meets the Douro. With references dating back to 1716, the property belonged to legendary D. Antónia Adelaide Ferreira and is now owned by the family's sixth generation.

Vallado has had Cristiano van Zeller consulting during its decade or so of modernisation: the shift from grower for the big Port houses, to high grade estate producer. A new gravity-fed winery was completed in 1997, and the 68 ha of vines (around 300m altitude) have been radically renovated. Parts of the vineyard are still young, aged between 6 and 10 years old. But the best plots, about 26 hectares are more than 60 years old.

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