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The wines of Quinta da Chocapalha, Estremadura, Portugal

Quinta de Choapalha, 2580-081 Aldeia Galega de Merceana, Portugal
E-mail: chocapalha@chocapalha.com 
UK agent: Corney & Barrow  

Quinta de Chocapalha is an impressive 45 hectare estate owned by Alice and Paulo Tavares da Silva (Alice is pictured above). They purchased the property in the 1980s and have since made significant investments in the vineyards. In 2000 they began making their own wines, with their daughter Sandra as the winemaker (she also performs winemaking duties at Quinta do Vale Dona Maria in the Douro, and Pintas, also in the Douro, which is the winery owned by her and her husband Jorge Borges.) Some of the grapes from the vineyards are still sold to other producers.

Estremadura is a region with a middling sort of reputation, best known for commercial styles, but this is one of its real stars, turning out really good wines that blend together modernity with tradition.

The notes below are from three separate tastings, with the date indicated in brackets after the note.

Chocapalha Branco 2007 Estremadura
Really bright, lively, lemony fresh unoaked white with lovely purity. Subtle orange pith and grapefruit notes. Lovely. 88/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Branco 2007 Estremadura
Fresh bright apple and lemony nose. Palate is crisp and fresh with lovely bright fruit and some lemony freshness. An attractive, bright wine. 88/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Fern„o Pires 2007 Estremadura
This is the first year for this wine.  Bright, intense, fruity floral nose with notes of herbs and lemons. The palate is bright and lemony with fresh, expressive fruit. Delicious stuff thatís focused and bright. 89/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Fern„o Pires 2007 Estremadura
Very attractive taut, herby, melony nose with some nutty richness. The palate is broad with lovely fruit: complex, herby and delicious. 91/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Branco Reserva 2007 Estremadura
60% Chardonnay (oaked), 30% Viosinho and 10% Arinto. Lively and fresh with a subtle nuttiness. A bright minerally style thatís fresh and quite intense. Lovely wine. 90/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Branco Reserva 2007 Estremadura
Fresh fruity nose with lovely taut toasty oak influence. The palate is fresh and intense with nice toastiness and good acidity. Tight and quite complex. 90/100 (05/08)

Vinha de Palha Rosť 2007 Estremadura
Very attractive sweet aromatic strawberry fruit nose. Exuberantly fruity. The palate is soft and sweetly fruited with a gentle herby edge. Delicious. 88/100 (05/08)

Vinha de Palha Tinto 2004 Estremadura
Made exclusively for the Norweigan market. Earthy, spicy, dark cherry fruit nose. The palate is quite earthy with some evolution. Finishes spicy. 84/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Tinto 2006 Estremadura (tank sample, soon to be bottled)
A blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alicante Bouschet and Castel„o. Smooth, dark and spicy blackberry and blackcurrant fruit here with some spicy, tannic structure. Good density of ripe fruit. Modern and satisfying. 89/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Tinto 2006 Estremadura
Nicely focused dark fruits here with good structure. Fresh style with good acidity. This is a fresh, food-friendly wine with a nice grippiness. 89/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Estremadura
18 months in 50% new oak. Supple, smooth, expressive sweet blackcurrant fruit on the nose with nice definition. The palate is fresh and sweet with really nicely focused black fruits together with good acidity. Nicely savoury finish. 90/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Estremadura
Nice fresh subtle leafy edge to the ripe blackcurrant fruit on the nose. The palate is smooth, ripe and dense with some attractive freshness. Stylish. 89/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Reserva Tinto 2006 Estremadura
60% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz and 10% Syrah. Lovely focused sweet dark fruits on the nose with some violetty, tarry notes. The palate is fresh and focused with lovely dense, dark fruits and some firm spicy tannins. A beautifully bold style. 91/100 (11/08)

Chocapalha Reserva Tinto 2006 Estremadura
60% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz and 10% Syrah. Very deep red/black colour. Stylish black fruits nose is lush and ripe with a liqueur-like richness. The palate is concentrated and rich with a lovely combination of dark fruits and spicy oak. An enjoyable modern-styled wine. 93/100 (05/08)

Chocapalha Reserva Branco 2005 Estremadura
A blend including Chardonnay and Arinto, this has a bright, fresh, lemony, fruity nose. The palate is fresh, bold and beautifully balanced with a nice combination of rich fruit and brighter lemony notes. Stylish. 90/100 (04/07)

Quinta de Chocapalha 2005 Estremadura
An eclectic blend that brings together Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, Castel„o and Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep coloured, with beautifully vivid pure fruit on the nose. The palate is ripe and full with vivid dark fruits and spicy, chocolatey richness. Very tasty. 89/100 (04/07)

Quinta de Chocapalha Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz 2005 Estremadura
A 70:30 blend of these two international varieties. Deep coloured. Sweet, intense red and black fruits nose leads to a palate showing forward fruit backed up by a bit of oak. This is a really nice wine thatís both ripe and fresh. 91/100 (04/07)

Quinta de Chocapalha Reserva 2005 Estremadura
Dark, perfumed, intense spicy nose is really vivid. Lovely boldness. The palate is bold and rich, spicy and full with good structure and nice freshness, despite the weight. Lovely stuff. 92/100 (04/07)

Wines tasted 04/07, 05/08, 11/08
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