Tasting wines from a Portuguese
wine region that's almost extinct
is a coastal Portuguese wine region thatís now almost extinct. Close
to Lisbon, itís threatened by urban development. And the wines are
difficult to understand, so they donít fetch huge prices, which
makes them doubly vulnerable.
here is pretty extreme. The soils are very sandy, which means that
phylloxera was never a problem, and so the vines are planted on their
own roots. Itís also an incredibly windy spot, with strong Atlantic
breezes, so the vines are grown close to the ground, with each shoot
supported by sticks, and with shelter from bamboo wind breaks. Fog is
also an issue here, which means that the grapes struggle to reach full
the vines is a huge challenge, because growers have to dig deep
trenches in the sand to get to the clay subsoil. Most of the remaining
vines here are very old.
grape variety is unique to the region: itís a red grape called
Ramisco. It makes wines that are low in alcohol, high in acidity, and
pretty high in tannin. Theyíre challenging young, but as this small
tasting showed, they can age fantastically.
four wines were brought along to a tasting by Filipa Pato and William
Wouters, which was very thoughtful and generous of them, because they
have nothing to gain by showing these old historical bottles, other
than sharing a piece of Portuguese wine history with us.
a blog post with some nice pictures of the region here.
Colares Antůnio Bernadino Paulo
da Silva 1968
Lovely complex aromatics: old, earthy, spicy and dense. The palate
is fresh with good acidity and some fruit. Still alive with savoury,
herbal flavours and some tannic structure. A little unusual, but nice.
Collares Visconde de Salreu 1955
Complex, warm, evolved herby spicy nose with notes of tar and
fudge. Very much still alive, showing beautiful aromatics. The palate
has amazing acidity and complex, broad, deep fruit notes with spice
and a hint of earth. Still some fruit here after 50 years, and there
are some woody hints too. 92/100
Colares Manuel Josť Colares 1952
Amazingly, there are some red notes to the colour still. Warm,
herby, spicy nose is surprisingly elegant with delicate leafy notes as
well as some red fruit character. The palate has earth, spice notes as
well as lovely elegant tannic structure, coupled with good acidity.
Really surprising with lots of fruit still. Deliciously elegant.
Collares Viuva Josť Gomes da
Silva & Filhos 1934
Still deep coloured. Super-elegant earthy, spicy nose, with some
notes of fudge and tar, as well as a hint of mushroom. Otherwise, this
is still quite pure. The palate is fresh with high acidity. Very
savoury and earthy with firm tannins, still, and a lovely finish. Just
incredible for its age, with lots of complexity and high acidity.
Wines tasted 10/09
these wines with wine-searcher.com
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