Quinta de Foz de Arouce   
A leading producer from Beiras, Portugal

Website: www.fozdearouce.com

Quinta de Foz de Arouce is a bit of an oddity, in that it makes one of Portugal’s best wines, but it’s not in a well known wine region. It’s located near to Coimbra in the Beiras, just south of the Bairrada region, and the wines are made from the red Bairrada grape, Baga. The village of Foz de Arouce was the site of a famous battle between the Anglo/Portuguese army and the French in the Peninsular war, which took place in March 1811.

The vineyards are protected from the Atlantic influence by two mountains – the Serra da Lousã and Serra da Penela. The Serra de Miranda is also nearby. Soils are a mix of schistous and alluvial. The estate is 60 hectares, of which 15 hectares are vineyards. The old vine block (Vinha de Santa Maria) is 3 hectares, with 9 hectares of younger vines (5 years) and 3 hectares of old vines recently replanted. Red grapes account for 14.5 hectares of the 15, and the breakdown is 80% Baga, 20% Touriga. 0.5 hectares are white grapes (mainly Cerceal, with a bit of Fernão Pires and Bical).

The property is owned by the Count of Foz de Arouce, who is the father in law of famous Alentejo winemaker João Portugal Ramos’ father-in-law.  Ramos makes the wines, and they’re really good. Perhaps because of the isolated nature of the Quinta, they’re a bit off the radar of many Portuguese wine nuts, but they age brilliantly, and show the Baga grape at its most elegant.


Quinta de Foz de Arouce Branco 2005 Beiras
Mainly Cerceal. Lovely fresh, intense concentrated white wine with a limey, almost spicy edge and a hint of matchstick reduction. Taut with real intensity and potential, this is fresh and has lovely acidity. 90/100

Quinta de Foz de Arouce Tinto 1992 Beiras
Just Baga used here. This is a beautiful wine showing perfumed floral aromatics with sweet cherry and plum fruit, as well as a hint of earth. The palate is smooth and elegant, evolving beautifully with spicy, earthy structure marrying well with the focused fruit. Finishes long and spicy. 94/100

Quinta de Foz de Arouce Vinhas Velhas de Sta Maria 2003 Beiras
This was the first vintage of this new bottling, which separated out the old vine fruit from the young vines. Quite smooth and pure with almost lush red berry and cherry fruit, as well as a slight acidic lift. The palate has lovely firm yet silky tannins with nice acidity and a long spicy finish. Quite serious. Beginning to open out and really elegant. 93/100

Quinta de Foz de Arouce Vinhas Velhas de Sta Maria 2005 Beiras
Lovely sweet, tight, spicy nose with subtle earthy notes. The palate is pure and focused with tight structure, and more earthiness. Firm tannins and good acid. Needs time. 93/100

See also:

Tasting notes of Portuguese wines
The new Douro (series)

Wines tasted 03/09  
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