Quinta de Gomariz
Visiting Vinho Verde in northern Portugal, focusing on new wave single-variety wines

It was a sunny spring afternoon when we rocked up at Quinta de Gomariz. This estate has 17 hectares of vines, and it’s located in the Vale do Ave sub-region, right in the heart of Vinho Verde country. Gomariz is 2 km from the Ave river and 20 km from the Atlantic. They’ve recently bought another 7 hectares of land but they are not planting this now.

We met with António Sousa, the winemaker, who is a thoughtful person, prone to experimentation in the winery, which is a good thing.

Seven main varieties are grown here but overall there are 37 varieties in the vineyards including some experimental plots: 15 of these are local varieties with 22 international ones. The old vineyards here are 15 years old, the youngest 3 years old. The soils here are 2–3 m deep with 4% organic material. 75% is sand, based on decomposed granite.


What are António’s favourite varieties? Alvarinho is one: 'It's almost impossible to have a bad wine from this,' he says. Loureiro is another: ‘It can make an excellent wine or a terrible wine; now we are seeing excellent wines from Loureiro.’ Avesso also gets a mention.

António believes in single-variety Vinho Verde. 'The people want to see the varieties, and the easy way to explain this is with single varieties. If they know the profile of the variety they can understand the blend.’


We chatted yields. Typically Loureiro will give 10 tons/hectare and Alvarinho 7 tons/ha, with the others somewhere in between. Some years Loureiro can deliver 16 tons/ha without any quality problems – unlike with red wines, concentration isn't necessarily needed for whites. The issue is the right acidity and the right sugar.

The winemaking consists of 6–12 h skin contact for all wines, sometimes 24 h, and some vats do 30% whole bunch ferment. No skin contact is used for Treixadura. Fermentation temperature makes quite a difference with white wines, and completely different wines can be made with 12 versus 18 C.

António likes to work with small lots. The winery has some 80 different vats, and he makes 35 different vats of Loureiro. These represent a palette of wines to blend from. The final Loureiro that was most recently bottles used 20 of these.

The whole cellar is fitted with inert gas, and all vats have a positive pressure of 0.3 bars. The ferments are done at positive pressure to keep oxygen out. The final wines have 1.6-1.8 g CO2 in them without adding anything, and they have around 1 bar pressure after 6 or 7 months.

Tank samples:

Gomariz 2013
Skin fermented. Very aromatic peach and pear fruit with lovely orange peel palate. Fresh and nicely intense with some tangerine notes

2014 Loureiro (normal ferment)
Lively, bright and fresh with high aciity, citrus notes and some pithiness. Fresh and lemony.

Fernão Pires 2014
This gives good yields and good maturation. It's an early variety and growers love it. Rich, broad with lovely fruit. Bold but fresh with nice pear and spice, with a peppery edge.

Trajadura 2014
A hardy vine that can handle anything, but makes soft wines with low acidity. Good for blending with lots of aromatic compounds, giving aromas of pineapple and passionfruit. Don't extract anything from the skins, just the varietal compounds. Doesn't live long as a single variety. Crisp, fruit and citrussy with a hint of green. Pithy and bright.

Loureiro 2012 No oak
3–4% of this older wine like this is blended into the first wines that go to market. Lovely textured pear and peach fruit with nice depth of broad fruity flavours. Textured and full.

Loureiro 2011 No oak
Full yellow colour. Lively notes of herbs, wax, citrus and pear with lovely depth and a bit of spiciness. Subtle nut and kerosene notes.

2013 Blend
This is a press wine that is used for blending. Fresh and grapey with spice and nice texture. Concentrated flavours with low acidity.

Loureiro 2013 without skin contact
Nice pear and peach fruit. Lovely texture with good acidity. Fresh but full flavoured.

Alvarinho 2014
Fresh, pure and pithy with apples, pear and citrus. Nice weight, with a bit of tannin.

Loureiro 2014
Aromatic with notes of wax, pear, pith. Lively and bright with lovely focus and depth of flavour, as well as a bit of grip.

Alvarinho 2013
Lively with rich floral peach and pear fruit. Nice depth and purity with prettiness and texture, and some tangerine notes. Very impressive.

Riesling 2013
Honeyed and nutty with nice citrus fruit. Rounded and stylish

Riesling 2014
Very lemony and taut with fresh grapefruit characters.

Sauvignon Blanc 2013
Very fresh, pretty, green and rounded with a bit of honey.

Blend 2013
This has Fernao Pires and also some press wines. Hugely aromatic with lovely rich melony fruit. Fat and textured with soft acid and nice mouthfeel.

Loureiro 2007
Oxidative, powerful, appley with citrus and some honeyed fruit. Powerful, spicy and lovely: old but interesting with a salty edge.

Sparkling wine: the base wine is sent through a device with encapsulated yeast in it to a Charmat tank. The same yeasts do 5 different tanks and produce one bar of pressure per day. He's aiming at 6.5 bars of pressure and then a bit will be lost at bottling. The encapsulated yeast removes the need for filtration.


Quinta de Gomariz Avesso Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Avesso is a difficult grape with a dark side. It's hard to grow, and you need to know how to make it, but it is interesting. It has good ageing potential and acidity, and interesting aromas of white fruits, quince and pear. It's a young variety that's only 250 years old, with just a few clones. Lovely yellow fruits nose with pear and white peach. The palate has good texture and lovely fruit, with real personality. 89/100

Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Aromatic with pear, peach and nice citrus fruit as well as a hint of herbiness. Nice density of fruit with a bit of pear skin character. 89/100

Quinta de Gomariz Loureiro Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Very aromatic with freshpears, ripe apples and some grapes. Fresh and vivid on the palate with good texture to the pear and citrus fruit. Pure, vivid and zippy. 88/100

Quinta de Gomariz Grande Escolha 2013 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Lively and a bit pithy with nice precision, some waxy notes and ripe pear and peach fruit. Lively, zippy and fresh with lovely fruit. 90/100

Quinta de Gomariz Espadeiro Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
This is the best adapted variety to the region. Pale pink with a hint of orange. Lively and bright with a creamy edge to the bright citrus and red cherry fruit, as well as some honey notes. High acidity. 84/100

Quinta de Gomariz Padeiro Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Pale orange pink colour. Fresh and vivid with high acidity. Pure and juicy with some tangy cranberry fruit. Vivid. 86/100

Quinta de Gomariz Alvarinho Vinho Espumante NV Vinho Verde, Portugal
Lovely Alvarinho fatness with rich herbs, pear and spice, as well as subtle toasty notes. Very fruity and pure with some depth. Lovely. 90/100

Quinta de Gomariz Vinhão Colheita Seleccionada 2014 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Intense and vivid with nice apple notes and sweet pure black fruits. Vivid raspberries with an inky colour. I love the intensity of the fruit here. It's a powerful wine. 90/100

Casal de Ventozela
Quinta de Gomariz
Cazas Novas
Quinta de Covela

See also:

Visiting Vinho Verde (2008) (series)

Wines tasted 04/15  
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