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The wines of Sogrape

Rua 5 de Outubro 558, Aldeia Nova, 4400 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Tel: +351 22 783 8104
E-mail: sogrape@maganet.pt

Sogrape's winery in the Dão

Founded back in the 1940s, Sogrape grew fat from one of the world’s most successful wine brands, Mateus Rosé. They’re Portugal’s leading winemaker in terms of volume, and an export-minded company. As well as having a foothold in many of Portugal’s wine regions, they also own Finca Flichman in Argentina. The latest domestic venture is the shiny new Quinta dos Carvalhais winery in the Dão region. As well as having around 80 ha of their own vineyards (many newly planted) they also buy in grapes from local growers.

So what are the wines like? Unsurprisingly, Mateus Rosé wasn’t being shown. The whites are cleanly made in a modern style, but lack a bit of character, with the exception of the delicious Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco. The reds are generally more interesting, and offer good value for money. But they only really hit a high with the pricey Quinta dos Carvalhais Tinto. For such a big company, it’s a fairly solid performance. See also: more recent review of Sogrape's wines (April 2002) and a visit to Sogrape's Qunita dos Carvalhais in May 2003.

Gazela Vino Verde
A rather dull, pale, fresh high-acid style.

Terra Franca Branco 2000 Beiras
Some lovely herby notes on the nose, leading to a fresh, crisp, modern palate. Good/very good

Dão Grão Vasco Branco 2000
The modern, fresh herby nose is followed by a fresh, fruity palate. A clean, commercial wine style. Good/very good

Villa Regia Douro 2000
Citrus and herb nose; clean modern fruit on the palate. Good/very good

Quinta dos Carvalhais Branco 1999 Dão
Lovely bright, fruity nutty nose. Boldly falvoured, savoury palate with rich, waxy, herby fruit. A very nice, characterful white wine. Very good/excellent (c. £11)

Terra Franca 1999
Rich, sweet fruit with caramel and herb notes. Characterful and a little bit rustic. Good/very good

Vila Regia 1999, Douro
Nice herby nose leads to a palate showing sweet, ripe herbal fruit with some spicy herb notes. Not a big wine but an attractive one. Very good

Dão Grão Vasco 1999
A blend of Jaen, Alfrocheiro Preto and Tinta Roriz. Nice pungent nose of cherry fruit and herbs, with a leafy, spicy edge. Sweet, rounded palate is medium bodied and a little rustic, but still good, with nice acidity. Very good

GV Garrifeira 1996
Browning a little at the rim, this wine shows soft, herby, fruit with a sweet edge and notes of tea and leather. Quite savoury and traditional, but soft and approachable. Very good

Vinha do Monte 1999, Vinho Regional Alentejano
Bright cherry and raspberry fruit on the nose with a smoky, spicy edge. Bold, ripe fruit on the palate with a bit of tannin, but a tiny bit anonymous. Nice density and good acidity. Very good

Duque de Viseu 1998, Dão
Nice pungent cherry and herby nose with some medicinal notes. Rich, ripe, chunky palate with some liquoricey fruit. Nice, modern wine but retaining some character. A rich style. Very good+ (available from Majestic £4.99)

Touriga Nacional 1998 Quinta dos Carvalhais, Dão
A deep purple/black colour, this has a ripe, spicy, liquoricey nose with complex caramel and herb notes. Lovely rich textured palate with bold fruit. Modern and with new oak apparent, this is a lovely rich wine with real appeal. Very good/excellent

Tasted May 2001

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