This is an amazing wine. It’s from a now extinct Quinta in Carcavelos, Quinta da Bela Vista. The last crop from this vineyard was in 1969, and Carlos Fonseca (of Companhia Agricola do Sanguinhal, who bottled the wine in 1991, and holds the remaining stock) reckons that this particular wine, which is a non-vintage, has an average age of 70 years. They looked back at the records and found that 400 litres were produced in 1969. The total amount of wine in the cellar was 14000 litres, hence the calculation.
The reason Carcavelos has pretty much disappeared is because the vineyards were located near Cascais, next to Lisbon, and the value of the land for development far exceeded that of vineyards. There is just one 10 hectare vineyard remaining, owned by the state, in Oeiras. The grape variety here is Galego Dourado, aka Loureiro.
This wine is fortified, but it’s not sweet – it reminds Carlos of a Sercial from Madeira, and I see where he’s coming from.
Quinta da Bela Vista Carcavelos NV Portugal
Deep yellow in colour with some bronze hints, this has a lively aromatic nose of spice, raisins and casks. It smells sweet, but it’s not. The palate is rich and powerful with some fresh, spicy, citrussy notes counterbalancing the nutty, slightly figgy richness. The key facet though is an incredible length: the flavour persists for ages. A lovely, beautifully balanced fortified wine of real interest. 95/100
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