Dona Berta: traditional, restrained, delicious Douro wines

There’s something very traditional about the labelling of these wines from Douro estate Dona Berta: pure and classic. This is reflected in the winemaking style, which shows admirable restraint and purity.

The estate, based in Quinta do Carrenho in the Douro Superior, was established some 40 years ago by an engineer, Hernâni Verdelho, using old family vineyards as a base. Enlisting the help of Virgílio Loureiro, who as well as acting as a consultant winemaker is professor of enology at Lisbon University, he produced some wines that established a quiet reputation for elegance and seriousness, including some really mineral whites. This was one of the first estates to make varietal Rabigato.

Sadly Hernâni died in 2011. Since then, the estate has been run by his wife Maria Fernanda Verdelho and children (Isabel Andrade and Pedro Verdelho). As well as new plantings (now 15-35 years old) the estate also has two hectares of centenarian vines, with mixed varieties (some not even in the IVDP register for the region).

These wines are really good and are very reasonably priced.

Dona Berta Rabigato Vinhas Velhas Reserva Branco 2016 Douro, Portugal
Stainless steel. Refined, waxy, slightly nutty nose with some citrus and fine herb notes. The palate is waxy and nutty with almond, pear and fine spicy characters. Mineral and beguiling with a stony, lemony finish. 93/100

Dona Berta Reserva Tinto 2013 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Lovely supple wine with fine red cherries and berries. Stony and restrained with elegance and fine structure. Lovely presence here with nice acidity. Such balance. 93/100

Dona Berta Sousão Reserva 2013 Douro, Portugal
Not common to see this variety bottled alone. Nice chunky style but with freshness to the grippy raspberry and red cherry fruit. Has firm structure and a bit of spiciness. Nice grip. 93/100

Dona Berta Tinto Cão Reserva 2012 Douro, Portugal
A nicely structured with with black cherries and blackberries. Good grip with nice acidity and focus. Restrained but with lovely fruit. Really expressive and fine, and ageworthy, too. 94/100

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