Quinta dos Carvalhais is a beautiful estate in the Terras de Senhorim sub-region of the Dão and is one of the region's most respected producers. Purchased in 1988 by the Guedes family, a huge amount of investment has gone into the estate, which combines the most up-to-date viticultural and winemaking techniques with age-old traditions, resulting in unique wines with great elegance and personality. In addition to investing in their own vineyards, Quinta dos Carvalhais has also been instrumental in defending the interests of local winegrowers and for pioneering the quality revolution in the Dão region. The talented Beatriz Cabral de Almeida is head winemaker and makes a very impressive range of single-varietal wines and interesting blends from the estate vineyards.
This 105-hectare property, situated at an altitude of 465-500 metres above sea level, has 50 hectares under vine. Warm days and cool nights at this altitude slow down the grape ripening process and result in wines with lovely depth yet vibrant fruit and a signature freshness. The vineyards are planted on poor granite soils with a predominance of indigenous Dão varieties including Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Encruzado. Microzoning studies have been carried out on the estate, identifying nine different soil types and a multitude of different microclimates, and each grape variety has been matched to its ideal plot. This precision viticulture provides Beatriz with a great diversity of blending options. All of the vineyards are farmed sustainably and harvesting is carried out by hand.
The 2015 vintage began with a cold and dry winter. Spring was drier than in previous years, with occasional rain replenishing the water levels in the soil. An arid summer followed, with high temperatures during the day and cool nights. These ideal conditions promoted balanced ripening with little incidence of disease. The harvest itself was conducted a week earlier than in 2014, and produced wines of a very high standard.
The Alfrocheiro fruit was sourced from three different vineyard plots which were vinified separately. Fruit was harvested into 20kg boxes and destemmed and gently crushed before being gravity fed into temperature-controlled stainless-steel tanks and undergoing a three-day pre-fermentation cold maceration to extract aroma and colour. Fermentation then began and lasted for approximately 10 days at an average temperature of 26°C. 94% of the final blend was matured for 9 months in used French oak barrels, with the remaining 6% stored in stainless steel. The final blend was then assembled and the wine underwent fining and filtration prior to bottling.
Ruby red in colour. On the nose this wine combines aromas of raspberry and blackberry with floral notes and subtle notes of pine and forest-floor. On the palate, this wine is smooth and elegant and reveals a very well-balanced freshness and a deliciously lingering finish.
WINE MERCHANT TOP 100 WINNER - The Wine Merchant Top 100 2018.
|Grape Varieties||100% Alfrocheiro
|Winemaker||Beatriz Cabral de Almeida|