|Sandra Tavares da Silva, winemaker and vineyard caretaker of Pintas at Wine & Soul|
If you have been reading my other writings on Portugal you already know 2011 is a spectacular vintage. We were lucky to taste the 20011s from Wine & Soul and they are spectacular. We even got a peak at the 2012 Pintas and Manoella VV out of barrel. In my opinion the 2011 Pintas red was the most exciting red wine we had our entire trip. This young wine was tight, but showed good intensity, full of verve and energy. The Pintas Vintage Port was sublime, complex and one of the best VP I have had to date from 2011. It was more wine-like as it seemed more reflective of terroir as there were streaks of earth and minerality that cut against the sweet black and blue fruits that finished off with a mint and herbal tinge - super cool stuff for sure!
|Vale de Mendiz, the vineyards of Manoella part of the Wine & Soul production.|
Sandra and Jorge also own Quinta da Manoella a few kilometers north of the Quinta. A much larger property at 70 hectares, Sandra mentioned she thinks the land making up Manoella was likely separate properties maintained by separate families over a century ago. There are hints to this theory all over the property. Many lagares were found on different sites of the property, leading one to think there were different owners as most owners only build lagares in one place on their property in their main building, not scattered all over the property. Olive trees bisect internal sections of the vineyards which is a traditional way in the Douro to mark your border with a neighboring property. Lastly, there were many different satellite Quinta-like buildings scattered about the entire property that could have passed for a main building in previous centuries. The property has been in Sandra and Jorge’s hands a few years and they are making progress each year, but a lot of work needs to be done to revive the old vines and buildings on the property. You can see the abandoned vineyards next to revived vineyards and see for yourself just how hard the work is to rebuild the schist terraces and then replant them with vines. I can see in 10 years Manoella being a magnificent estate when it’s up and running at full capacity.
|Schict rock, just one of the examples of the type of top soil you see in the Douro vineyards: rocks|
|Pintas vineyard with schist rock scattered amongst the 30+ mixed grape varieties planted here.|
|Sandra discussing the Pintas vineyard, its soil, geology and why there are 30+ mixed grape varietals planted there.|
|Pinhao Valley from the top of the Pintas vineyard, a favorite photo of mine.|
|Pintas vineyard terracing.|
I learned some very important facts about diversity and age from my discussion with Sandra about the Pintas vineyard (and many other Douro vineyards). The grape varieties are 30+ different indigenous Portuguese grape varieties. The reason why they are all different is the farmers that originally planted these vines wanted to be sure they could get fruit in every vintage as some vines in their youth were less resistant to extremes and disease than others so by having many different varieties that have different resistances, the diversity allowed the farmers to harvest fruit at least every year. If you only planted 1 vine that was not resistant to extreme heat, if there were heat waves that vintage the entire crop could be lost and be disastrous for a farmers well being. With proper care and attention, these old vines grew older and even further resistant to weather extremes and disease. They are not invincible, but are much stronger when they are older as they have built up resistances to extreme conditions.
|The sun shining over Manoella and its grand terraces.|
|A mortório , or ghost vineyard, where terracing remains but the vines are long gone and in some cases being readied for replanting.|
|"this is how it is in the Douro" the typical cross section of the schist rock vines are planted in the Douro Valley.|
|Quinta da Manoella in the midst of an upgrade for use as a wine making facility.|
|Sandra schooling us on the old vines at Manoella that range in age from 100 to 120 years old.|
|A Taransaud French oak barrel aging Pintas wine.|
|Steel fermentation tanks|
|Sandra discussing one of the wines, Lisa listening intently, me taking notes on my iPhone.|
|A better view of Wine & Soul's Quinta, with beautiful Pinhao Valley in the background.|
|2012 Guru Branco; 2011 Pintas Character red; 2011 Pintas red (flagship); 2011 Manoella & 2011 Manoella VV|
Black licorice, blackberry, tobacco and spice, fine and ripe tannins, full bodied with an ample finish; Aged for 16 months in used barrels; a blend of 60% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz and 5% Tinta Fracisca; fruit hails from the young vines 35 years in age; 10,000 bottles in annual production.
Super young and tight, the nose and palate reveal blueberry, blackberry, violets, crème d’cassis, and some subtle spice, a firm and profound structure with a round palate texture, acidity gives this good freshness and focus, great length on the long finish. If you love Bordeaux or great Rioja this needs to be in your collection immediately. This is the flagship wine made from the best grapes of the 70-80 year old vines of the Pintas vineyard. Pintas is approximately 5,000 bottles of annual production. 40% new French oak for 20 months, 60% in neutral oak for 20 months. This easily has 20+ years of aging potential.
A purple-red robe this is fairly developed for 11 months of age. Black and purple notes dominate with a nice perfume of purple flowers and red and black fruits. The tannic structure at this time hints at having sweeter and finer tannins than the 2011 that has the structure of a skyscraper. It finishes pure and long, with good fruit, acids and tannin.
A field blend of more than 20 indigenous grape varieties, the Manoella VV shows good terroir as this has an elegance and transparency facet coupled with good depth and concentration; 50% new oak for 20 months is well integrated as this wine soaks it up well; red and black fruits, leather, earth, spice and minerality. There is approximately 3,000 bottles in annual production and this wine hails from the first old vineyard we saw at Manoella.
Roasted herbal notes, minty even with black kirsch and anise spice, a very complex and layered vintage port (VP), Black and dark red fruits add to the spice and fan out over the palate with a striking texture that is more wine-like than Port. A long, silky, fruit and herb infused finish echoes for minutes on the palate. One of the best and most unique VPs for 2011 that I have tasted to date.
A well balanced and texturally smooth 10 year tawny showing orange peel, creme caramel, spice and creme brulee; Medium bodied, this finishes really smooth and balanced for a 10 year tawny, I would guess at least a 20 year tawny blind.