|The view from the Abandonado vineyard high above Santa Marta de Panaguião in the northern section of Baixo Corgo|
|Lisa in front of the original structure at Quinta de Gaivosa|
|Looking North to the summit of the Alves de Sousa property from Abandonado|
|These beautiful bunches are destined for a bottle of 2013 Abandonado|
|A beautiful old vine in the Abandonado vineyard of Alves de Sousa (early September 2013)|
|German style vertical planting of vines at the peak of the Alves de Sousa property|
|"the best cross-sections of a typical Douro soil composition I had seen" - yup, that is solid rock|
|Vinha de Lordelo Tinto amphitheater shaped vineyard, 100+ year old vines|
Below are the tasting notes of the extensive tasting we had of these good to exceptional wines.
|The sweet spot of the Alves de Sousa dry table wine portfolio|
This white initially goes trough a 48 hours cold soak on the grape skins. The skins are then pressed and the wine is pumped over in tank for a few hours. After initial fermentation the wine then goes for 1 year in 100% new French oak. The color is a golden honey as it is meant to be similar to an “orange” wine. Mature aromas mix with juicy golden fruits, and some wood that is well integrated at this point being 8 years old. Nicely balanced with good acidity this clocks in at only 12.5% abv and is made in minuscule amounts (1,500 bottles). The wine is purposefully held back 6-7 years for release from the vintage year so the wine can integrate properly and be drank at the proper time the winemaker intended.
2010 Vale da Raposa Sousao
Sousa is a red fleshed grape and this wine has an extra dark color without tasting or feeling like it is over-extracted. The red flesh permits darker color with less skin soak and this is helpful for tannin extraction of the grape skin as this wine does tend to be a fairly tannic wine. Countering the tannins is also a solid core of acidity, which reminded me of some wines from Italy, such as the Etna wines from the volcanic Italian island of Sicily. Darker sure, but similar fresh acidity and firm tannins. Rustic and fleshy indeed, the nose and palate showed tobacco, tar, violets, and flowers. The tannins are rugged, but ripe; the acidity is amazing as it lends ample freshness. Another wine of small production at 2,000 bottles.
2008 Quinta da Gaivosa
From 80 year old vines and 20 different grape varietals the namesake wine of the Quinta reveals black cherry, pain grille, and a touch of roasted herbs with a beautifully elegant and wide beam of bright and fresh fruit. Great complexity and depth, solid freshness and length, fine to medium tannins, this is a beautiful and elegant wine that will age 15-30 years. It spends 15 months in oak barrels, 50% new/50% old French.
2009 Vinha de Lordelo Tinto
From 100 year old vines and 30 different grape varietals this vineyard sits in a natural amphitheater. Limited in production, these vines average 1 bunch of grapes per vine. The nose and palate show black plum, juicy black cherry, and chocolate. Fleshy and dense on the palate, this wine carries the most concentration of the 4 major De Sousa table red wines. Very polished and sexy, the tannins are ripe and provide a nice backbone of structure.
From 100 year old vines and an unknown amount of mixed grape varietals, this is also a small production wine of only 3,000 bottles. Meaty with eucalyptus, tar, and floral notes, the Abandonado has a crazy complex nose and palate. Great freshness, ripe red, blue and black fruits mesh well with medium+ tannins. This spends 18 months in mostly new French oak barrels and s small amount of Portuguese oak.
10 Year White Port (Tawny like)
Made from multiple vintages similar to how a Tawny Port is made, this was one of the better white Ports we had the entire trip, but overall I am still not convinced of the viability of White Port as a stand a lone beverage.
20 Year Tawny Port
Fantastic, the best 20 year Tawny I had encountered the entire trip, but it was not yet ready for sale as it was not yet approved by the powers that approve new Port wines and regulate the Port wine industry as a whole. Candied orange peel, caramel, crème brulee with a sharp cut of acid this is great stuff. Like many of the newer producers, they bottle this in the hand grenade like bottles that are short and stout.