The Adega Regional Story.
I’m looking for ten like-minded, curious wine drinkers
The other day I had a request which has started a fascinating journey of discovery. I have never tried these before but I can’t wait. The text is a cut and paste from their agents website.
I’ll be placing the order early next week, the minimum order is 120 bottles so lets hope there are 10 likeminded curious drinkers, wanting to pick up dozen bottles like no other.
Perhaps Colares is not at the ‘cutting edge’ of all that is currently great about the Portuguese wine scene in 2020, but it is fabulous to have some of these museum-piece wines which show such an important part of Portugal’s wine-making history and heritage. Ramisco for the reds and Malvasia de Colares for the whites. The vineyard area is close to Lisbon – half an hour west of the airport – overlook the magnificent Atlantic and its awe-insiring surfers’ breakers. Climate here is cool, and the Atlantic winds often bring humidity and mist. So ripening is slow and late, often well into October, and there are the obvious disease pressures that a late harvest on the coast brings with it. The Ramisco is notoriously small and thick-skinned, well-suited therefore to resist rot. But there is something else quite unique here. The vines are planted at about 50 metres above seal level, on a sandy plateau just back from the ocean. So in a way they are on the beach. And it is the sandy soil which makes these wines so unique. No phylloxera, no need for grafting, andf therefore no restiction on root penetration. So vines are propagated by layering and grow low, sprawling over tyhe beach like triffids. This, along with wind breaks and apple trees, also helps protect them from the salty winds. And it was this immunity from phylloxera , of course, which gave Colares its fame in the devastation of every other wine region in Portugal at the end of the 19th C.
Nowadays the adega does look like a bit of a time warp, and the offices look like something out of the 1920s. but all is not backward-looking. It is run now by oenologist, Francisco Figueredo, who has done more than anyone in the last few years to keep (or put back) Colares on the map. And now, after years of decline, there are new plantings, and the total area of the DOC is now increasing again up from its dangerously low level of 10 hectares a few years ago. While Francisco is in charge, there is no danger that these wines will disappear.
The Adega Regional occupies an enormous cathedral of a building – evidence of its glory days in the late 19thCentury when Colares was the only flourishing wine region of Portugal, while everywhere else – not just in Portugal – was struggling with the effects of Phylloxera. Times have certainly changed, and there is a charming old-fashioned air about the placemelancholy air of a place that knows it has seen more prosperous times. And yet these are classic wines, with authenticity, character and a hugely important history.
We are very excited to have the opportunity to offer these remarkable historic wines – and I am more than happy to mix and match cases.
The Malvasia is aged for 8 to 10 months in large old exotic wood (Mogno, Kambala). The wine has a waxy nose, with spices and herbal scent. The palate is dry and intense with a rich fleshy texture and long dry finish and just a touch of oxidation.
|2015, Arenae Malvasia de Colares Branco (50cl) £183 per six
|2012, Arenae Malvasia de Colares Branco (50cl) £159 per six
The Ramisco (dark blue skinned) is aged for 3 years in exotic wood and 1 year in 2 year old French barrique. Dark fruit flavours, tobacco and herbal notes. Structured with high acid levels the wine shows balance, delicacy and persistence. These wines are unique and come from a unique wine region. They are old-fashioned in the best sense of the word. Ramisco has a reputation for being a wine that ages gracefully and we have some old vintages (in very limited quantities) to prove it.
|2009, Arenae Ramisco Tinto (50cl) £191 per six
|2001, Arenae Ramisco Tinto (50cl) £212 per six