Quinta dos Carvalhais

Dão, dao Portugal

Quinta dos Carvalhais is located in the Terras de Senhorim sub-region, in the heart of the Dão. The 105-hectare estate, with 50 hectares under vine, was purchased by the Guedes family in 1988. They invested a huge amount into improvements in both the vineyards and the winery – and are credited with spearheading the quality renaissance of wines from the Dão in the early ‘90s. Following decades of state control and a co-operative monopoly in the region that favoured quantity over quality, they replanted the region’s indigenous grape varieties, such as Touriga Nacional and Encruzado, and saved them from near extinction.

Precision viticulture is carried out on the estate, with each vineyard plot matched to a specific grape variety. There is a predominance of indigenous varieties, including Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Encruzado and Gouveio, and the vineyards are situated at an altitude of 465 to 500 metres above sea level. Warm days followed by cool nights here result in wines with lovely depth yet vibrant fruit, while the granite soils also lend elegance to the wines. Beatriz Cabral de Almeida is at the winemaking helm and makes an impressive range of wines from the estate vineyards. The modern, gravity-flow winery is adapted to facilitate vinification of the individual vineyard plots, with numerous small stainless-steel fermentation tanks.

Even the single-varietal wines are complex blends of different plots on the estate, vinified separately before blending. The Encruzado, aged for eight months in French oak barrels of varying sizes, marries the vibrancy of this variety with delicious toasty notes from the oak. The Touriga Nacional showcases the signature black fruit and violet characters of this prized indigenous variety alongside a well-integrated spiciness from 12 months in French oak.

The Branco Reserva is a blend of Encruzado and Gouveio aged for 16 months in used French oak. It balances the citrus-fruit freshness of both varieties with a savoury complexity from the time in barrel. The Tinto Reserva is a blend of Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro and Tinta Roriz aged for 12 months in a combination of new and used French oak. It is a rich and sumptuous wine with pronounced black fruit aromas, polished tannins and a lingering finish.

The Branco Especial is a unique blend of oak-aged whites from seven different vintages. It is hugely complex, combining notes of dried fruits and nuts with a honeyed complexity, all bound together by a linear acidity.

The ‘Único’ is a Touriga-Nacional-dominant blend, only produced in exceptional vintages from the best plots on the estate. Aged in new French oak for 18 months, this wine treads the fine line between power and elegance. Hugely intense and complex, the palate is layered with blackberry, black cherry and violet notes, with nuances of spice and a wonderful freshness.

 

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Wines

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