Casa Ferreirinha

Douro, Portugal

This historic producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, Casa Ferreirinha, the first producer in the region dedicated to making light wines, pays homage to her memory. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. The winemaking is headed up by Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro's natural exuberance to produce wines that have a freshness, like 'Esteva' and 'Papa Figos', allied to a wonderful depth and texture, as with 'Vinha Grande' Tinto and 'Quinta da Leda'.

The care with which Luís selects the fruit for each wine is especially evident in the quality of the white wines. Most whites from the Douro display the hallmarks of heat, yet the 'Planalto', from higher vineyards, is deliciously fresh and vibrant. A blend of Viosinho, Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Códega, Arinto, Rabigato and Moscatel, each variety is fermented separately in stainless-steel tanks and blended prior to bottling. The 'Vinha Grande' white is a single-estate wine from the Quinta do Sairrão, located at 500 metres above sea level in the Cima Corgo region. A blend of Viosinho, Arinto, Rabigato and Códega aged for eight months in a combination of French oak barrels and stainless-steel tanks, it is a fresh and textured wine. New to the list this year is the 'Vinha Grande' Rosé, also sourced from the high-altitude Quinta do Sairrão. This wine, made from 100% Touriga Nacional, boasts bright aromas of red berries, coupled with floral notes and a crisp acidity.

The reds - made primarily from indigenous grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tinta Amarela and Tinta Barroca - are among the most exciting in the Douro. They range from the unoaked 'Esteva', which is fresh and lifted, with a step up to the lightly oaked and more textured 'Papa Figos', through to the elegant and complex 'Vinha Grande', and the intensely concentrated 'Quinta da Leda'.

Single-varietal wines in the Douro are atypical and the 'Tinta Francisca' is decidedly unique, as only 40 hectares of this variety are grown in the whole of Portugal. The wine is aged in a mixture of 225 litre used and new French oak barrels for 24 months and has structured tannins, a lively acidity, spicy notes of black pepper and a long finish.

Two of Portugal's most fabled wines sit on the apogee of this property's production: 'Reserva Especial' and 'Barca Velha'. Luís Sottomayor is scrupulous in his production of these wines, and only makes 'Barca Velha' in indisputably outstanding vintages. We have very limited quantities available, so please speak to your sales person regarding availability.

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