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Foz De Arouce Vinhas Velhas de Santa Maria Baga 2013

  • WE93
  • RP90
  • W&S90
750ML / 14% ABV
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750ML / 14% ABV

Winemaker Notes

A wine that gets better with age, Vinhas Velhas de Santa Maria is deep red in color and has aromas of jam, prunes and cherries. Complex and full bodied, this wine has subtle notes of chocolate with an acidity typical of this variety over a long and persistent finish.

A good accompaniment to hunting birds (such as pheasant, quail or partridge), red meat (game or deer), grilled or roasted meat and aged, hard cheeses.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
This old vine wine is a grand expression of the Baga grape. It has dark color and rich tannins that will allow its bold berry fruit to age well. A serious, stylish wine, it's worth aging and drinking from 2019.
RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Vinhas Velhas de Santa Maria (Quinta de Foz de Arouce) is all Baga, aged for 12 months in new French barriques. It comes in at 14% alcohol. Sourced from 100+-year-old-vines, this should be released in the USA by the time this article appears. It is already in the market in Europe. Moderate in concentration, but rather powerful, this has an oaked-Barbera feel to it just now, with a bit of tartness on the finish, along with those tannins. Silky and elegant in the mid-palate, this is otherwise impressive, but it is a little hard to take just now. There's even, perhaps, a touch of Amarone flavors up front after it airs out. Its virtues are many, though--the tension on the finish is impressive and the structure should give this a good chance to improve notably. You will have to be patient, though. It's not a wine you buy to drink tonight or next year. It would be far better in the early 2020s. Let's be a bit conservative just now. I'm not fully convinced the fruit will keep up with the structure.

Rating: 90+

W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
João Portugal Ramos makes this wine from a block of old-vine Baga at his father-in-law’s estate near Coimbra. This is a tannic vintage, bigger than many Bairradas, its purple-black fruit hidden behind the oak tannins and Indian spice notes. Those tannins grow gentler with air, taking on a dark chocolate truffle character.
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Foz De Arouce

Foz De Arouce

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Foz De Arouce, Portugal
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Foz de Arouce has a long history of winemaking that can be linked to the legend of the Arab King Arunce, who built a castle in the region to protect his daughter, his treasures, and, of course, his wine. Today, the fourth Count of Arouce, João Filipe Osorio, lives nearby in his 16th century family home, overseeing one of the most consistently top-rated estates in Portugal – Foz de Arouce. The estate has a rich history: A Roman road runs through the vineyard, and it was the site of the 1811 Napoleonic Battle of Foz de Arouce. In 1939, a tornado destroyed the pine forest that had covered the land and the family took this opportunity to repopulate the area with vines. Some of the original 70-year-old vines still produce fruit today. The estate is the definition of unique terroir – not another vineyard is to be found in a 50-mile radius.

Conde de Foz de Arouce is located in the Lousã Municipality, near the city of Coimbra, in the region of Beira atlantico. The estate comprises 150 acres of vineyard on schist and quartz soils. The vines are planted on a steep mountain that faces the sun and is bathed in fog each morning, a crucial component to preserving freshness in the wine. Surrounded by windmill-topped mountains, the vineyard is protected from the strong Tejo winds. The vineyard is planted primarily with Baga, though many other traditional Portuguese varieties are included. Wine production is limited to around 10,000 bottles of red and 1,500 bottles of white each year. A focus on terroir is emphasized, producing some truly unique wines, as Foz de Arouce is the only vineyard in a 50-mile radius. Top Portuguese oenologist João Portugal Ramos has married into the family and helped lift Foz de Arouce’s wines to Portugal’s uppermost echelon.

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Best known for intense, impressive and age-worthy fortified wines, Portugal relies almost exclusively on its many indigenous grape varieties. Bordering Spain to its north and east, and the Atlantic Ocean on its west and south coasts, this is a land where tradition reigns supreme, due to its relative geographical and, for much of the 20th century, political isolation. A long and narrow but small country, Portugal claims considerable diversity in climate and wine styles, with milder weather in the north and significantly more rainfall near the coast.

While Port (named after its city of Oporto on the Atlantic Coast at the end of the Douro Valley), made Portugal famous, Portugal is also an excellent source of dry red and white wines of various styles.

The Duoro Valley produces full-bodied and concentrated dry red wines made from the same set of grape varieties used for Port, which include Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Spain’s Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão, among a long list of others in minor proportions.

Other dry wines include the tart, slightly effervescent Vinho Verde white wine, made in the north, and the bright, elegant reds and whites of the Dão as well as the bold, and fruit-driven reds and whites of the southern, Alentejo.

The nation’s other important fortified wine, Madeira, is produced on the eponymous island off the North African coast.

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Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.

WBO30146014_2013 Item# 214325

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