Since 1980, Alvaro Castro has been the winemaker for his family’s properties at Quinta da Pellada and Quinta de Saes. In that time, he has established himself as the region’s pre-eminent winemaking mind, crafting elegant wines of place that showcase the explosive aromatics and cool-climate freshness that are intrinsic to this special terroir. He is a fierce traditionalist, and the “old-school” nature of his wines showcase the brilliance that comes from an honest expression of place and time without intervention or mitigation. His wines embody the idea that “wine is made in the vineyard,” and he is unapologetically critical of winemakers who mess with their raw product too much. He speaks most passionately about making wines that “reflect the soil.” He doesn’t put much stock in winemaking as an exact science – the wine is what it is, and it’s made that way because that’s what the land and the fruit are telling him to do. The results are undeniable – these wines are unmistakably Dão, and represent the apotheosis of this beautiful appellation.
Rui Abecassis, founder of Obrigado: “Alvaro Castro inherited Quinta da Pellada, his family estate, in 1980, replanted, and released his first vintage in 1989. Since then, oblivious to trends and fads, he has been making wines that please him and are true to his memories of old guard 1970/80’s Dão wines. Quinta da Pellada is arguably the best producer in the Dão. History shows that vines have been grown at Quinta da Pellada since at least the XVI century, when in 1527 the crown’s treasury taxed the property ‘80 barrels to the king.’ Although impossible to verify now what the king thought, let alone if the barrels ever got to him, it is clear that the taxes are an irrefutable certification of the wine’s existence!”
What makes Quinta da Pellada unique? Alvaro Castro has the oldest vines, yielding profound concentration paired with ethereal elegance. Castro’s wines have extraordinary value and are marked by an intuitive, ‘less is more’ approach winemaking and sustainable agriculture. He has established himself as the region’s pre-eminent winemaking mind, crafting elegant wines of place that showcase the explosive aromatics and cool-climate freshness that are intrinsic to this special terroir.
Producing some of the country’s most dignified and mineral-driven red wines, Dão is positioned in north central Portugal where granite mountains surround and shelter the region from any Atlantic maritime influence. Summers are long and warm; winters see abundant rainfall.
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.
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