Quinta de Chocapalha Red 2015
Deep violet in color, this wine offers rich aromas of mature black fruit and spices with a floral element. On the palate, it is very fine and elegant with soft tannins combined with good acidity and a long finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2015 Tinto is a blend of 40% Touriga Nacional, 25% Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz and 10% each of Castelão and Alicante Bouschet aged for 18 months in used French oak. It comes in at 13.5% alcohol. When last seen, this had just been bottled. Now, with a year in bottle, this shows surprising solidity in the mid-palate. That's not going to be its defining feature, though. Here, even though they are only 20% combined, the Castelão and Alicante Bouschet mark this wine strongly, showing off strong flavors and giving this a lot of personality and complexity. This is refined, but substantial. It is a fine and overachieving value in a perfectly balanced red. It should age well—the winemakers think I'm actually underestimating the end-date drinking window. We'll see. There's no rush, but there's no harm drinking it now, either.
Originally acquired in the 1980’s, the 110 acres of nearly abandoned vineyards discovered on the estate dated back to the 16th century; the family immediately embarked on an investment program to replant and regraft the vines with the thriving varietals of the area, both indigenous and international. In 2000, the new plantings had reached optimal maturity when Sandra Tavares, the youngest daughter made her first debut as a winemaker, passionate and eager to produce wine with only the best grapes found on the estate.
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.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.