terça-feira, 31 de julho de 2018

Niepoort Open Door 4th edition

Niepoortland .4

    In the gardens of Niepoort wine cellars, on rua Cândido dos Reis, no. 598, in Gaia, as usual for the last four years, the beginning of the "slow season", on a pleasant summer afternoon with a wide variety of quality wines of the usual suspects (I would venture to comment that I felt too many visitors this edition).

    A glimpse of the event with images from our archive:

    © HSM

 Niepoort open door 2017, 3rd-edition                                   Niepoortland! 2016

quinta-feira, 19 de julho de 2018

Calém or A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.


Short facts about the city of wine (2)
The building facing Cais da Estiva and the river Douro and Rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, Porto

    Calém, "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.", also known as Calém house, was a Port wine producing and exporting firm, founded in 1859, by António Alves Calém. In 1912 its offices were located on rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, in Porto (photos above) and with its Port wine warehouses on the opposite bank of the river Douro, in Vila Nova de Gaia, on avenida Diogo Leite, nos. 24 to 42 (photo below).
    In 1918, the "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda." company was acquired by the Sogevinus group - Sogevinus Fine Wines, S. A. - and the Calém brand integrates today the Sogevinus wine portfolio brands alongside with Barros, Burmester and Kopke.
     Currently, the n.º 7 of rua da Reboleira, in Porto, is the "Quinta do Sagrado" company offices, Port and DOC Douro wine producers, which is also owned by the Calém family, which through this firm maintains its historical link to the Douro and wine producing and marketing.

Calém Port wine warehouses on avenida Diogo Leite, Vila Nova de Gaia

Calém ou A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.
Factos breves sobre a cidade do vinho (2)

    Calém, "A. A. Calém & Filhos, Lda.", também conhecida como Casa Calém, era uma firma produtora e exportadora de vinho do Porto fundada em 1859 por António Alves Calém. Em 1912, os seus escritórios estavam localizados na rua da Reboleira, n.º 7, no Porto e com os seus armazéns na margem oposta no rio Douro, em Vila Nova de Gaia, na avenida Diogo Leite, nos. 24 a 42.
    Em 1998, a firma "A. A. António Calém & Filhos, Lda." foi adquirida pelo grupo "Sogevinus" - Sogevinus Fine Wines, S. A. - e a marca integra o universo de marcas de vinhos deste grupo com a Barros, Burmester e Kopke.
    Actualmente, no n.º 7 da rua da Reboleira, no Porto, funcionam os escritórios da empresa "Quinta do Sagrado", produtor de vinho do Porto e DOC Douro, que mantém assim a sua histórica ligação à produção e comercialização de vinhos.


May also interest:

Blackett & Ca., Lda.                                                The Shadows of the Gaia Entreposto                                    
Short facts about the city of wine (1)  



segunda-feira, 25 de junho de 2018

Noble & Murat, how a classic vintage Port is born

or the vintage Port composition

Quinta do Bragão, Celeirós do Douro: Noble & Murat winery

    The most recent Port wine producer, but only apparently or formally. There is an experience, knowledge and an intimate connection of many years to viticulture, Port wine production and the Douro region which are decisive for this project and for the quality of the wines produced here, as we have already noticed in a previous publication (
Noble & Murat, an historical Port wine brand reborn).

    There is a strong and evident commitment to superior quality Port wine special categories production, natural wines, authentic, without artifice and with a strong identity and character, serious Port wines whose consistency the future will surely ensure.

    The heart of Noble & Murat's Port wines

    The Noble & Murat winery is located in "Quinta do Bragão", at the border of Celeirós do Douro, in the middle of the Pinhão river valley and on its right bank (from here we can see Quinta do Fojo, Quinta do Passadouro, Quinta da Manoella, Quinta do Silval and further on Quinta do Noval). A winery with the typical ambience and a rare charm which is an expression of the Douro traditional wineries.

    It is here, in this river valley that Alexandre Antas Botelho and António Borges Taveira families, the Noble & Murat partners, have their roots and a centuries long tradition of wine production, trading and export, since the sixteenth century. We can say with propriety that the Douro is in the soul of this house and is reflected in the Port wines it produces. A project closely linked to the Douro's viticulture roots.

    It is important to remenber that, in the Douro, wine production is carried out mainly in two ways, on the one hand, the "quintas", and on the other hand the isolated vineyards. Let us consider that, with the exception of large wine producers, owners of several "quintas" in the Douro, the wine production on the basis of a single "quinta", has to work with the vines and grapes of that specific property with its own characteristics, with a smaller and a more limited range of choice and less diversity than those producers, as is the case of Noble & Murat, which have at their disposal several vineyards, with different locations, with greater diversity and peculiarities, old vines and vineyards of different ages and grape varieties, located at different altitudes, climatic conditions and solar exposures. All theses factors allow the producer more possibilities and variety of choice and will confer greater richness, complexity and longevity to the final result, as we will see throughout this text.

    Noble & Murat produces Port wine from 6 vineyards, 3 of which are owned by the firm's partners, with privileged and diversified locations in the Pinhão valley and in the Tedo valley (Cima Corgo Douro sub-region), with intense field work of constant monitoring and control.

    The process of wine production and vinification is traditional and entirely manual, understood and assumed as the method that most respects grapes and terroir.
    After careful selection, the grapes are vinified separately, through a traditional winemaking process, with some peculiarities worth noting in order to better understand, not only the wines, but the producer's philosophy.

    As we said, the product of the vineyards is vinified separately, and exclusively foot trodden in small "lagares" (granite or stone treading tanks) made of schist and granite slates, with a high ratio man per wine cask in the "lagar", which ends up having a huge influence on the wines. To understand the rarity and the meaning of this process, in a "lagar" with an approximate dimension of 5 x 5m the grapes are trodden by about 24 to 26 men, and in the smaller "lagares", with adimension of 2,5 x 3m by about 15 men. More than a working team, a wine family that every year does this work together.

    The grapes are vinified with the grape bunch stems, which involves more work, but it's also a decisive method for the final wine quality and character. The fermentation with the stems allows the absorption of heat and contributes to temperature control during fermentation, helping the aeration of native yeasts and conferring the so-called "green tannin", the grape stems acidity will give tannin and aroma and its decisive for the wine longevity. There is also a lot of hard manual work at this stage, for example, when the "blanket" rises (the solid layer that forms in the "lagar" consisting of grape skins, seeds and stems) it is worked manually with the traditional "macacos"(1) throughout the fermentation.

    One of the many important wine making process details is the pressing quality using an old press (a "FAS" press lined with stainless steel that extracts the last drop of wine from the solid matter coming from the "lagares"). The producers believe that a good press will contribute to the necessary extraction and body, which is to say, will bring color and tannin to the wine. A full "lagar" will be equivalent to about a press and a quarter. This "press wine" then integrates the wine that comes out from the "lagares".

    Another of the peculiarities that is also one of the house secrets is the wine fortification procedure, to achieve a greater integration and homogenization of the grape spirit added, for a better aroma, flavour and structure preservation.

    After the separate vinification of each of the vineyards, the resulting wine is kept individualized in "tonéis" (large wood vats) to follow and evaluate its evolution, quality and its potential for vintage Port.

    The vineyards, the grape selection and the winemaking process is exactly the same for the Late Bottled Vintage Port wines and Vintage Ports. The LBV is traditional, unfiltered, more structured and full-bodied, and literally a vintage bottled later. When the wine is removed from the "lagar" a selection is made and the wine destination is determined at this moment. In those years in which vintage port is not produced, almost all wine is destined for the Noble & Murat LBV Port.
    Some of the wine produced in each year is also reserved for longer wood ageing, for a future Tawny colheita port (tonel 11) and also some is saved for an aged Tawny port.

A classic Vintage Port composition
Understanding the Vintage Port assemblage elements 

    Vintage Port wine is a rare wine of exceptional quality, produced in very small quantities, with the very best grapes from a single harvest in a year with perfect conditions and which is the supreme expression of Port wine. It is also a blended wine, but not like Aged Tawny ports in the sense of blending different aged in wood wines from several harvests, but in the sense of a blending of the very best grapes from selected vineyards and from the same vintage, according to the desired wine profile.

    At Noble & Murat, there are 6 wines, resulting from a grape selection from 6 vineyards, being the expression of 6 terroirs, each with its own distinct and very specific characteristcs, different profiles that are the result of tasting and evaluating these 6 elements.
    We had the opportunity and gratifying experience to taste and get to know each of these wines, undoubtedly a tasting essencial to understand vintage Port wine. Our thanks to Alexandre Antas Botelho and Noble & Murat for a tasting usually only accessible to those involved in the house wine production.

    Let us now consider the elements that make up the composition of the lateste classic Vintage port, the Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016.
    The wines are kept in "tonéis" and cubas (large stainless steel vats) for about 2 years.

    The 1st element from cuba 8 (these stainless steel vats have a capacity of 5000 liters)
    From a very old vineyard in the Tedo valley. A wine in which the primary fruit aromas dominate, with evident intense and fresh fruit, an earthy and very mature wine.

    The 2nd element from tonel 7 (these large chestnut wood casks have variable capacities, between 5500 and 7000 liters)
    Originating in another Tedo valley old vineyard, its a wine notoriously more acidic and tanic, still not very expressive, with the red fruit standing out.

    The 3rd element, from tonel 8
    From a vineyard in Covas do Douro. It is the "scent" wine sample, very aromatic and exuberant, but at the same time with less structure and less length when compared to the previous wines. We could say that this sample lacks all the characteristics of the previous wines. 

    The 4th element, from tonel 9
    From a Tedo valley old vineyard. Clearly a more complex wine, as main notes we can point that its a half dry wine, initially seems sweet but later is cut by a clear dryness, a much more balanced wine. Here one notices the concept of a superior quality vineyard. If there was only the grapes from one "quinta" available, this would be the single quinta vintage Port, a wine that stands out by itself.

    The 5th element, from tonel 10
    From a vineyard located in Vale de Mendiz. It is a very complete base wine, full and with a lot of color, exuberant, earthy and with good acidity, it also has a lot of aroma, a chewy wine, impressive and rough, stands out for the tannin length.

    The 6th element, from cuba 11
    From another vineyard located in Vale de Mendiz and also from a Tedo valley vineyard that has the peculiarity of being a unique vine of touriga nacional grape variety, originating in a unique vine clone(2) of this variety (an exception to the Douro predominance of the touriga nacional grape vine clone from "Quinta do Ataíde"). It is a very floral and lush wine, fine and with litle acidity.

    The final result would be the Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016, already approved by the IVDP last May, shortly after our visit, in a classic vintage Port year. This vintage is mainly characterized by its exuberant nose and floral aromas, also for its red and black fruit character, with an excellent structure, good acidity and a dry finish. A more elegant and aromatic vintage port when compared to the 2015 vintage port edition, which is more austere and structured.
    Of the 2016 Vintage Port will be bottled 3000 botles, and the remaining wine will be bottled as the house LBV Port 2016.

    From the Noble & Murat wine collection we also tasted some original and very interesting wines worthy noting:

    The "Tonel 11"; an essay still under study to evaluate the long wood maturing period and to determine the future of this wine, probably an old Tawny Port. It is composed of a great variety of wines (9), a blend made up of vintages from 2012 to 2014, in which besides the fruit, the wood presence, elegant and complex, with cherry and crystallized fruit aromas and flavors.

    And a courtesy of Alexandre Antas Botelho, a special, original and very rare Port wine, made with grapes from a very old, pre-phylloxeric ungrafted vines, that no longer exists, it was a vineyard that grew in goblet (a shrub vine), with about 60% red grape and 40% white grape varieties. It has the particularity of being a new wine made from a very old vineyard. To taste this Port wine is really an historical and unrepeatable moment. It is an original and an extraordinary wine, with a slightly open color, chemical, with a clear red fruit nose, very fine and elegant, with acidity and dryness present.

    In the current Noble & Murat portfolio:

  • Noble & Murat LBV Porto 2012;
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2015 (6,600 bottled);
  • Noble & Murat LBV Porto 2013 (available at the end of 2018)
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016 (soon available)
  • Noble & Murat 20 year Tawny Port (available at the end of July 2018)

    Noble & Murat
    Alexandre Antas Botelho and António Borges Taveira
    mob: +351 96 327 42 50
    email: noble.murat@gmail.com

    (1) Macaco: a wooden utensil, about 1,5m long, which in the lower part as attached wood cross tips. It is used by the "lagareiros" (the men who work in the "lagar") during fermentation, punching the blanket and forcing the solid matter to descend to the bottom of the "lagar". It is intended that the grape must begins to ferment with the red grape skins, seeds and stems, in order to remove the maximum coloring matter and tannins. ("Illustrated Port Wine Dictionary", by Manuel Poças Pintão and Carlos Cabral).

    (2) (vine)Clone: it is obtained by the vegetative multiplication of a single plant, to reproduce in other vines obtained from this, the same characteristics. The vines are very adaptable, they react according to environmental conditions with different behaviors (resistance to diseases, grape ripening, more or less compact bunches and even slightly aroma and flavor differences), which has as a consequence many varieties of the same grape variery, which does not originate a new one, but a subdivision of the grape variery, Clones are used to replicate specific characteristics of a grape variety.


May also interest:

Classic vintage port vs. non classic vintage port     An historical port wine brand reborn 


sexta-feira, 22 de junho de 2018

Noble & Murat, como nasce um vintage clássico

ou a composição de um Porto vintage
Quinta do Bragão, Celeirós do Douro: a adega da Noble & Murat.
    O mais recente produtor de vinho do Porto, mas apenas aparentemente ou formalmente. Existe uma experiência, um conhecimento e uma ligação de muitos anos à viticultura, à produção de vinhos e ao Douro que são determinantes para a qualidade dos vinhos produzidos, como já demos conta em publicação anterior (Noble & Murat, an historical Port wine brand reborn).  

    Há um compromisso assumido e evidente com a produção de vinhos do Porto de categorias especiais de qualidade superior, vinhos naturais, autênticos, sem artifícios, com identidade e carácter, vinhos do Porto sérios, cuja consistência o futuro certamente assegurará. 

O coração dos vinhos do Porto da Noble & Murat

    A adega da Noble & Murat localiza-se na Quinta do Bragão, no limite de Celeirós do Douro, em pleno vale do Pinhão, na margem direita do rio (daqui avista-se a Quinta do Fojo, a Quinta do Passadouro, a Quinta da Manoella, a Quinta do Silval e mais ao longe a Quinta do Noval). Uma adega com um ambiente típico e o raro charme que é uma das expressões das adegas tradicionais do Douro.

    É aqui, no vale deste rio, que as famílias de Alexandre Antas Botelho e António Borges Taveira, os sócios da Noble & Murat, têm as suas raízes e uma longa tradição de séculos, desde o século XVI, de produção, comercialização e exportação de vinho. Podemos dizer com propriedade, que o Douro está na alma desta casa e se reflecte nos vinhos do Porto que produz. Um projecto intimamente ligado às raízes vitivinícolas do Douro.

    É importante ter presente que, no Douro, a produção vitícola é realizada, fundamentalmente, através de duas formas, por um lado as quintas e por outro as vinhas ou parcelas de vinha isoladas. Consideremos que, com excepção dos grandes produtores, proprietários de várias quintas no Douro, quem explora uma quinta conta com as vinhas e uvas dessa produção, com características próprias mas, apesar de tudo, com uma menor margem de escolha em diversidade do que aqueles produtores que têm à sua disposição vinhas com diferentes localizações, com particularidades distintas, com vinhas velhas e outras vinhas com diferentes idades e variedades de castas, localizadas a altitudes, em condições climáticas e com exposições solares diversas. Todos estes factores, antes de mais, permitem ao produtor maiores possibilidades e variedade de escolha e vão conferir uma maior riqueza, complexidade e longevidade aos vinhos, como perceberemos ao longo deste texto.

    A Noble & Murat produz vinho do Porto com base em 6 vinhas, 3 das quais são propriedade dos sócios da firma, com localizações privilegiadas e diversas no vale do Pinhão e no vale do Tedo (sub-região do Cima Corgo), com um intenso trabalho de campo para acompanhamento e controlo constante.

    O processo de vinificação e produção é tradicional e inteiramente manual, entendido e assumido como o método que mais respeita as uvas e o terroir.

    Após a escolha e selecção, as uvas são vinificadas separadamente, num processo de vinificação "à antiga", com algumas particularidades importantes e dignas de destaque, para compreendermos não só os vinhos, mas também a filosofia deste produtor.

    Como dissemos, o produto das vinhas é vinificado em separado, com o recurso exclusivo à pisa a pé, em pequenos lagares com lajes de xisto e granito, com um elevado rácio homem por pipa no lagar, o que acaba por ter uma enorme influência no vinho. Para percebermos melhor a raridade e sentido deste processo, num lagar com uma dimensão aproximada de 5 x 5m, as uvas são pisadas por cerca de 24 a 26 pessoas e nos lagares mais pequenos, com uma dimensão aproximada de 2,5 x 3m por cerca de 15 pessoas. Mais do que uma equipa, uma família que todos os anos faz este trabalho em conjunto.

    As uvas são vinificadas com o engaço, o que envolve mais trabalho, mas que é um método decisivo para a qualidade final e carácter destes vinhos. A fermentação com engaço permite a absorção do calor e contribuí para o controlo da temperatura durante a fermentação e ajuda ao arejamento das leveduras nativas, conferindo o chamado "tanino verde", a acidez do engaço vai traduzir-se em tanino e aroma e é um factor fundamental para a longevidade dos vinhos. Há também muito trabalho manual nesta fase, por exemplo, quando a manta sobe é trabalhada manualmente com os tradicionais macacos(1) durante toda a fermentação.

    Mais uma das especificidades do processo de vinificação aqui praticado, está na qualidade da prensagem, com a utilização de uma antiga prensa (uma prensa "FAS" forrada a inox que extraí até à última gota e o engaço sai seco). Os produtores defendem que uma boa prensagem vai conferir a extracção e corpo necessários, que o mesmo é dizer, côr e tanino ao vinho. Um lagar completo será equivalente a cerca de uma prensa e um quarto. Este "vinho de prensa" integra depois o vinho restante saído dos lagares.

    Outra das particularidades e que constituí um dos segredos da casa é o procedimento de fortificação do vinho, com a finalidade de obter uma melhor integração e homogeneização da aguardente vínica com o vinho, para conseguir uma maior preservação dos aromas e da estrutura do vinho do Porto.

    Após a vinificação separada de cada uma das vinhas, o vinho resultante é mantido individualizado em tonéis, para acompanhamento da sua evolução e qualidade e avaliação do potencial para Porto vintage.

    As vinhas, a selecção de uvas e os métodos de vinificação são exactamente os mesmos para os vinhos do Porto Late Bottled Vintage e para os Porto Vintage da casa. Aqui o LBV é de estilo tradicional, não filtrado, mais estruturado e encorpado e é literalmente um vintage engarrafado mais tarde. À saída do lagar é feita uma triagem e o destino do vinho é determinado nesse momento. Naqueles anos em que não é produzido vintage, o vinho é praticamente todo destinado ao LBV da casa.
    Algum do vinho produzido em cada ano é também reservado para um envelhecimento mais prolongado em madeira que dará origem a um Tawny colheita (tonel 11) e também algum é conservado para um Tawny de idade.

composição de um Porto vintage clássico
Compreender os elementos da assemblage de um Porto vintage 

    Em bom rigor, o vinho do Porto vintage, um vinho de qualidade excepcional, produzido em pequeníssimas quantidades, com as melhores uvas de uma só vindima, num ano de condições perfeitas e que é a suprema expressão do vinho do Porto, num determinado sentido é também um vinho de lote, não no sentido de ser constituído por um lote de vários vinhos com diferentes idades de envelhecimento e com origem em várias colheitas, como é o caso dos Porto tawny com indicação de idade, mas sim um lote de uvas seleccionadas de uma mesma vindima ou colheita e de acordo com o perfil que se pretende obter.     
    Na Noble & Murat existem 6 lotes que são o resultado de uma selecção de uvas de 6 vinhas, de 6 terroirs com características distintas e muito específicas e com diferentes perfis e é o resultado da prova e avaliação destes 6 elementos que aqui daremos conta.
    Tivemos a oportunidade e o gratificante privilégio de provar e conhecer estes vinhos, uma experiência estimulante e que torna mais completa a compreensão da essência de um vinho do Porto vintage.
    Os nossos agradecimento a Alexandre Antas Botelho e à Noble & Murat pela abertura a uma prova normalmente apenas acessível a quem está envolvido na produção do vinho da casa.

    Passemos então a considerar os elementos que integram a composição do mais recente vintage clássico, o Noble & Murat vintage Port 2016.
    Os vinhos são mantidos em cubas e tonéis durante cerca de 2 anos.

     O 1.º elemento da cuba 8 (as cubas com uma capacidade de 5000l)
   Proveniente de uma vinha muito velha no vale do Tedo. Um vinho em que dominam os aromas primários, com fruta fresca, intensa e evidente, terroso e com muita madurez.

    O 2.º elemento, do tonel 7 (os tonéis são de castanho, com capacidades variáveis, entre os 5500l e os 7000l)
   Com origem noutra vinha velha do vale do Tedo. Um vinho notoriamente mais ácido e taninoso, com um nariz ainda fechado, onde sobressaí a fruta vermelha.

    O 3.º elemento, do tonel 8 
    Com origem numa vinha de Covas do Douro. É a amostra "cheirante", um vinho muito aromático e muito exuberante, mas com menos estrutura e menos comprimento quando comparado com os vinhos anteriores. Podemos dizer que nesta amostra, para além das notas descritas, faltam as características das amostras anteriores.

    O 4.º elemento, do tonel 9
    De uma vinha velha no vale do Tedo. É uma amostra mais complexa. Tem como notas principais ser um vinho meio-seco, que inicialmente parece doce mais que depois é cortado por uma secura evidente, um vinho mais equilibrado. Aqui percebe-se o conceito de uma vinha superior, se só houvesse uma quinta, este seria o vintage de quinta, um vinho que vale por si só.

    O 5.º elemento, do tonel 10
    De uma vinha de vale de Mendiz. É um vinho base, muito completo, com muita côr e muito encorpado, é exuberante, com muito aroma, terroso e com uma boa acidez, um vinho mastigável, impressivo, rugoso, bruto e mais completo, que se destaca também pelo comprimento dos taninos.

    O 6.º elemento, da cuba 11
    De outra vinha de vale de Mendiz e de uma vinha no vale do Tedo. Esta última com a particularidade de se tratar de uma vinha única de touriga nacional, com origem num clone(2) único desta casta (uma excepção à predominância no Douro do clone de touriga nacional proveniente da Quinta do Ataíde). É um vinho muito floral e exuberante na boca, fino e com pouca acidez.

    O resultado final será o Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016. já aprovado pelo IVDP, no passado mês de Maio, logo após a nossa visita, num ano clássico de Porto vintage. Este vintage tem como notas principais, um nariz exuberante, com aromas florais e também com o caractér da fruta vermelha e preta, com uma excelente estrutura, boa acidez e um final meio-seco. É um vintage mais elgante e aromático quando comparado com o vintage 2015 da casa, que é mais austero e estruturado.
    Deste Porto vintage, serão engarrafadas 3000 garrafas, o vinho restante será engarrafado como Porto LBV 2016.

    Do património da Noble & Murat provamos ainda outros vinhos dignos de nota:
    O tonel 11: um ensaio, em estudo para avaliar a evolução do longo estágio em madeira e o destino final, o futuro desta promessa, provavelmente um tawny de idade. É composto por uma grande diversidade de origens (9), um lote constituído por vinhos das colheitas de 2012 a 2014, onde para além da fruta já se nota a presença da madeira, é complexo e elegante, com aromas e sabor de cereja, ginja e fruta cristalizada.

    E um vinho do Porto raro, especial e original, uma cortesia de Alexandre Antas Botelho. Um vinho com origem numa vinha muito velha, pré-filoxérica, em pé franco e que já não existe, uma vinha que crescia em goblet (videira arbustiva não embardada), com cerca de 60% de castas tintas e 40% de castas brancas. Tem a particularidade de ser um vinho novo feito de uma vinha muito velha. Provar este vinho é realmente um momento histórico e irrepetível. É um vinho original e extraordinário, com uma côr ligeiramente aberta, muito químico, com um nariz de fruta vermelha, fino e elegante e com acidez e fruta presentes.

No portfolio actual da Nobel & Murat:
  • Noble & Murat LBV 2012 (actualmente disponível);
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2015 (6600 garrafas, actualmente disponível);
  • Noble & Murat LBV 2013 (disponível brevemente, no final de 2018);
  • Noble & Murat Vintage Port 2016 (aprovado pelo IVDP em Maio, brevemente disponível);
  • Noble & Murat Porto Tawny 20 anos (prevê-se que em Julho de 2018 esteja disponível)

    Noble & Murat
    Alexandre Antas Botelho e António Borges Taveira
    Telm.: +351 96 327 42 50


    (1) Macaco: um utensílio de madeira, com cerca de 1,5m de comprimento, que na parte inferior tem fixadas em cruz pontas também de madeira. É utilizado pelos lagareiros, durante a fermentação, perfurando a manta, obrigando a matéria sólida a descar para o fundo do lagar. Pretende-se que o mosto recomece a fermentar com as cascas das uvas tintas, no intuito de lhes retirar o máximo de matéria corante e taninos (in, Dicionário Ilustrado do Vinho do Porto, de Manuel Poças Pintão e Carlos Cabral).

    (2) Clone: é obtido pela multiplicação vegetativa de uma única planta, para conferir ou reproduzir as mesmas características noutras vinhas a partir desta. As vinhas são muito adaptáveis, reagem em função das condições ambientais com comportamenos diferentes (resistência às doenças, amadurecimento das uvas, cachos mais ou menos compactos e ligeiras diferenças nos aromas e sabores) o que tem como consequência existirem muitas variantes na mesma variedade, que não origina uma nova casta, mas uma subdivisão na casta. Utilizam-se clones para replicar características específicas de uma casta.


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segunda-feira, 14 de maio de 2018

The shadows of the Gaia "Entreposto"

    Before we start this journey through the recent major urban changes that invade the Gaia historical center, specifically the urban set that constitutes the Gaia Entreposto (*), it is worth remembering the words of the Vila Nova de Gaia city council responsible, at the 1st international conference "Cities of River and Wine" (promoted by Gaiurb, E.M. in partnership with the Gaia city council), in March 2015: "...at its river mouth, in our common river mouth to Porto, the river Douro is the mirror of a rich heritage, that we must know how to preserve for all Humanity... it is evident that our collective responsability for the preservation of this heritage is enormous...", and continued "...the strict defense of this unique heritage is a challenge that demands permanent attention, study and reflection.".

    Much as changed since that year. On hearing these words, perhaps we could rely on a firm and uncompromising commitment to the protection and respect for this historical area. An error. In fact, this rhetorical exercise, over the years, proved to be empty and meaningless, totally divergent and surpassed by the reality and the "dynamic" of the facts.

    First of all, let's take a look at Gaia's historic center, one of the most beautiful urban landscapes linked to wine, the hillside historic landscape that someone has already called the world's largest wine cellar, its historical heritage and memory are the buildings and the structures of the warehouses dedicated to the storage, commerce and shipping of Port wine since the 17th century, but especially from the 18th century onwards, located on the left bank slope of the river, which descends to the Douro. This centuries old heritage is the historical reference, the character and the identity of this whole place, which translates a direct connection with the past and is unique and does not exist anywhere else in the world, which has stood the test of time but does not resist man.

    Today we are witnessing an accelerated series of monstrous architectyral attacks and cruelties on the Gaia's historical Port wine warehouses, with the "dynamics" and "increments", supposedly grandiose accomplishments, in a furious wave of new and modern brutal irreparable and irreversible defiguration of these values of the past. It is worth remembering the words of Carlos de Passos, in the "New Porto Monography" (in 1938), which apply perfectly to this case: "... I do not think there is any land in the country where the architectural values of the past have been so insane and rapidly demolished." "It was only the foolish modernizing endeavor that competes, par le bon motif, for such great destruction now enlarged, also for equal cause by the restorer, by the grotesque repositions...".

Shadow 1: rua do Choupelo, next to the hotel "The Yeatman".

    The Gaia historical center is the place where at present everything is possible.

    Under construction is a kind of a modern wine theme park called "World of Wine" or "WoW" (which, very appropriately, the architect Mariana Abrunhosa Pereira called a wine "Disneyland"), responsability of the Fladgate Partnership (holder of the Port wine brands Taylor's, Fonseca Guimaraens, Croft and Wiese & Krohn, and also in the growing tourism sector, in which they are engaged, the owner of the "Yeatman" Hotel in Gaia), on the slope of the hotel "The Yeatman" (which in another case of a recent and debatable construction in this landscape), and the object of a very fast license from the local authority (I read somewhere that the construction began - the laying of the first stone - without the necesary license). I also have nothing to oppose to a wine theme park, to atract and fascinate tourists, but certainly elsewhere, because, in fact, it is a project that, as someone else already written, can be built anywhere else, but not here, because here is a decisive contribution to the historical warehouse disappearance and to the decharacterization of this site.

WoW (1)
WoW (2)

    It is a gigantic project that imposes itself and stands out in the landscape and does not respect the place that will be hopelessly disfigured, 
referred to by the Fladgate Partnership Director General, Adrian Bridge, in these terms: "Who does not like the project (the WoW), does not like what's there now either...". Without comments, is impressive the arrogance and the lightness of this attitude, forgetting that one of the reasons for its existence, disappears with this project, in the name of tourism developments, the impressive numbers, 100 million invested, 30 thousand hectares, 12 restaurants, 5 museums, in an admirable world certainly with a lot of interactivity, many undifferentiated stores, for whom the heritage of centuries is an obstacle, or at least it has been so far.

Rua do Choupelo, the old Croft warehouses, with the inner structures destroyed, at this stage only some of the walls remain.

    From Adrian Bridge's speech, the strategy followed by the Fladgate Partnership is clear with the acquisition of other Port wine houses, not only to widen the Port wine brands portfolio and increase the specialized Port wine categories stock, but also to gain and increase the space that it holds in this special area of Gaia, not to keep the warehouses alive, but for this type of enterprise, presenting the very convenient argument that it is the only way to keep them alive. There are other examples that prove that it is not true.

Shadow 2: rua Serpa Pinto, n.º 149, the old Wiese & Krohn warehouses.

    Now, let's take a look at the recent Wiese & Krohn case, acquired by the Fladgate Partnership in June 2013. W&K was a family owned Port wine house, founded in 1865 by two norwegian businessmen, with a high reputation for its aged in cask Port wines, mainly the "colheita" tawny style and for its precious stocks. It was located in rua de Serpa Pinto, n.º 149 (see photos), with the main door topped with the characteristic house designation "art deco" letters, in the Gaia historic center, where was located its distinctive warehouse where the wine aged since the 19th century, unlike any other and where one could read at the main entrance: "...cheers to the traditional atmosphere of a historic wine cellar.". 

    Soon after the acquidition, the warehouses were emptied and the wine stocks, casks and "balseiros" were removed. As had already happened with the "Fonseca" cellars, on the Gaia castle slope, known today as the "for sale" cellars. Since the Fladgate Partnership has not chosen to maintain and value this space, which as always been linked to Port wine ageing and trade, these cellars are closed and the building is for sale and also at the mercy of any other "dynamic momentum of intelligent development".

The Wiese & Krohn extict warehouse

    We proceed with yet another shocking and unbelievable example of the accelarated process of decharacterization and impoverishment of Gaia's historic center, the opening of a "cash & carry" supermarket, just in Avenida de Diogo Leite, in the building of the Real Companhia Velha 3 century old Port wine warehouses, right next to also historical Ferreira wines cellars. The building was adapted, or to be strict and more appropriatly, hopelessly destroyed inside, and now with unrecognizable exterior and interior areas, transformed into a supermarket, with the omnipresent tourist stores in the back. Of course, all this happens with Gaia city council approval, that reveals its distorted understanding of the planning for the "commitment to the strict protection of the heritage...", but with "intelligent interventions" it is understood, without obstacles and impediments to the business development impact, without any conditions that may limit wathsoever, so is the Gaia "modern" historic center.

Shadow 3: the present Real Companhia Velha building, a supermarket

    In turn, the "Douro Azul" head responsible, with rare and fine sensitivity to deal with all matters related to historic heritage informed... and disregarded those who heard him, that finally and after so many years, Real Companhia Velha woul again occupy this place... it shoul be remembered that it is just another wine shop for tourists in a completly modernized building.

The back perspective of the disappeared Real Companhia Velha warehouses

   It is strange, difficult to perceive and little rational, that companies that depend on tourism, as is the case of Fladgate Partnership and Douro Azul, among others, and that in turn tourism is attracted by what only exists here, which is the Port wine trade historical heritage that represents the first point of interest in those who visit us, is consciously destroyed and uncharacterized and repalced by modern projects and buildings of indistict architecture, like so many others in any part of the world. Finally, when there is too little left, an interactive museum will surely offer the unique "experience" of showing what was and is no longer, a virtual tour to the old cellars: to explain the evolutions of the buildind techniques, with special attention to the interiors, the arches, the wooden frames on the roofs, why certain materials were used in the interior construction and not others, ramps, pavements, how the wine casks were moved, the ventilation conditions, the luminosity and the temperature throughout the seasons, and even will be possible to perfectly simulate the distinctive aroma felt inside the wine cellars...
Shadow 4: the modern interior of the old Mercado da Beira Rio

    The Gaia municipal market or the Beira Rio market, also on the Avenida de Diogo Leite, is now anothet place converted into a series of gourmet counters , which in no way differs from the interior of any shopping center, a rapid renovation project (as they almost all are nowadays) that in its interior followed the same stereotyped model with the usual cheap material use, for an undemanding tourism.

    Here, no trace of any "growing importance that is being attributed to the heritage issues", much less "the greater public opinion attention to the enhancement of identity and memory", only an underlined uncritical novelty reproduction. Apart very rare exceptions, considering the seriousness of these matters, between general newspapers and magazines and those dedicated to the wine world, critics, journalists and personalilities responsible in various sectors, there is a commited strange silence, an inability to indignation, or at least an opinion.

    For the time being, all the photos taken now (cut by the touristic cable car) will be historical in a very short time.

On rua Serpa Pinto, Vila Nova de Gaia


 (1) The Gaia Entreposto: was created in 1926, it was an exclusive area, which functioned as an extension of the Douro demarcated region, for the Port wine storage and ageing, where the warehouses of the companies that dedicated to the trade of this generous wine were located. All Port wine had to be exported through the Entreposto. This exclusive area ended in 1986, when it was allowed the direct export of bottled Port wine to the Douro based producers.


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