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Casa Ferreirinha Barca Velha 2008 £325.00
CASA FERREIRINHA BARCA VELHA 2008
This producer, founded in 1952, is named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira. Affectionately nicknamed 'Ferreirinha' by her countrymen, the house pays homage to her memory and was the first house in the region dedicated to making light wines. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, it has 520 hectares of vineyard in the Douro in all of its three sub-regions: Lower Corgo, Upper 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 lovely depth and texture, as with Vinha Grande Tinto and Quinta da Leda.
Barca Velha is only declared in exceptional years and is the foundation upon which Casa Ferreirinha has built its reputation. Grapes were selected primarily from Quinta da Leda but also from the higher zones of the Douro Superior sub-region. Quinta da Leda's 160 hectares of vines were planted in collaboration with the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro de Vila Real, where a study was carried out on clonal research to select the best varieties in the Douro. The findings decided the varieties to be chosen and planted on this estate, using only the best clones of each variety for grafting.
2008 was characterised by a dry and cooler than average winter. The soil's water levels were replenished by higher than average rainfall in each sub-region during April and May. The harvest in the Douro Superior took place from the end of August.
The wine is made at Quinta da Leda's state-of-the-art winery. After soft crushing and full de-stemming, the grapes were transferred to stainless steel tanks and epoxy lined granite 'lagares' where cold maceration took place prior to alcoholic fermentation. During this period, intense pumping-over and robot-operated 'pigeages' were carried out at controlled temperatures. A long post-fermentation maceration process followed, in order to obtain full aromatic and polyphenolic extraction. Soon after the end of maceration, the wines were transported to Vila Nova de Gaia where they were matured for 16 months in 225-litre new French oak barrels. The final blend was prepared from a selection of the best wines following a rigorous organleptic process, guided by the traditional values of Casa Ferreirinha. In order to preserve its supreme quality, Barca Velha is bottled with no prior treatment and therefore throws a natural deposit.
The 2008 has a deep ruby hue and an intense, complex bouquet with a strong core of well-ripened red fruit, pepper and clove spices and hints of cedar, resin and tobacco box. Notes of asparagus, artichokes and aromas of high-quality oak mingle in perfect harmony. Its palate is full-bodied, with lively acidity, intense tannins and notes of fresh red fruits, pepper, clove and ginger. It has an extraordinarily long, graceful and harmonious finish.
The Wine Advocate
"The 2008 Barca Velha, the latest release of this late-released wine, is a blend of 50% Touriga Franca, 30% Touriga Nacional, 10% Tinta Roriz and 10% Tinto Cão. This is a classic 2008, crisp and elegant, radically different this year than the richer 2007 Reserva Especial (basically the same wine but for designation--that could've been designated as Barca Velha, too). After being opened about 18 hours previously, this showed rather well, but you may not find it quite as approachable if you don't give it some air. When you do approach it, be prepared to take more than a taste. It is easy to underestimate. Graceful in the mid-palate, with lifted fruit on the finish, its most notable feature is its finesse. It is a classic 2008 in that regard--dripping with grace, showing fine structure and impeccable balance. It seems simply effortless. Not particularly expressive or fruity in its youth, this tightens a bit as it airs out. The structure will allow it to age, although the mid-palate concentration is not nearly as impressive. As a typical 2008, that is to be expected to a considerable extent--this vintage never made its bones by mid-palate fleshiness or richness. Call it a Burgundy lover's vintage in Douro. On its own terms, this is pretty fine. Still a touch closed, this understated Barca Velha has considerable potential for improvement in the cellar. I'm still not sure it will have quite the aging curve that these wines ordinarily do, but they all hold rather well. There are about 700 bottles available for the USA out of a total of 18,000 produced."
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