Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga Douro Tinto 2018  £19.95

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Founded in 1952, with the production of the first ever vintage of Barca Velha, Casa Ferreirinha pioneered the quality revolution in Douro still wines and was the first producer in the region dedicated entirely to producing wine, rather than port. Named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira, Casa Ferreirinha pays homage to the memory of this visionary woman. Today, the winemaking is headed up by Luís Sottomayor, who restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a vibrant freshness allied to a lovely texture and depth.

The grapes for 'Callabriga' were picked from different plots on the Quinta da Leda estate and neighbouring vineyards in the Douro Superior. Quinta da Leda is located in the far eastern reaches of the Douro Superior, just 12 kilometres from the border with Spain. The vineyards are planted on rolling hills on the south bank of the Douro and are a complex patchwork of plots with different aspects and microclimates, each matched to a specific grape variety following a study that was carried out in collaboration with the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro de Vila Real. Soils are composed predominantly of schist, which fractures vertically and allows the vine roots to delve deep to access water and nutrients during the hot Douro summers.

2018 was a challenging vintage in the Douro due to unsettled weather at the beginning of the growing cycle. An extremely dry and cold winter delayed budburst and a particularly rainy spring led to increased disease pressure in the vineyards, which resulted in lower yields. Nevertheless, these lower yields and a long and steady ripening period during the hot, dry summer resulted in a harvest of top-quality grapes with great concentration of flavour.

The wine is made at the modern Quinta da Leda winery. After full destemming, the grapes underwent gentle crushing before being transferred to stainless-steel tanks for fermentation and there was an extended post-fermentation maceration on the skins to extract silky tannins. The wine was matured in used French and new American oak barrels (75% and 25% respectively) for a period of 12 months. The final blend was carefully assembled after numerous tastings and analysis and was gently filtered before bottling.

This wine is deep ruby in colour with an intense and complex nose of ripe red and black fruits with floral nuances and hints of tobacco and spice. On the palate, it has a lively acidity, firm but velvety tannins and a lovely spiciness on the long and harmonious finish.

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