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Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga Douro Tinto 2020 £20.41
CASA FERREIRINHA CALLABRIGA DOURO TINTO
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 Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz grapes for this 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.
The 2020 vintage in the Douro got off to an unsettled start with a rainy spring causing an increase in disease pressure in the vineyards and a reduction in yields. The summer was dry and very hot and featured the hottest July in the last 30 years. This accelerated the growing cycle and required careful canopy management to avoid grape sunburn. Some rainfall in mid-August gave the vines the boost needed to undergo the final stages of ripening during the heat that continued in September. 2020 was one of the earliest harvests on record in the Douro and yields were down 30% compared to 2019, but the quality of the grapes harvested was excellent.
'Callabriga' is made at the state-of-the-art, gravity-fed Quinta da Leda winery. After full destemming, the grapes underwent gentle crushing before being transferred to stainless-steel tanks for fermentation at controlled temperatures. Following fermentation, there was an extended maceration on the skins to extract silky tannins. The wine was then racked off the skins and aged in a combination of new American oak (25%) and used French oak (75%) barrels for 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.