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The spotlight is on dry Portugese wine. The country has made a name for itself with fortified sweet wines often times leaving their delicious dry reds in the shadows. Today is the day for this great example to have its moment. La Rosa Reserve showcases native grapes and their ability to present an exceptional dry wine. This small family estate produces a very limited amount of this bottling.
Located 60 miles inland from Porto, Quinta de la Rosa is set in the heart of the Alto Douro, with steep terraced vineyards that give the impression of tumbling into the river below. The estate is situated on the southeast facing banks of the River Douro, one kilometer from Pinhão in the Cima Corgo region. Run by Sophia Bergqvist and ably assisted by her brother, Philip, Quinta de la Rosa has been in the family for over 100 years. The estate was given as a christening present for Claire Feueheerd, Sophia’s grandmother, in 1906. Though they were the first growers to produce a Single Quinta port from La Rosa's grapes, the family was known exclusively for their farming expertise—selling all their grapes to bigger bodegas like Croft and Sandeman. The family port shipping company, Feueheerd, was sold in the 1930s but La Rosa was kept and run by Sophia’s grandmother, Claire.
In 1988 Sophia and her late father, Tim Bergqvist, decided to restart the family business and launched Quinta de la Rosa, a top-quality port producer, onto the marketplace. Starting in the early 1990s, the Bergqvist family was one of the pioneers in taking table wine production in the Douro region seriously. Quinta de la Rosa’s red and white table wines have won many accolades in the press and are sold in many prestigious restaurants and wine stores around the world.
The Bergqvist family is now known as a pioneer of the Douro. As farmers first, the terroir-driven quality of Quinta de la Rosa’s red wines has been credited with helping put the region on the map for serious oenophiles. The 2002 hiring of Jorge Moreira (a mentee of Dirk Niepoort and now one of the most respected winemakers in Portugal) has only further established the estate’s reputation. Moreira’s obsessive focus on coaxing maximum minerality out of its schist soils is second only to his advocacy of old, native Portuguese varieties.
All eight of Quinta de la Rosa’s single vineyards (a total of 55 hectares) are A-graded. La Rosa is fortunate in having great diversity in its vineyards ranging from altitudes along the banks of the River Douro up to 400 meters above sea level. The older dry stone-walled vineyards are planted with mixed varieties where vines are at least 50 years old and yields as low as 10 hectoliters per hectare. The newer vineyards (‘patamares’) date from the early seventies and are block planted with the approved varieties — Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Touriga Franca, and Tinta Cão. This allows head winemaker, Jorge Moreira, and his team to annually produce the highest possible quality of 50,000 liters of port and 100,000 liters of table wine (on average) from grapes of differing physiological attributes. All Quinta de la Rosa wines and Ports are estate grown, estate produced, and estate-bottled. The Quinta de La Rosa ‘house’ style is to make well-defined, elegant wines and ports without over-extraction and without too much tannin or oak. The wines are rich and full-bodied while maintaining freshness and good acidity.
Aging: 12 Months in French Oak Barrels
Tasting Notes: 43% Touriga Nacional, 22% Touriga Franca, and the rest coming from mixed field planted old vines, all from La Rosa’s estate. Extremely fresh ripe black fruits aromas combine with floral notes ending in hints of liquorice and chocolate on the nose. Exceptionally rich and full on the palate, bold complex flavours combine in perfect harmony to maintain its defining elegance. Succulent tannins contribute to a very long and delicious finish.
The 2017 Reserva is a 60/40 blend of Touriga Nacional and a field blend from old vines, aged for 18 months in 60% used French oak. This was a couple of weeks from bottling when seen, but it was the final blend. Fresh and possessed of vivid flavors, this also has big power and fine concentration without ever becoming jammy. A beautifully balanced and lively red, this does everything well and has not a hair out of place. There have been denser and more powerful Reservas from La Rosa but few as enlivening as this one. ~92-94 Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
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