The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTESY OF PO��AS PORTS Po��as���s Viticulturalist Maria Manuel Gomes Maia and Head Winemaker Jorge Po��as Pint��o. Port, Portuguese-Style by Ben Weinberg PHOTO: COURTESY OF PO��AS PORTS FOUNDED IN 1918, PO��AS IS NOW ONE OF THE FEW PORTUGUESE FAMILY-OWNED PORT AND DOURO WINE COMPANIES Po��as owns three important vineyards on the demarcated Douro Region: Quinta das Quartas, (pictured), where the viniication and aging facilities are lodged; Quinta de Santa Barbara, where grapes for the special categories of ports are produced; and Quinta Vale de Cavalos, for Douro wine vineyards. 40 / the tasting panel / december 2012 M any of Portugal���s prominent Port houses are foreign-owned and lean towards the sweeter side of the Port spectrum. Po��as (pronounced posas), one of the few remaining lodges still owned by a Portuguese family, focuses on a drier style that highlights the complexity and sophistication of grapes indigenous to the serpentine Douro. The industry is concentrated in ive big players and Po��as is probably number six, making the winery a medium-size producer. Port wine represents about 80 percent of turnover, the remaining being dry Douro DOC wine. ���It is not possible to produce good wine with bad grapes,��� says Viticulturalist Maria Manuel Gomes Maia. ���At Po��as, quality is achieved through a series of factors: grape varieties, plant location, even the techniques used to manage each vineyard.��� Maria grew up hearing her family talking about Po��as wines. ���Apart from that, I love working near nature, so viticulture was the right choice.��� Jorge Po��as Pint��o, Po��as���s Head Winemaker and a graduate of the University of Bordeaux, knows that his Ports are unique, original and strong in personality. Pedro Po��as Pint��o, the winery���s Commercial Director, says that too often the sugar level in Port spikes so high that it covers the true lavor of the wine and its origin. ���What we aim for is an evocative interpretation of the Douro���s character that is as true to traditional winemaking as possible. Our style is slightly less sweet, which imparts inesse to the wines. Speaking in individual terms, our rubies have a very pure fruit expression and irm grip. Our tawnies are characterized by a marked complexity and long-lasting inish, all in great balance.��� Maria, Jorge and Pedro are cousins and fourth-generation family members, and the Po��as wines fulill each of these scion���s visions. The Po��as Ruby Port ($13) is reddish black in color and noses red cherry and black licorice while tasting of cassis and red raspberry. It is quite bright at the start, but this moderates as it progresses across the palate. The Po��as Tawny Port ($13) is a red-orange delight, full of ilbert nut, brown earth and cola syrup. There���s length and depth behind this aromatic funhouse of a wine. Finally, the Po��as 10 Year Tawny Port ($30) is tinged a brownishcherry color and redolent of pink peppercorns and brown sugar. A complex palate brims with cherry chocolate and black licorice on a lithe, long frame. Portugal���s Douro River Valley lies amid a long sequence of schist-laden mountains. The hills are sheathed in dramatic, high-wire slopes that barely allow the cultivation of enough vines to produce commercial quantities of wine at each of the quintas that dot the landscape. The Douro���s diversity of exposures, micro-climates and elevations make each vineyard parcel unique. Po��as���s inimitable winemaking style allows each of these peculiarities its own sense of vibrant expression.

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