Two trips to the Douro Valley in Northern Portugal have me in thrall of this most beautiful of the winelands of the world. On my second visit, we drove up the Douro Valley to the sounds of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. I cannot hear that joyous piece of music without thinking of the Douro. The Douro Boys, the modern generation of winemakers in that appellation, started making truly sublime dry red wines using the varieties their fathers used for making Port. Fairview Broken Barrel 2015 is a great red made on the Estate by Charles Back and his innovative winemaking tea.
Tinta Roriz, also known as Tempranillo, is one which caused me huge amusement when I was staying at Quinta Nova on the side of a cliff overlooking this magical river. We were dining at the Quinta on the food of a stunning cook, Dona Ismelia. And at each of the four courses we were presented with a Quinta Nova wine by a lovely lady who was a marketing person for the company. With a delicious piece of Roast Goat leg, with steamed turnip tops and sautéed potatoes, we were served one of the wines and I asked her what the varieties in the blend were, she said ‘Teenta Gggggghoreesh.’ Tinta Roriz it was!
Souzão is the other grape used in the blend. The Tinta Roriz in the Fairview Broken Barrel 2015 is sourced from trellised vineyards on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, where it grows on decomposed granite soils. The Souzão is from dryland bushvines in the Swartland wine region where the vines grow on Koffieklip (ferricrete) soils.
Once harvested, the grapes were destemmed, crushed and separately vinified for later blending in open top French oak foudres. Pump overs and punch downs (classically known as pigeage in French) were done 3-4 times per day during fermentation to extract flavour, colour and tannins from the berries. The wine was basket-pressed and then matured in barrels for 24 months in a combination of French and American 225L oak barrels were used of which 20% were new, first fill oak barrels
Deep ruby red in colour, this wine is instantly seductive, with notes of blackcurrants, cinnamon and marzipan. The wine shows ripe, integrated tannins and shares a medium to full-bodied palate brimming with savoury spice and dark fruits. Drink now or age up to 8 years.
Anthony de Jager, Fairview Wine Maker says, ‘This second Broken Barrel batch tells the intriguing tale of two bold and juicy Portuguese varieties. The dark rich flavours of Souzão balanced with the nobility of Tinta Roriz bind together to produce a beautifully unique wine, exclusively blended for our cellar door.’
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