Passarella A Descoberta is a really enjoyable wine. It reminds me of a Spanish Mencia or even a Beaujolais with its perfumed but dark and stone nose and the light, juicy palate.
The nose of Passarella A Descoberta shows smoke, red jelly crystal cherry/strawberry, there is honey, and a touch of rubber. It is very red winey which seems stupid to write, but it is, and not in a negative way.
Passarella A Descoberta tastes of red fruits, violets, and dark earth, with a touch of campfire bitterness. Overall Passarella A Descoberta is fresh, with moderate acid and light, almost missable tannins. The flavours are long-lasting which is great because I find this wine so enjoyable to drink. Drink it now and over the next couple of years, it isn’t going to improve a lot.
Casa da Passarella A Descoberta Tinto Colheita Dao 2018, and all wines are eligible for at least 5% off any six bottles. And 10% off any 12 bottles. Some wines will be at a more significant discount and not subject to further discounts.
Casa da Passarella was founded in 1892 before Dão existed as a wine region (in 1908). Passarella changed hands in 2007. Renovation, restoration and renewal was carried out for the Casa and the wine program. Passarella has 60 hectares of old vines in Serra de Estrela sub region. Very high, cold and poor of soil, the climate allows for long hang times, resulting in ripe tannins, excellent acidity and overall freshness.
Casa da Passarella A Descoberta Tinto Colheita Dao 2018 Importer Notes
“Made in stone lagares and aged in cement tanks and large old wooden vats, this is a typical Dão blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro and Jaen. A compelling advertisement for varietal blends.
Supple, fleshy, spicy, with delicate tannin and subtle oak. From the lead-off, cherry-choc fruit is replete with Dão granite and laden with wiry dark herbs. It’s fleshy-meaty and mineral-fresh, round, with good movement and fruit-earth interplay. It has excellent presence in the mouth but is not reliant on weight for the show. Wonderfully composed, effortless in affect. Gorgeous delicate tannin is the frame, rimming the mouth and allowing the fruit and spicy acid to radiate. Bloody charming, and endlessly so!
Although the fruits are in a dark register, and slightly gamey, this briary red is savoury, elegant and breezy.”
Touriga Nacional is the most desirable for quality Port and table wine but proves difficult to grow and offers small yields. That means the easier to grow Touriga Franca is favoured for less expensive wines and can be seen as the Cabernet Franc compared to Nacionals Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines of T. Nacional are thick, dense, intensely coloured and full of flavour.
A top-quality red grape that grows all over the Iberian Peninsula (with many pseudonyms). It makes Rosado or Joven (released after 6 months) all the way up to Gran Reserva (60 months in the winery). Reserva and Gran Reserva are capable of aging for the long term (30 years easily). Top examples of aged Tempranillo compare favourably to Burgundy. Cherry and cola are typical flavour descriptors. It has moderate to low acid, moderate tannin and the naturally high pH allows for a silky mouthfeel that is unlike other red wines.
Mencia is similar to Cabernet Franc in flavour, weight and structure. Mencia makes stunning wines from Bierzo, Valdeorras and surrounding regions. Highly aromatic, refreshing acids, nice texture, the top wines can improve with age. There is a lot to love.
Native to Dão (locally called ‘Pé de Rato, or mouse paw), but grows in other regions. Genetically there are strong links to the French variety Trousseau. Alfrocheiro is a high-quality grape for wine, but its small bunches of small berries are highly susceptible to rot and oidium. On the plus side it has generous yields and ripens early which helps to avoid disease. Alfrocheiro gives deep colour, blackberry, spice, and anise flavours. It has dense tannins and lively acid.
Dao is south of the Douro Valley and inland towards the Spanish border. It is high country, surrounded by granite mountains. Most of the wine is grown between 150 and 700 metres. The granitic soils play an important part in the quality of the wine. Rain averages are high but it mostly falls in winter. Summers are mild and dry.
Dao wines are mostly Touriga National with Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo), Jaen (Mencia), Alfrochiero, and dozens of other native grapes.
Historically, the wines aren’t very good, but new producers are looking for freshness in their wines.
Talking of Portuguese wine, most people would just think of Port. And for good reason, it is a style that took over the world. But to only think of Port is to miss out on the fantastic table wines that come out of the Douro Valley (where Port is made). The Douro is capable of producing world-class, complex reds and whites that are not fortified too.
Moving from the Douro, you will find charming whites and reds of Vinho Verde to the North. Vinho Verde borders Spain and only the Minho (Mino) River separetes VV and Rias Baixas. The grapes grown are almost identical, although spelt and pronounced differently.
Two other wine regions worth noting are the reds of Dao. We don’t see many here in Australia, but they are something special for sure. And, of course, the island of Madeira and their slightly cooked fortified wines. These are real treasures and often forgotten.
The Atlantic Ocean influences most of Portugal’s growing regions. This helps keep the climate from getting too hot and from the air being too still.
Portugal has many indigenous grapes as well as sharing many of the grapes from Spain.
Wine is the result you get from fermented grape juice. There is proof of wine production dating back 8000 years ago. Fashions, innovations and many other factors have influenced the way wine has evolved over the years.
The wine grape is impressive. It contains everything you need to make grape wine except for the yeast, which lives on the outside of the skins.
Human inputs can influence the final product, including the viticulture (growing) choices. And the winemaker can shape the wine to a point too.
The best wines of the world often refer to terroir. Terroir is a French term that refers to all the climatic, geological and topographical influences on a specific piece of land. And it is true that neighbouring vineyards, grown identically, can taste noticeably different.
Fun fact; most of the colour for wines comes from the skins. There are only a handful of grapes that have red juice. Alicante is the most well known of these grapes.
By macerating the juice on the skins, the wine gains tannins and flavours. Certain compounds change the chemistry of the wine too.
Red wines tend to have higher alcohol. More tannin and more oak flavours compared to other styles of wine. But the thousands of grapes and terroirs they grow in influence this.
The Wine Depository
I, Phil, have been running The Wine Depository since 2011. The Wine Depository exists to make sure you are drinking the good wines. You can browse and pick what is interesting to you. Or you can make contact with me. I’ll make sure you get what you want, to your palate, to your budget and to your door.