Apr 06, 2016
Old World Opulence
On my last visit to Portugal I was scheduled to visit
Quinta da Romaneira, on the steep terraced slopes,
high above the Douro River.
Unfortunately, I was scheduled to speak at the Uva d'Ouro Conference in Porto at the same time.
Ricardo Campos, Commercial Director at Romaneira scheduled a visit to Vancouver recently, hoping to increase the awareness of his wines.
Campos describes the wines of Romaneira as, "Elegant, with less punch than you'd expect from the Douro."
(photo right, courtesy of Romaniera)
Romaneira has an extensive history.
In 2017 they will celebrate their 260th anniversary. It has been passed down from family to family in its lengthy evolution.
In 2004 the property was purchased by a group of investors. Its management and advancement left in the capable hands of Christian Seely (see bio below) from Chateau Pichon Baron (Bordeaux) and winemaker Antonio Agrellos.
The estate is a total of 400-hectares with 60-hectares under vine. Additionally, they grow other plants, almonds and oranges. The production is low, as Douro typically is - at Romaniera it's maximum of 3000 liters per hectare.
The unique thing about Romaneira is only 20 percent of their production is Port wines. The rest is table wine.
Campos (photo: above right) thinks that white table wines in the Douro are the next big thing. Even so, they only have five-hectares of Verejo and Malvasia planted - a production of 12,000 bottles per year.
"[People] they don't find Port wines sexy... table wines are where it's at," Campos states. "Year after year, they are getting better."
Additionally, they make single varietal Petit Verdot, Syrah and Touriga Nacional.
Romaneira is owned in part by Christian Seely. From his bio:
Christian Seely was born in 1960, educated at Harrow School, Trinity College Cambridge and INSEAD.
He has been managing director and shareholder of Quinta da Romaneira since its acquisition in 2004. He has many years of experience in the Douro Valley, having been also managing director of Quinta do Noval since 1993.
Since 2001 he has been managing director of the AXA Millesimes group of vineyards, based at Chateau Pichon Baron in Pauillac. Besides this prestigious Pauillac Grand Cru Classé, Christian Seely is responsible for looking after Châteaux Pibran in Pauillac, Petit-Village in Pomerol, Suduiraut in Sauternes, Mas Belles Eaux in the Languedoc, as well as Domaine de l’Arlot in Nuits-St-Georges, Disznókõ in Hungary and Quinta do Noval in Portugal. He is also the President of the Compagnie Médocaine, the Bordeaux Négociant, which is wholly owned by AXA Millésimes.
Apart from Quinta da Romaneira and the properties of AXA Millésimes, he is also co-founder and joint owner of Coates and Seely Ltd., producer of English Sparkling Wine in Hampshire, England.
Consulting winemaker, Antonio Agrellos has worked with Seely since 1993 at Quinta do Noval (three of those since have scored 100 points) and has worked on the Romaniera project since its inception in 2004.
Sino da Romaneira, 2010 - Comprised of equal parts (25% each) Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca (30%) with Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cao. It offers ripe black cherry, fragrant floral tones, tea leaf, vanilla and cocoa. The palate is laden with generous black and red fruit compote and tobacco. Very fresh.
Sino da Romaneira, 2012 - This was the first vintage this wine was made without Touriga Nacional. It is a blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinto Cao.
This is delightfully fresh wine with prolific raspberry and purple fruit, vanilla, sweet spices and violets. Silky and wonderully juicy and untterly charming with perfect balance.
Quinta da Romaneira, 2011 - Made from one half Touriga Nacional with Touriga Franca and a splash of Tinto Cao. Black forest fruits, licorice, some earthy succulent notes and spice evolve into a powerful but finessed palate.
Quinta da Romaneira Reserva, 2009 - Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca from vines averaging 25-years-old, this wine is fleshy and opulent yet balanced with generous wild forest berries, dried violets, licorice spice and tobacco. Sumptuous and lengthy.
~Daenna Van Mulligen