Bottled Daring

Casa da Passarella recently presented its new crops and a novelty, a wine of Tinta Pinheira - also known as Rufete - an ink variety that we traditionally find in Blend wines but now emerges as monocaste.  

Known for his investigations of old castes, and a huge enthusiast of experimentation, the winemaker Paulo Nunes recently presented the new harvests of Casa da Passarella, which includes a differentiating red. Located in Lagarinhos, at the foot of Serra da Estrela, this property has in its portfolio a varied range of wines of great success, especially among the most knowledgeable oenophiles.  

Paulo Nunes arrived at Casa da Passarella as a consultant in 2008, invited by the administrator of the Santos Lima family, the original owner of this House erected in 1892. With the transition to the new owner, the Cabral family, he was invited to take over the wine project in full, having received carte blanche to do whatever he wanted in terms of wine. It is not surprising that you have embraced the project in such a way that it is now the most visible face of the project. Since he is at Passarella, it is common to see him walking through the vineyards, or talking to the workers who toil it, or with the older ones, as well as making vinifications and other experiences that end up resulting in an original and differentiating work.

Paulo Nunes always manages to surprise and, this time, the crops presented, stands out this red of Tinta Pinheira, to the extent that it took some daring to move forward with a monocaste, since it is usually a variety that is found in batch wines. Also known as Rufete, Tinta Pinheira is a productive grape variety, mainly cultivated in the Douro, Dão and Beira Interior regions, which holds medium-sized bunches and berries sensitive to some diseases such as mildew and mildew. It is, therefore, a variety that gives some problems, and rarely produces wines of great complexity, unless it reaches the ideal maturation time, and then, it can produce quality wines full-bodied, aromatic and able to remain for many years in bottle. This is the case of this House of Passarella Fugitivo Tinta Pinheira 2018, derived from granite soils and vinified in traditional lagar with partial stalk and aged for six months in cement deposits. Aroma to red fruits, and complemented with vegetable notes is a red quite elegant, delicate, but with marked structure and good freshness.

Despite almost always revealing original novelties, Paulo Nunes also made known other wines that have since been released to the market. They are the House of Passarella Oenólogo Encruzado branco 2020, the Casa da Passarella O Fugitivo Uva Cão red 2020;  and the white St. Villa Oliveira Encruzado 2018 and Villa Oliveira Vinha do Províncio 2019. Finally, still the red Villa Oliveira Vinha Centenária 2017. Both whites and reds, although distinct in style and profile, have, however, a common characteristic that unites them: a good freshness and balance, which values even more the message passed by Paulo Nunes through his wines.

At Passarella all wines are special, whether of greater or lesser complexity or originality. As is the case of white wine The Encruzado Oenologist, which despite being one of the 'simplest' in the range has, however, some complexity granted by fermentation in used barricade and battônage. Or the runaway red of the Grape Dog grape variety that, like the Tinta Pinheira variety, was more used in blend wines (The Dog Grape gave the blend greater acidity). The work in the vineyard and climate change allowed the winemaker Paulo Nunes to vinify this variety solo, resulting so well, that now it is going in the second edition. Limited edition wines that make known the best that Casa da Passarella can give. Good for us.