Douro hills, terroirs of choice

The lands of the producer Colinas do Douro are divided between the Douro and Beira Interior, regions where he produces altitude wines.

Situated in the geological transition of douro shale and beira interior granite, the Colinas do Douro property takes advantage of the two terroirs through various wine experiences that it has been doing over the last few years. These experiences are translated today into a portfolio of wines already interesting, made from vineyards rooted in soils located at 640 meters of altitude, marked by three key elements: elegance, acidity and minerality, characteristics that contribute to a good guard potential.

The project was born by the hand of businessman Kelson Giovetti who fell in love with the Douro and acquired the property in 2010, which includes four contiguous farms that make up a total of 476 hectares (of which 105 are vineyards, including five of old vineyards over 40 years old). The main indigenous varieties present there are Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinto Cão, Tita Roriz, Rabigato and Viosinho. The vineyards are mostly exposed to the north, with some intermediate valleys. More than 50 hectares are planted on top and about five hectares are already being converted into organic farming (the rest is in integrated agriculture) between hills that are being converted to organic.

To support him in the project, the agronoim engineer Diogo Mexia (currently the director-general of the project, on the right, pictured), was surrounded by competent professionals; winemakers Jorge Rosa Santos (director of production and oenology, left in the photo); and Rui Lopes (oenology coordinator, right, next to Kelson, pictured); and Duarte Sequeira (viticulture coordinator). In addition to the team, Kelson also invested in the construction of a winery, designed by architects Eduardo Souto de Moura and Ricardo Rosa Santos, which will be inaugurated next year, still without a certain date due to delays caused by the pandemic. With 3500 m2 of area, the project, with an investment value of 5.5 million euros, will have a single window of light in the evidence room that will be facing the vineyard. Guided by sustainability principles, the team of architects focused on balancing technical needs and surrounding nature, ensuring minimal environmental impact and maximum energy efficiency.

The winery designed by Souto Moura and Ricardo Rosa Santos will be ready in 2021

Wines designed to last

The seven existing references of Colinas do Douro - between whites, reds and a late harvest - add up to five other references with a different designation: Quinta da Extrema. The name of this brand is also the name of the most emblematic farm of the property, for better translate the uniqueness of its terroir.

To show some of his work developed in Colinas do Douro, winemaker Jorge Rosa Santos organized a tasting where several of his wines were. They were the White Douro Superior Hills 2019; Quinta da Extrema Reserva branco 2018; Douro Superior Red Hills 2019; Quinta da Extrema Syrah 2018; Quinta da Extrema Cabernet Sauvignon Grande Reserva 2018 and Colinas do Douro Colheita Tardia 2016.  

In the Colinas do Douro Superior range, the excellent price value of the wines stood out, with a PVP of 5.95€ and a very consistent quality. The white, elaborated with the typical varieties of the region (Gouveio, Viosinho and Moscatel Galego), planted on slopes facing the spring and 500 meters above sea level, fermented and aged only in stainless steel, with stage on fine lees, and has a very aromatic and fresh profile. Like superior red, enveloping in aroma and taste, prepared with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Red Dog, which aged 30% of the lot for six months in French oak barrel and 70% in stainless steel vat.

In Quinta da Extrema, highlight the White Reserve, based on Viosinho, Rabigato and Moscatel Galego, with fermentation and internship of 6 months in French oak barrel. A dry white, enveloping and with a freshness that washes the palate. However, monocasta reds are still equally enveloping, very well balanced and achieved. Finally, the late harvest, which has the curiosity of being poroduzido with the Chenin Blanc variety, fermented and aged 12 months in French oak barrel, which still has the particularity of not being present in any more late Portuguese.

Jorge Rosa Santos has his family linked to the wines (three of the brothers are winemakers) so it is not surprising to have followed this area. After taking agronomy and oenology he went to New Zealand and Australia to improve his knowledge of white wines. Returning to Portugal, he has accumulated experience in several wine regions of the country – from the Douro to alentejo, from Colares to Azeitão. There is also a family project linked to wine. The experiences he has accumulated in the various wine regions of the country have equipped him with an unusual and transversal knowledge of the Portuguese wine heritage, in terms of grape varieties and terroirs. Here we can see his work in Colinas do Douro and the search for originality.