Mirabilis: On the Road to Perfection

It is ten years of Mirabilis, an iconic wine from Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora, presented in a didactic and unique tasting conducted by the producer Luísa Amorim and her oenology and viticulture duo, Jorge Alves and Ana Mota.

Will there be perfect wines? Perfect I don't know, but balanced, i'm sure. Those who over the years go limando the edges, becoming even more delicate, elegant, fresh and mineral. This is the Mirabilis range, which was born the result of the research of a team that traveled and investigated what was best done out there to enjoy what best was done here, adapting to what could be done best in the face of the Portuguese reality.The trends of the time dictated the rules but the profile of the wine has evolved over the years, until reaching today a maturity that is revealed through impressive wines, where everything is combined with each other: fruit, structure, freshness, minerality and wood. All in the right spot.

To celebrate the ten years of the first harvest of Mirabilis and show us the journey made since then, Luísa Amorim - the most visible face of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo - gave to taste some of the best harvests of Mirabilis prepared by a luxury team that every year strives to do the best. But going back to the beginning, to the first harvest dated 2011, the goal was very clear: Luísa Amorim sought to produce a white wine of great level, which at the time contributed to the visibility of the white durienses, and the country, worldwide. The following year, it was the turn to launch the red, where also finds great freshness and elegance.

To launch these wines, the producer traveled with her team to France, where she visited the main wine regions, namely Burgundy, to understand and investigate how she could make a great wine in Quinta Nova. The idea was to produce rare wines of enormous longevity, unrepeatable wines, and the "willingness to go further", as it reveals to us. To design the Mirabilis range, a small project was created in 2010 – the Wine Atelier – which allowed Quinta Nova to treat wines as works of study. In this workshop, where the scenery is the old granite mills of the winery, original from 1764, were placed different balseiros in wood and stainless steel vats, a total of 17,800Lt, to develop small vinifications of plots and sub-plots of the farm and rehearse different systems of maceration and maturation. All done under strict control, from the selection of grapes to their reception and winemaking. When we compare the first harvest of 2011 with that of 2021 we realize the said evolution, and through vertical proof, of its evolution to maturity. The structure and wood are more evident in the first harvests and become more elegant over the years, as happened, moreover, with the generality of wines in Portugal and in the world. It is a natural trend that discovers a balance that conquers the oenophiles of refined taste from the first sip of wine.

The ten-year tasting of Mirabilis wines took place at Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo

Ladeada by the team that accompanies her from the beginning, Ana Mota (in viticulture); and Jorge Alves (in oenology), Luísa finally made known, in a single vertical race, the white Mirabilis (2012, 2014, 2016, 2018 and 2019) and the Reds (2013, 2018 and 2019), which represented the best among the best.The MIRABILIS Brancos are made with grapes from small centuries-old vineyards where Viosinho and Gouveio predominate, but also several other varieties of scarce production, already almost non-existent in the region. Small bunches, tight and simple berries, make the production per hectare do not go beyond 2300 kg, in soils of altitude greater than 500 meters, geologically classified as shale/granite transition soils, in the parishes of Vilar de Açada, Cabeda, Tabuaço and Candedo. Something that gives the musts a sublime genuineness, where freshness and aroma are naturally accentuated. The selected wood is purposely second and third year, only a small percentage of new wood, not to mark and better to slowly integrate the intense fruit, focusing mainly on French and Hungarian oak, resulting in a wine of extreme elegance, where freshness, structure and acidity intertwine.

Mirabilis red is inspired by the line of the world's great wines. The grapes are harvested manually in the best plots and vinified, giving rise to high quality wines. From year to year, it is an unrepeatable wine, uncopyable, with a heterogeneous composition of small quantities, a few liters of each of the best barrels, until you reach the final result: a dense wine, intense of aromas, with an unparalleled depth and minerality, very elegant and persistent and with great aging potential.

Chapel next to the Wine Hotel (in the photo above. Below, by the river, another chapel was erected in the 17th century to protect the men who ventured on the rabelos boats on a particularly treacherous stretch of the river

It is recalled that Quinta Nova is located in the cima corgo sub-region and has 120 hectares that embrace the right bank of the Douro River – traditionally more sunny and also more valued – along 1.5 km, with a unique spot of 85 hectares of vineyard framed in the UNESCO world heritage site. Referenced since the first Pombaline demarcation in 1756, this is a secular farm holding a special terroir. Owned by the Portuguese Royal House until 1725, it became a 'new farm' by joining two farms into one. During the 18th and 19th centuries, several Portuguese families lived here who gave life to the vineyard and wine, to the fruit orchards (which, sealed by high walls, were one of the riches of the property, still harmoniously framed in the levels of vineyards), the watermill next to the old olive grove and the stream that crosses the farm, at an important time in the subsistence agriculture of the Douro. It also dates from 1764 the winery, one of the oldest in the Douro, a set of traditional buildings with large wooden doors through which, in the past, the port wine barrels passed to the oxen. Next door, the 18th century manor house (which today gives way to the Winery House of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo) with the chapel (1765), where masses of the harvest are still held.

Down there, by the river, another chapel was erected in the 17th century to protect the men who ventured on the rabeloboats on a particularly treacherous stretch of the river. During the journey, when the crossing did not go well or death seemed close to them, they made promises to the patron saint in exchange for salvation and at her request was made an image in granite stone of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with the scapular of the Order of Carmelites.