Quinta de Chocapalha, located in Alenquer, recently launched the new harvests of ch by Chocapalha wines - CH by Chocapalha Red 2018 and CH by Chocapalha Branco 2018. State-of-the-art wines that make known the genuineness of lisbon's terroir. In addition, Quinta de Chocapalha Viosinho 2019, a novelty in the portfolio.
The 50 hectares of vineyards of Quinta de Chocapalha, scattered around the Village of The Galega da Merceana in Alenquer, are well taken care of, with the epicenter being a house built in the late 18th century that belonged to its former owner, a Scotsman named Diogo Duff. The landscape doesn't fool. We are in portuguese extremadura, characterized by ups and downs, small hills, curves and countercurves. The micro-climate is defined by the Montejunto Mountain Range. Who takes care of the vineyard is the well-known winemaker Sandra Tavares da Silva, but the farm is lived by the whole family, the owners and parents of Sandra, Alice and Paulo Tavares da Silva; and Sister Andrea, responsible for commercial and oenotourism. Sandra lives in the Douro, where she is also a wine producer with her husband, but that is not why she stops visiting her parents several times, to take care of the vineyards and miss her. The wine range is diverse, but CH by Chocapalha are the top of the range of the portfolio, that is, they represent the best produced in this property.
CH by Chocapalha Red was the first to appear in the 2008 harvest. Produced from a single plot with 1.45 hectares of the Touriga Nacional grape variety, resulting from grafting with forks coming from nelas wine station, it was soon realized its unique, rich and differentiating character of the other plots of Touriga Nacional planted in Quinta de Chocapalha. Arriving at the 2018 harvest, the wine continues to reveal its elegance and freshness. 'The start of the 2018 cycle was quite challenging with a spring with high rainfall followed by a hot summer. But as the harvest approached, the conditions for making great wines were present: a perfect combination of heat during the day, cool nights and plenty of water underground," explains Sandra Tavares da Silva. He adds: "We have achieved excellent phenolic maturation associated with elegance, good acidity that is usually associated with fresher years. The whole cycle was later and longer than in normal years but the wines are impressive and with enormous guarding potential." With fermentation in lagares and stage in French oak barrels for 22 months, CH by Chocapalha Red 2018 is aromatic, evidencing fruity, floral and balsamic aromas. On the palate it is intense, structured, with an elegant complexity and persistent finish. From this limited edition were filled 3000 bottles.
Ch by Chocapalha Branco arises from the desire to produce a white wine that also made known the terroir and viticulture of Chocapalha. It had to be an Arinto, the queen caste of the Lisbon region. Thus, the first harvest, dated 2015, was produced with Arinto from a single portion of the first vineyards of this grape variety planted in Chocapalha. The 2018 harvest does not escape the rule, making known a very fine and elegant wine. "The white CH fermented at low temperatures in French oak barrels and after fermentation, the wine aged in the same barrels in contact with the fine lees for 9 months with bâtonnage," explained Sandra, revealing the secret of the unctuousness of the white CH. The wine reveals mineral and citrus aroma, and on the palate a good structure, acidity, with great aging potential. The end is long and persistent.
Finally, Quinta de Chocapalha Viosinho 2019, a new white that reinforces the portfolio of this farm. The first plot of Viosinho, with about 1.72 hectares, was planted in 2005, on a slope with an inclination of about 30%, with exposure to the spring and in predominantly limestone soils. An ideal plot for the production of white wines. "The Viosinho variety, originating in the Douro region, is characterized by its great sensitivity to heat, preferring cooler, higher altitude and north-facing locations. In Chocapalha the needs of the grape variety were always respected, allowing it to transmit a very balanced minerality, a lot of freshness and complexity» says Sandra that since the first harvest of this variety uses it for other wines of chocapalha lot. However, in 2019, due to its rich mineral and floral expression, the winemaker considered it pertinent to launch this monovarietal of Viosinho, which has a very limited production of only 2500 bottles. With a fruity, floral and mineral aroma, it is very fresh and crispy on the palate, with an evident salinity that, incidentally, is a cross-cutting characteristic of Chocapalha wines.
It should be remembered that the achievement of this quality in wines was the result of constant improvements in the vineyard. Since 1987, when it was acquired, the farm gained new breath. At the time, the property was thought to be a place where the family could gather, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. But the vineyards were mistreated and had to take care of them. Thus, in 1989, some investments began to be made, such as the replacement of strains that were made from time to time, in a process that lasted in total – with intervals in the middle - more than two decades. Today, we can see through the wines produced here, that the bet was won.
Chocapalha, a must-see property
Those who visit Chocapalha can see beyond the well-kept vineyards, a winery of modern and bold architecture, erected on a slope a few meters from the old winery. A building perfectly framed in the landscape. In addition to the technical structure, the administrative part and a shop where visitors can purchase the wines produced there operate. The main varieties in the reds produced there are the Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Syrah, already in the whites, are Arinto, Verdelho and Chardonnay to give cards.
Initially, the grapes produced were sold to producers. With the improvements made and the structure assembled – and logically the support of the wine-like daughter – Alice and Paul felt confident in moving forward with the creation of their own brand. A bet more than right to see for the quality of the wines.
Visiting the vineyards, the winery and tasting wines are the activities promoted by quinta de Chocapalha. Here is to highlight the fact that visitors are always greeted by some family member. You can visit the vineyards and also take a walk along the farm, including forest, dam and orchard. On the visit to the winery, the winemaking techniques and methods are known. From the arrival of the grape in the cellar to the traffic jam, you get to know all the steps of the wine production process. Visitors also pass by the place where wine is stored to age, and can even taste from the barrel itself if they wish. The visit ends with wine tastings that may or may not include snacks.
If you want something more elaborate, such as a lunch, dinner or a wine workshop taught by someone on the oenology team, it's just a matter of booking.In season of harvestthere is also a special program for those who want to participate. Before leaving, the visitor can finally stop by the shop if he wants to bring the wines he liked most to enjoy at home.