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Old Barge, a mythical wine

The most emblematic Portuguese wine, has in 2008 its most recent harvest. A red over 60 years old and only 18 crops.

One of the most famous Portuguese wines, Barca Velha, which only comes out in years of exceptional quality, launched its last harvest in 2008 and is not yet known when it will be next. The first harvest, born in 1952 at the hands of winemaker Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, made history for the most varied reasons. By the personality that conceived it but, mainly, because it was designed to be a wine of enormous quality, elaborated with the most advanced winemaking techniques of the time, among which, fermentation at controlled temperature, which allowed it to preserve aromas and flavors. All this done with some imagination, since there was advanced knowledge, but rudimentary conditions.

Luís SottoMayor, winemaker at Sogrape and who currently decides whether or not Barca Velha leaves for the market

But today, the scenario is different. The wine continues to be prepared with the best grapes, now prepared with the most modern technology at the hands of another equally talented winemaker, Luís SottoMayor. He's the one who decides today when it's going to be Barca Velha's year. In this particular case – that of the 2008 harvest – there was no major doubt, as the harvest was from the outset it was very promising and the wine showed grit: "Our experience, consolidated over many years has signaled that we were facing a set of exceptional characteristics, typical of an Old Barca", recalls Luís Sottomayor, who would come at different times to reinforce this idea in the tasting room. Now that it has been launched, the chief winemaker of Casa Ferreirinha does not hide the satisfaction of the result achieved: "We are facing an Old Barge for connoisseurs and connoisseurs, a wine that takes time to reveal itself. It takes time and patience to unravel everything that's worth. And it's a lot!" he concludes.

To launch this wine, Sogrape – the current owner of Casa Ferreirinha – chose the Monserrate Palace in Sintra, where dinner was in charge of Miguel Rocha Vieira, executive chef of the Fortaleza do Guincho restaurant. Contrary to what has happened in previous harvests, in which about 30,000 bottles of Barca Velha are produced, the year 2008 was not the best in terms of quantity, with only 18,000 bottles produced this year. For this reason, the price of wine exceeds that of previous years (400€) and may vary depending on the place of purchase. Ruby in color and an intense and complex aroma, Barca Velha 2008 has notes of live red fruits, spices, some balsamic and tobacco leaf. In the mouth is complex, harmonious, elegant, with an excellent volume, living acidity and intense tannins. With well integrated wood, it has a long finish. A wine for special moments and that any true wine connoisseur has to taste, even if it is once in life.