A serious case

The new Casa da Passarella Vindima 2009 honors a work of generations who worked in the vineyard and highlights the improved oenology that has been practiced over the last decade in this dão property.

Known for his work of research and experimentation, and respect for traditions, the winemaker Paulo Nunes produced a wine – the red Casa da Passarella Vindima 2009 – which reveals the wine-growing heritage of the property of the same name, located in Lagarinhos, dão. A wine that, according to the winemaker "expresses the DNA of this house with 130 years» says, adding that "the work done in the last 12 years is reflected in this Harvest 2009 that now reaches the market".

The wine-growing heritage of Casa da Passarella is thus at the epicenter of the concept of wine. "The vineyard maps of casa da Passarella from the 1930s and 1940s indicate that there were vineyards that were being planted and others abandoned in a deliberate way", says the winemaker, recognizing that the great added value of this house passes through the vineyard: "It is a legacy built over more than a century. They are vineyards that result from the law of use and disuse, of a dynamic and long process of selection by trial and error", he explains. 

The reason why Paulo Nunes waited more than a decade was, in a way, to also reveal the region where he is born, Dão, a land of traditionally long-distance wines, that is, with great aging capacity. "They are wines of a huge size, with an overwhelming weight. When I talk about old vines, I usually say that I don't have enough life time to get to know it in depth, to test it at the maximum limit, since they are vineyards over 70, 80 years old. I couldn't follow it throughout its life cycle but there was a lot of work that was done and we have this legacy that we now have the privilege of continuing," says the winemaker.


Left, on the left. Maria de Lurdes Abrantes (adegueira), the center Ana Júlia (viticologist) and dirt. winemaker Paulo Nunes

For Paulo Nunes, the time factor is decisive, so it is only at the end of the stage that he knows if there will be a new harvest to be launched. Which means there will be unedited vintages of this House of Passarella. "The wine has to be there, at its maximum equilibrium point, or it is not worth launching", he explains, also revealing that this first House of The Vindima Passarella has a matrix portion but, in the future, it may not be of this portion but of others. The decision is made in the cellar, at an early stage, when the different wines are ready to go to stage in barrica. "We realize the potential of each fermentation separately and we chose for the lot those who can be, for that year, the greatest possible identity of the House of Passarella".

The winemaking process is the usual, traditionally in granite lagar and initial stage in used barrels of 600 liters. "There was no modern intervention in the creation of the new Harvest 2009. When an oenologist comes to a house with 130 years of history, the wisest thing is to start by learning. We're just a domino and we're passing through. If we contribute to perpetuato this heritage we fulfill our role", concludes.

This wine, says whoever writes to you, is one of the best dão reds I've tasted lately. A work of art of nature combined with the wisdom of the winemaker. There are the red fruits, spice and balsamic in the aroma so characteristic of the wines of the region, complemented by beautiful tertiary aromas (aging). On the palate it is a velvety and enveloping red, of fine complexity and freshness. There is the enormous elegance that the region has always given to dão's great classics. It is composed of Jaen, Touriga Nacional, Alvarelhão, among others, of a plot over 80 years old. The wine aged 18 months in used barrels and were filled about 3000 bottles that are already on the market by pvp of 195€. It can be found in wine cellars and landmark restaurants.

Special wines, also special vineyards

During the presentation of the Harvest 2009 were also presented other wines of Casa da Passarella, with other profiles but also of great quality. Villa Oliveira Encruzado 2017 is produced since 2011 according to the tradition of the house, with tanning and fermentation started together with the film. Then it is pressed to the second day of fermentation, when it starts stage in barrels of 600 liters, where it remains for a year, making partial malolactic fermentation. Launched at three or four years of age, this white seeks to be a differentiating wine from the other Encruzados of the market, through its complexity of aromas (primary, secondary and tertiary).

The Villa Oliveira Segunda Edition 2015 to 2019, is the second edition of a lot of five vintages in casa da Passarella of the Encruzado variety (from 2015 to 2019). Each year a barricade of Encruzado is left, resulting, at the end of five years, a new edition of this blend of dão's emblematic grape variety. This wine of five vintages from Encruzado aims to show that the set can be better than individuality. And, contrary to what could be expected, the prolonged time in barrica did not leave the wine marked, a fact that motivated, moreover, a scientific article by the winemaker Paulo Nunes.

These wines come from special vineyards. The property consists of seven vineyards located in slightly rugged granite land and at an altitude between 500 and 800 meters, with exhibits to the north and south, and of different ages (some centenarians), totaling 60 hectares. The study of the vineyard and the practice of a sustainable viticulture is a striking feature of casa da Passsarella. The vineyard has no watering, not even in new vineyards, for a natural selection of the most resistant strains, the green fertilizers are the native flora and soil handling takes into account the cycle of nature - to retain water in winter and protect from evaporation in summer. With a diversified portfolio, 26 references in total, Casa da Passarella will continue to present wine collections that reflect this place so special that is the Dão region and the place of Passarella.

Photos: Paulo Pereira