Who takes a chance, snack!

Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos, winemaker known for signing other wines such as Quinta do Crasto, in the Douro; and Quinta do Casal Branco, in the Tagus; has now ventured to produce wines in its own name. A recent project developed in the Alentejo region, but which is already giving fruit in the national and international market.

Coming from a family of wine producers for over 200 years, and also from agronous engineers, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos (in the entrance photo, in the center, surrounded by his team) says that "LV – Lobo de Vasconcelos Wines emerged in a natural way". Wine runs not only in your veins, but also in your heart, because in everything you do you put a huge passion. He investigates, experiments, does his best.

Thus, after family sharing was made, Manuel decided to take the challenge of taking the family lands in alentejo, joining his friend and now partner Francisco Bessa (in the entry photo, left), and create wines in his own name. However, despite the new challenge, he is keen to stress that he will continue with the projects already undertaken with Crasto and Casal Branco, properties that are part of his DNA and in which he has been an oenologist for many years.

In addition to the experience gained in Portuguese lands, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos has previously walked through other stops accumulating knowledge (in France, Australia and the United States of America). Already working in Portugal, he has implemented a very own style, a very personal character in the wines he produces, always very clean, refined, fresh and elegant. This is, moreover, the profile of your new range of wines.

There are 543 hectares of land with 46 hectares of vineyards (40 hectares of red grapes and 7 hectares of white grapes), divided between two vineyards; the first located in the Herdade da Perescuma, and the other in the Herdade do Zambujal do Conde, both in the sub-region of Évora. Each with its own and very strong characteristics, resulting from the edaphoclimatic conditions, the particularities of the soil (the soils are divided between the Franco Argilo Arenoso; the Sandy Franc, the Sandy Franc (railway) and the Claylimestone), and the unique way as the varieties that are produced there adapt to these conditions. As the winemaker explains, the production of LV – Lobo Vasconcelos wines, has as its mission "To promote the authenticity of the terroirs existing there together with wine connoisseurs through the creation of unique and authentic wines".

Knowing and perceiving existing soils was fundamental for the planting of the vineyard

In the vineyards coexist the varieties Alicante Bouschet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Syrah and Souzão, in the paints; and in white verdelho, Sauvignon Blanc and Viosinho. Viticulture is sustainable, integrated production, respectful of existing biodiversity and follows rules for conservation and improvement of soil structure.

Knowing and perceiving the 'terroir' of each vineyard was the first step to draw the profile of the wines. "We've been studying the vines and the best rootstocks for each type of soil for two years, in order to achieve better results," says Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos. "We use 96% of our own grapes. The rest comes from a nearby vineyard, which we know well, and where we will get Arinto, which is a caste that we lacked in the vineyard", he explains.

The cellar has the maximum capacity to produce 1,200,000 liters, the harvests are mixed (manual and mechanical, nocturnal) and the intervention in the minimum cellar, with classic winemaking of high technical rigor. This work includes a very serious work with regard to barrels, since it is intended "a profile of classic wines and with a positioning of premium wines", shoots. To support him in this task, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos also has the precious technical support of Joana Lopes, an equally award-winning winemaker and a tireless worker. (in the entrance photo, next to Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos).

The vineyards in the Herdade do Zambujal, sub-region of Évora

A special proof

Despite the fame and recognition he achieved over the years, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos was making known his wines with some cautions, first speaking with some players of the national market, but mainly in the international market, where he had many surprises. "I had a distributor who contacted me before going to an international wine fair, where I would taste my wines, who wanted to place an order for me without even tasting them because I knew my work. I thanked him and told him that, even so, it was better to prove them at the fair, and there we set the day... But when I finally met with the distributor, he kept what he said and already went to the meeting with the order note sent without first having known the wines. I can only be grateful for the trust," he said, smiling. After the first contacts, and already with a harvest on the market, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos decided to finally launch his wines 'officially'.

The LV Branco 2021 was elaborated with the arinto and verdelho varieties, in equal halves, from vineyards between 15 and 20 years. The grapes were previously selected and transported in boxes of 22 kg, subject again to rigorous sorting at the entrance of the cellar. After disengaged and pressed, the must was transferred to a stainless steel vat where it remained at a temperature of 8 degrees for 48 hours until its decanting. Then, alcoholic fermentation was taken in stainless steel vats with controlled temperatures of 14 degrees during a period of 30 days. The aging was 8 months of stage in stainless steel, with bâtonnage in the fine lees, under oxygen. In the aroma is citrus and mineral, with some floral note. In the unctuous mouth, with lively acidity and very balanced structure.

More structured is the LV Reserva Branco 2021, with the same composition as the white LV, but with a different finish. That is, after the decantion, and after the beginning of the alcoholic fermentation in a vat, the wine was transferred to French oak barrels, where it made the alcoholic fermentation, with controlled temperatures of 15 degrees during a period of 30 days. Finally, he aged 9 months in French oak barrels, with bâtonnage in the fine lees. With a slightly more closed aroma than the previous one, it has an evident minerality with citrus and floral notes to complement. On the palate it is striking, fresh, but elegant and with volume of mouth, ending persistent.  

In reds, LV Red 2019 is prepared with 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Syrah, and 30% Alicante Bouschet, from vineyards between 15 and 26 years. After being transported and selected at the cellar door, they were disengaged and slightly crushed. The must was later transferred to stainless steel fermentation vats with controlled temperature and the reassemblies made according to the evolution of fermentation and grape variety. Finally, part of the wine aged 6 months in used French oak barrel, of 225 liters. In the aroma stand out the notes of wild fruits, and spice. A seductive wine, of excellent volume, solid structure composed of tannins of elegant texture.

However, and although this first red surprise by being an above average wine, very elegant and fine, a premium wine already with a structure and good presence, lv Reserva red 2019 stands out for being more outstanding. Made with 30% Syrah, 25% Alicante Bouschet, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Touriga Nacional, it comes from wines between 21 and 26 years. Compared to the 'little brother', the final part of winemaking is what makes the difference. The aging took place for 18 months in a barrel of 225 liters French oak. In the nose has good aromatic intensity, without being too much. The red fruits, good minerality and spice stand out. In the mouth it is bulky and structured, with velvety texture. A very captivating, seductive wine. 'This wine has the particularity of having the Cabernet variety in clay-limestone soils. It's a difficult challenge but when it works, it has a huge elegance and gives a lot of freshness to the lot", explains the winemaker.

In the last red - Vinha do Norte 2019, the lot is made with 40% Touriga Nacional, 40% Touriga Franca and 20% Tinta Roriz, from vineyards over 15 years old, and North exhibition, which gives even greater freshness to the wine. In this case, and after the end of fermentation, the wine made pelicular contact for a period of 10 days, and was subsequently gently pressed and separated the tear must from the must of presses. It aged after 20 months in barrels of 225 liters of French oak. The final batch results from the selection of the best barrels. Almost opaque in colour, differentiating from other reds, it has an intense and complex aroma of red fruit, spice, esteva and balsamic and mineral notes to score. All in perfect harmony, resulting in a unique set of great freshness, complexity and depth. Bulky, fresh and persistent.

If you were not a lover of Port wine, and since you can not do it in alentejo, Manuel Lobo de Vasconcelos idealized in his replacement a liqueur to complete the wine range. Thus, lv Licoroso 2020 is prepared with touriga nacional varieties; Touriga Franca ; Sousão and other grapes from vineyards between 25 and 60 years of age. After selected, they were vinified in a lagar with the traditional foot step, and after fermentation the wine was aged in half oak barrels for 24 months. LV Licoroso is a limited edition of 1500 numbered bottles, a unique wine from the 2020 harvest, of which the team is very proud, as it marks the first harvest and the beginning of Lobo de Vasconcellos Wines. The wine aged 24 months in half oak barrels. Of charged color, reveals red fruits in the aroma and notes of cocoa. In the mouth shows an excellent volume and a compact structure composed of serious tannins, excellent texture and polishing. A wine that ends harmoniously, and which, due to not having been subjected to any filtration, meets all the conditions to evolve positively in bottle.