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Old Vines

15 de December, 2020

Old Vines is a nomenclature that appears frequently on wine labels.

Today it is not complicated to find a wine from Douro old vines or a wine from Alentejo old vines. The hardest part is to find how old these vineyards that give origin to wines from old red vines and wines from old white vines are.

 

What are old vines?

But after all, what are old vines? The answer is not simple and objective, because opinions are divided. There are those who say that a vine becomes old after 25 years, because it is around this age that its production can begin to decline.

Now I question: so if at 25 years old they are old, what will they be at 75 or 100 years old? My opinion on this subject is simple: I compare the age of the vines with the age of a person. In this way, old vines, for me, start from 65-70 years oldthat is, when they enter the third age.

After all these years the vines acquire the wisdom of time, as the plant acquires a root system that protects it from the constant adversities and climatic changes that take place above ground.

 

Characteristics of the old vines

There are two main characteristics of old vines. The main one, in my opinion, is the one I mentioned above, a root system that protects it from adversities that occur above ground. The other characteristic is that produces less.

I emphasize, however, that in relation to production, the way the grape grower treats and manages his vineyard counts for a lot. By producing fewer grapes, all the energy produced will go to that smaller amount produced, reflecting in a better and more balanced grape ripening.

 

Wine from old vines

A wine with old vines is normally a wine of greater concentration, with respect to the qualities that a good wine should have, that is, greater intensity of flavor, of elegance and of complexity.

Unfortunately a wine from old vines is usually of small production, with the aggravating factor that there are less and less of these vines. Ten years ago it was much easier to find old vines in the Douro.

In the Alentejo, however, it has always been difficult to find them, except in areas such as Portalegre or Vidigueira, or others in which vineyards were not decimated during the 1930s, during the wheat campaigns of the Estado Novo regime.

Quality wine from old vines

The quality of wine from old vines is indisputable, because a red wine from old vineyards or a white wine from old vineyards is always the target of much attention and commitment by the producer, either in the vineyard or in the winery, where the winemaker usually chooses the best barrels to age these wines that carry all the wisdom and history from the vine into a bottle.

Now be aware, if you are used to simpler and more direct wines, these from old vines may not be your "beach".

I challenge you. Now that you know a little more about old vines, try to interpret these wines and let yourself be carried away by the flavor of history... and I assure you that you will start a new stage of your journey through the fascinating world of wine.

Hélder Cunha

My life is the wine
Alguma questão ou sugestão de tema? Por favor, escreva para: blogdoenologo@cascawines.pt

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