Colares Wine2 de June, 2020
The Colares wine is perhaps the most peculiar wine in Portugal. Colares wine is the result of the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the Sintra Mountains, which together create a unique microclimate that is present in each of Colares' wines. The Atlantic influence brings the constant humidity, the salty wind that when blowing strong is called Nortada and the seaside that you feel when you taste the wine.
The Sintra Mountains create a barrier to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean, which guarantees a climate that is always mild, whether in the winter mornings or on the hottest summer days. This series of factors, together with the people of Colares created what is perhaps the most peculiar region in the world in this matter. And the Colares wine is proof of that. Before revealing the secrets of this wine, it is worth traveling back in history...
900 years ago, the wine from Colares caught the eye of our first king, Afonso Henriques, but only in 1230 did King Afonso III give the land to noble families, so that they could keep producing this wine. However, the hegemony of the region only began in the late 19th century, after phylloxera (an insect that attacks the roots of vines and kills them) had decimated vineyards all over Europe.
Luckily for Colares wine - and because the vineyards are on sandy soil - the phylloxera did no damage in the region, which took the opportunity to 'grow' in such a way that in 1931 the Adega Regional de Colares had to be created to protect the Colares wine against forgeries that appeared at the time, due to the fame of Colares wine.
In 2008 Casca Wines decided to create its own wines from Colares.
Besides the region being closely linked to the origin of Casca Wines, the winemakers also wanted to revive the uniques traditions to make wine there, since at that time Colares was forgotten in time. Since then, the region and the wine from Colares have gained the attention of national and international opinion leaders. And something very interesting was achieved: new vines were planted on those sandy beaches.
The cultivation technique of the vineyard in the Colares wine region is also very singular. In order to be able to plant the vine, you have to dig until you find the clay, or hard ground as they call it there, that lies beneath the sand. This alone is often a heroic feat, for there are areas where the sand can be up to 7 meters deep. In this region, what you plant is vitis vinifera, because it doesn't need grafting to fight phylloxera.
After planting, it requires a wait of between four to seven years until the vine gains the strength to climb to the surface of the sand and there begin to produce the precious Colares grapes. It is curious to see when the trunks of the vines at the surface extend their throws out into the sand, resembling a tangle of snakes stretched out in the sun. The bunches when they gain weight, lean against the ground and receive the thermal energy of sand heated by the sun that provides them with heat, helping their maturation.
When the Colares grape berries have the most fragile skins, it's time to raise the pontoons, which are small pieces of reeds that are placed to support the trunks of the vines so that the bunches come off the ground and hang to air and dry out the water of the humid summer mornings. And on top of all this, the winemaker still has to build wind barriers, which are usually made from the reeds that exist there.
Colares Wine Varieties
The grape varieties of Colares wines are, like the region itself, peculiar.
The queen variety is Ramisco and it was this that marked both the wine and the region of Colares. It is a difficult variety in the vineyard, very vegetative and with delicate grape skins. It is also difficult in the winery, with pronounced acidity and great concentration of tannins. The Colares wines are a clear expression, not only of the Terroir of the region, but also of the character of this variety, the Ramisco, which although genetically linked to Pinot Noir, the Ramisco from Colares is inimitable, in that it gives the wines a stern side, and at the same time extremely elegant.
The Colares wine, which is the expression of the Ramisco grape variety planted in those sandy soils on top of the Atlantic Ocean, is medium-bodied with a firm structure and well marked by its tannins, which give the Colares wines from the Ramisco variety an unmatched longevity, lasting well beyond 50 years in the bottle.
The Malvasia of Colares variety is, as its name indicates, a Malvasia variety exclusive to the Colares region. Even in the Colares region, white wines have never had the attention that the Ramisco variety has. But now that white wines are more valued, these white wines from the Colares region and from the Malvasia de Colares grape variety have a salinity and achieve a expression of the terroir of Colares that made them unavoidable.
The Malvasia of Colares variety is very elegant and has a relatively strong skin, which allows it to hold up well to the morning fogs at the final stage of ripening. The character of Malvasia de Colares perfectly expresses the region itself, making it the perfect match for Colares wine.
There are other varieties in the region, such as Molar, which was planted there in order to soften the Ramisco variety, bringing to the blend - where it cannot be more than 15% - some higher alcohol content and less astringency.
In relation to white varieties also present in the region is the Galego Douradowhich also appears in the Colares vineyards and, like the Molar variety, also serves to bring some alcoholic strength to the Malvasia de Colares and also helps to balance some of the stronger acidity that in cooler years the Malvasia de Colares may have.
Colares Wine Producers
There are very few wine producers in Colares and the size of this micro-region. There is an unavoidable producer in the Colares region, the Adega Regional de Colares. This winery played a very important role during the golden times of the Colares wine region.
It was this winery that guaranteed protection of the Denomination of Controlled Origin of Colares, because the strength of Colares wines was such at the beginning of the 20th century that any wine producer wanted to have Colares wine to sell, which gave rise to forgeries that this winery would put an end to. Between 1931 and 1998 it was mandatory to deliver the grapes in the Adega Regional de Colares. Only this one held the seals of guarantee of Colares wine until then.
The remaining brands, such as Chitas and the Viúva Gomes, which are still active today, continue to buy Colares wine produced at the Adega Regional de Colares, and the wine is then finished by these producers to be bottled.
In 1999 another producer joined the region, the Fundação Oriente planting its own modernized vineyard, in espaliers, and not as the region has always typically produced, with the vine trunks spreading out over the sand and the grapes growing in constant contact, taking advantage of the heat of the sand to better ripen and produce the typical Colares wine.
In 2008 Casca Wines joined, always focused on reviving traditions and rejuvenating the Colares wine region.
We partnered with experienced growers in the region who have always kept alive the centuries-old tradition of cultivation. Casca Wines, with the help of three grape growers, started to make its own wine in Adega Viúva Gomes, that opened the doors for us to work and dignify the region and the wines of Colares.
Recently, Casal de Santa Maria, which makes its own wine like Chitas and Viúva Gomes, in partnership with the Adega Regional de Colares, have joined the group of producers, as well as an old producer in the region that did not produce Colares wine, but started its own plantation in 2015 and has already released its first wines, Casal do Ramilo.
Where to buy Colares wines?
The easiest way to buy Colares wine is to visit the Casca Wines website and order online, receiving in the comfort of your home these magnificent and rare wines from Colares, even for the size of the Colares region.
In alternative, you can visit the producers of the region and also Casca Wines and get in the Cellar Door the Colares wines or look in specialize wine stores, like Gourmet El Corte Inglês.
In any way, be sure to taste the wine of Colares, if you like unique and unforgettable experiences.
My life is the wine
Any questions or suggestions for topics?
Please write to: email@example.com