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A new baby from Portugal and the sandy coastal region of Setúbal south east of Lisbon. Local castelão, which is all juicy red fruits, is complemented by 10% alicante bouschet which brings darker notes of black fruit and smokiness.
Product Code: PW8101
View all products by Casa Ermelinda Freitas
The warmth of the Portuguese sun is tempered at Casa Ermelinda thanks to the breezes blowing in from the Atlantic that lies close by. Located at Palmela on the peninsula of Setubal, close to the Sado estuary south of Lisbon, there are currently 440 hectares of many different kinds of vines across the domain, with grapes supplied locally from a further 500ha or so. Head of the company Leonor Freitas has worked tirelessly to make many improvements out in the vineyards and in the winery where modern equipment goes hand in hand with traditional values under the skilled guidance of winemaker Jaime Quendera. Casa Ermelinda Freitas has been run by a long line of dynamic women, celebrating its 100 year anniversary in 2020.
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
"Let it breath and you will be rewarded by some length and complexity, with numerous fruit notes. This style of rich Portuguese wine is becoming more available in the UK and this is a good example at a competitive and realistic price point. Would buy again."
"My first review after buying a few hundred bottles from the society...This is very straightforward Portuguese wine; inexpensive, quite nice after airing and warming, unsurprisingly simple, and possibly ok for my mother in laws funeral wake in a cold church (no village hall available due to Covid) later this week but also possibly not quite good enough if I don’t warm it up somehow!"
"Lovely wine. with or without food, plus being excellent value for money. Decanted a couple of hours before drinking"
I would recommend this wine
"Lots of ripe berry fruit balanced by smooth tannins make a very drinkable quaffer. Some complexity makes this a steal at the price. Will definitely but again."
"Really enjoyed this wine. Nice easy drinking , with or without food .
Good “legs” on the glass. Well worth the price. "
"An absolute steal at the price. Dark colour, dark fruit, quite full-bodied, good structure and some complexity. Benefits from a bit of breathing, but approachable without. On a par with significantly more expensive wine, I will buy again. "
"Excellent value. Not a wine to disregard as cheap and cheerful. It is more than that and for this price a bargain"
"The last time we opened this wine I gave it a 5, but I do think the acidity maybe a little high , hence this time I have given a 4.
Still lovely and plummy on the palate and quite easy to drink, but it does need breathing time to relieve some of the acidity. It's an ok wine for a mid week, budget wine. but if you are looking for greater complexity or a really smooth finish then I'm not sure this would be it.
"On first opening, a plummy aroma hits you then disappears. The wine is full, fruity and very drinkable and fantastic value for money.
Thumbs up to the growers and the Wine Society."
"I can confirm other members' recommendation that this wine benefits from being opened well before you intend to drink it. We opened it on the first day, drank half and then inadvertently left the bottle open until we noticed around lunchtime on the second day. Having recorked, as we were eating fish we drank a nice Orvieto, so it was on day three that we went back to the Portuguese red, wondering if it was still drinkable. It was glorious! The wine had opened up wonderfully - rich and complex. It's a real bargain at the price."
"This is a lovely bit of business."
"Soft and spicy, with plenty of rich black fruit and mellow tannins. Excellent value for an everyday glugging red."
wineanorak.com 7th Dec 2020
"90% Castelão, 10%
alicante bouschet. Lovely pure fruit: sweet and supple with lots of refinement
for the price. 88/100 Jamie Goode"
The Guardian 28th Nov 2020
… if you’re putting in an order, you may fancy
stocking up on the Society’s cheap and cheerful Portuguese Red for your party
… oh no, we’re not having those this year, are we? Let’s just call them basic
everyday reds, then. - Fiona Beckett"
The Times 28th Nov 2020
"The 50 best red wines
for winter: At long last the Society’s Portuguese white has a red sister, sourced
this time from the sandy coastal Setùbal region southeast of Lisbon. A mix of
juicy castelão with a dab of inky alicante bouschet. What you get is a terrific
dusky, spice-infused, hearty black-fruited red. - Jane MacQuitty"
The Mail on Sunday 8th Nov 2020
Steal of the century. Easy, fragrant, juicy and
joyful. Turn your roast into a rave. - Olly Smith"
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