Passagem White Reserve
Quinta de Bandeiras is a 100 hectare property located on the River Douro near Pocinho right opposite the famous Vale Meão. Until Vale Meão became well known in its own right, its grapes went into producing Barca Velha, the Vega Sicilia of Portugal. So Bandeiras’s location couldn’t have been more perfect.
Bought by the Bergqvist family (Quinta de la Rosa), the wine is called PASSAGEM and is a joint venture between Jorge Moreira (wine maker) and the Bergqvists.
White ‘traditional port’ grapes that come from the old vineyards at a 400m altitude – Mainly Viosinho, Gouveio, Rabigato, Códega do Larinho.
It is very interesting to compare the two different terroirs and regions of the Douro. The wines from la Rosa have a greater minerality whilst the Douro Superior produces fruitier, aromatic, more expressive wines. Jorge successfully manages to keep the freshness and balance in these.
The white wine style is always quite similar year to year – with a good acidity, structure and minerality. Each year we make small quantities with the same vinification.
Serious aromas, white fruit notes of wine skins and quartz resulting in a discreet and elegant bouquet. On the palate the wine is more expressive, rich but balanced with excellent acidity and length. This wine will age very well.
It was a dry, hot year for much of Europe and the same for Portugal. Forest fires ravaged the countryside as everything was dry as a tinderbox. Vintaging started the earliest in living memory soon after the day of my parents 60th wedding anniversary on 17th August. Those vineyards that were low altitude and south facing suffered the most so the white vineyards with higher altitude were better placed. Temperatures were at 40C+ and there were initial signs of water stress and some dehydration. There was no rain forecast – the last time it has rained was the last week of June. A week later temperatures dropped and the marginally fresher weather helped maturation giving the grapes better aromas and more complexity of flavour.
Despite the hot, dry year in the douro superior Jorge managed to produce wines with surprising freshness and minerality.
Maturation and Bottling
Unlike the la rosa whites, Jorge allows for 2/3 days skin contact to the Passagem wine which is then aged in French oak barrels for 8 months. The wine was bottled in May 2018.