Casa Ferreirinha - Douro's Dona - 17/07/14

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As one of the Douro's greatest and most historical names, a tasting of Casa Ferreirinha was one I leapt at when Eddie McDougall, aka The Flying Winemaker, kindly invited me a few days ago. Most well known for their iconic Barca Velha, a wine which is so in demand it pretty much sells out before it comes on the market, Casa Ferreirinha, is certainly the Douro winery with the most historical clout, and one of the most dynamic. 

Founded in the 18th century by Bernardo Ferreira, the estate really became refined under the control of Bernardo's granddaughter, Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, affectionately known as "Ferreirinha", meaning "the little Ferreira". Twice widowed, Dona Antonia had a striving entrepreneurial spirit and managed to consolidate and hugely develop the large company she was left to run. By all accounts she was a very prominent and charismatic lady, not something probably all that common back then so I take my hat off to her! 

After Dona Antonia's death, the company became a limited company and began adapting to new market developments, always, however, holding on to their historical roots and their drive for quality. Now owned by Portugal's biggest producer, Sogrape, the winery continues to maintain its historical ties and keeps in close contact with members of the Ferreira family. 

Yesterday's tasting was of 5 wines. All really lovely examples of what high quality is coming out of the Douro today. I would highly urge anyone wanting something a bit different to look out for wines such as Casa Ferreirinha going forwards as not only are they of exceptional quality, they are also exceedingly good value. All the wines below are available (some in very limited quantities due to high demand) to buy through The Flying Winemaker. Happy drinking! 

Casa Ferreirinha Planalto Douro Branco Reserva 2012
A pale lemon colour. The nose is nice and fresh with some peach and pear character alongside some nice ripe lemon and a touch of tropical fruit. Medium intensity with some good complexity. On the palate it's medium bodied, dry, nice and refreshing due to high acidity, with lots of lemon character on the mid palate and peach character on the finish. Some nice savoury, salty minerality as well suggestive of the Douro terroir. A very good quality wine. The perfect match for seafood. 17 (HK$180)

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Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro White 2010
A lovely golden colour with medium intense aromas of fresh lemon with a hint of cream due to oak ageing. An elegant floral note of honey suckle. Quite full bodied on the palate with good intensity of flavour. Lemon, melon and touches of creamy vanilla oak, with spices, toast and a hint of something savoury. The creamy character intensifies with time in the glass. A touch of tannin from the oak adds to the texture and layers of this complex, concentrated wine. The oak is well balanced and in harmony with the acidity, alcohol and fruit concentration. A very long finish. A lovely wine. 17.5 (HK$210)

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Casa Ferreirinha Esteva 2012
Pale ruby in colour with purple tints suggesting its youth. Lots of fresh raspberry character from the Tempranillo in the blend. Fresh ripe red berry fruit with a touch of black plum and a nice floral character adding to the bouquet. Fairly light body with medium intensity of flavours. The aromas nicely repeat themselves as flavours on the palate. Some nice acidity keeps this wine fresh, and light ripe tannins with a bit of grip make it a nice easy drinker. Perfect served slightly chilled at around 16 degrees. Quite similar in style to a good Dolcetto as Eddie pointed out. 16.5 (HK$150)

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Casa Ferreirinha Vinha Grande Douro Red 2009
A nice deep ruby colour with some good aroma intensity. Lots of black berry fruit, black plums, black berries, black cherries, also with some red currant fruit, sweet spice, vanilla, a floral touch. Complex, concentrated and intense. Quite full body with intense flavours of black cherry black plum black berry, spice, cedar, tobacco, vanilla, oak, toast. Tannins are fairly grippy yet ripe. A long concentrated finish. Nice balance between high acidity, alcohol and fruit concentration. A very good wine 17.5 (HK$210)

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Casa Ferreirinha Quinta da Leda 2009 (Single Estate) 
Opaque ruby colour. Very floral on the nose, violets and dried roses in particular. Very bright, elegant and attractive, scented and fresh, clearly a high quality wine. Intense sweet blackberry and black cherry aromas, with some red currants, spice and oak. Full bodied on the palate with similar flavours as the aromas - ripe black fruits, black cherries, black plum, black berry, roses, oak, toast, chocolate, resin and sweet spice. Very complex. A wine which keeps on giving! High acidity with ripe yet grippy tannins. A heady wine with an extremely long finish. High alcohol is balanced with ripeness of fruit. Enjoyable now but still young with at least 10-15 years ahead of it. 18 (HK$550)

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