Ladeira da Santa
Ladeira da Santa
Ladeira da Santa is driven by owner, Arlindo Cunha, the dynamic president of Dao's CVR (Wine Board) with help from João Paulo Gouveia, of Vines and Wines fame, who advises on viticultural and winemaking duties. Arlindo's son João -- an avid mountain biker -- has taken over the winemaking reins full time now. The winery is relatively new and kitted out with a stainless steel lagar, cooling tubes and mechanized grates to keep grape skins saturated over night. Photovoltaic solar panels tower above the vines help power the winery. Where the winery is new, the vineyards stick with the tried and true mix of Dao's oldest grapes, Touriga Nacional and Alfrocheiro.
Located in the South West, where Dao opens out to coastal influences, diurnal temperature shift there during September's harvest time are amongst the greatest in Portugal. With temperatures reaching 35º C during the day then 8º at night, this 20+ degree shift preserves natural acidity and slows ripening. As a result, whites are relatively fresher and lighter, therefore easily dominated by new oak barriques. Taking this into consideration Ladeira's wines opt for a higher mix of neutral old oak, rather than new barrels.
In tasting through Ladeira's range of wine I found it interesting that as Touriga Nacional is reduced in mixture and Alfrocheiro is increased, the flavor profile shifted from black fruits to red fruits. Similarly what had been fuller bodied then became relatively lighter, finer, more linear and displayed an increase in acidity. I especially like that the percentages of Ladeira's blends change every year following the vintage's lead.
Overall, this producer has found a good mix of modern and traditional wine making practices which combine to illustrate yet another of Dao sub-regional stylistic possibilities. Given what I've seen so far, both Laderia da Santa and this part of Dao have a very promising future.
View Ladeira da Santa wine notes here.
Stainless steel lagar
Arlindo with Modern tank