Quinta dos Carvalhais (Sogrape)
Sogrape, Portugal’s largest and one of its most progressive wine companies, have produced Dão wine since the late 1950s. Prior to purchasing Quinta dos Carvalhais in 1988, Sogrape bought up finished wines locally from co-ops and then blended and bottled these outside of the region as Dao wines.
One cannot overstate the importance of Quinta dos Carvalhais in driving the shift towards increased quality within Dao over the last two decades. After building a massive, modern winery within the Mangualde subregion (near Nelas and Alcafache) they provided growers with a viable alternative to co-ops. Perhaps more importantly, Carvalhais rewarded quality over quantity creating an economic incentive for growers to improve viticultural practices.
Carvalhais estate plantings now total 50 hectares, all in traditional Dao reds (Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tinta Pinheira) and whites (Encruzado, Assario, Verdelho, Bical and Cerceal). First planted in 1989, this provided Sogrape with the possibility of terroir specific bottlings and experimental material to understand each grape variety’s true potential as a single varietal and within blends.
Their Grão Vasco, made from bought in grapes, is sold throughout Portugal and has become a benchmark, everyday Dao wine for everyman. The portfolio builds on top of this with mid-range Duque de Viseu red and white, and an upper range of top quality single varietals; Colheitas and Reservas drawn exclusively from the estate. Every five or so years a special reserve wine, called Unico, is produced from the best varietal from an extraordinary vintage.
Winemaker, Manuel Vieira has been with the quinta from the start providing stylistic continuity. All of his wines are marked by their purity, focus and sense of restraint.