Wednesday, 30 November 2011

CUWS M11 - Alves de Sousa & Quinta da Gaivosa

Wednesday 23 November 2011.

A tasting of Alves de Sousa & Quinta da Gaivosa wines for Cambridge University Wine Society, led by their winemaker Tiago Alves de Sousa. I cannot find any UK retailer who stocks these wines, so there arent any retail prices indicated - their UK agent is Top Selection (

2009 Branco da Gaivosa Reserva White

Yellowish gold tinge. White fruit, peaches; slightly alcoholic, lots of high notes, almost of ether. On the palate, shows fresh acidity; the oak influence gives some texture, fuller in style, not just your simple quaffing wine. Very together: fruit, acid and oak integrated. Balanced wine.

2004 Alves de Sousa Reserva Pessoal White

Golden in colour. Rich white fruits, followed by toasted oak, distinctly nutty; some almonds, fino sherry like even, flint and struck match. Complex, oxidised nose. Fat acidity, savoury on the palate, this is completely weird, does taste oxidised like sherry. So much presence though, lingering nutty, smoky tones. Bizarre, yet wonderful - I love it, but no doubt some people will take offence at this style of winemaking.

2008 Quinta da Vale da Raposa Touriga Nacional

Dark fruits, cassis; woody, licorice and sweet vanilla shows; smells alcoholic, almost confected, very dark compote. Load of dark fruits on the palate but its not particularly thick, expected much bigger; as it is, shows forward jammy fruits, good acidity, ripe tannins. Drinks well now, to at least 3 years.

2005 Quinta da Gaivosa Red

Good dark fruit profile, compote, licorice, chocolate, mocha; its rather aromatic, almost floral, for a red wine. Greater concentration of fruit; extracted, more sustained on the mid palate, feels slightly hot; at the moment rather closed, though its obvious the bottle aging has benefited this wine. Tannins grainy, grips around. Needs time to open and soften. 2015-2020+

2007 Quinta da Gaivosa Vinha de Lordelo Red

Dark fruits, woody stems and notes of coffee and mocha. Good fruit, dark and extracted; feels quite hot, tannin does grip, all balanced by a nice dollop of acidity. Good tannic structure and concentration, a tad muscular; the 15.5% abv starts becoming apparent, but carries it well enough, not unbalanced. Will age with ease 2015-2020+

2007 Abandonado Red

From vineyards that have been abandoned and left to grow wild, hence the name.
Dark cherry compote, some cassis, sweet vanilla and mocha. Really dark fruit, serious extraction, lots of bramble. Plenty of depth, tannic and acid structure, muscular; grips a bit too much at the moment. Needs time to soften and open. 2015-2025+

NV Caldas White Port

Funky cheese, vegetal; spritz, air freshener; then green olives, fennel, dill, good amount of green notes It is sweet, obvious fresh and sweet fruit; sweet apples and nectarines, complex with some oxidative character too. Rather unusual - I have no reference point for this wine.

10yo Quinta da Gaivosa Tawny Port
A- (unique style)

Deep tawny territory in colour. Sweet raisin, dried figs, nutty too; lacquer, alcohol. Fresh acidity, very memorable palate, like dried sour plums / kumquat, dried but unsweetened citrus peel; theres a strong citrus element on the palate; the acidity is rather racy and lip smacking. This is something else: so unique, so much acidity and but still a lot of sugar. One of a kind.

2008 Quinta da Gaivosa Vintage Port

Dark fruit, compote blackberry and blue berry; also coffee, dark mocha, bramble; then touches of violets - all very much like good vintage port. Dark, lots of fruit, depth; fruit is obvious and upfront, and very good concentration. Surprisingly low in tannins, not quite LBV in style, but doesn't feel like proper old school vintage port. Ripe sweet tannins which doesnt grip too much, which is completely unexpected. Don't know whether this will be a 30- 40 years kind of aging. 2015-2035.

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