A Portuguese Original

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Quinta de Chocapalha Castelão 2014

Castelão, one of Portugal’s most famed and widely planted varieties, is known for its beautiful, fruit character. Quinta de Chocapalha’s interpretation of this varietal is a stunning example. Fermented in stainless steel and aged in French oak for 12 months, this Castelão retains its fresh fruit essence long after its 6 month of refinement in bottle.

Quinta de Chocapalha Castelão is a radiant purple in color with an alluring nose of fresh raspberries, ripe cherries and subtle nuances of cocoa. The silky tannins and supple body attribute great balance and elegance to the palate. The perfect pairing for casual barbecue or charcuterie plates.

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Its a Cabernet Guys

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Right a whole of the wines we talk about here are made from “interesting” grape varieties like Albarino, Zweigelt and Gruner Veltliner, that is not to say Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and the more common ones aren’t interesting but generally we tend to stick to the more exotic sounding ones. Well recognising this and needing a nice bottle of red wine to entertain some friends last friday evening i decided to grab the first “regular” wine that I saw on the shelves. Turned out to be a Cabernet Sauvignon, which was nice because I have noticed that Cabernet tends to ignored quite often in our little shop as boring and typical! This wine however was slightly different coming as it did from Quinta de Chocapalha, in Lisboa in Portugal.

The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown on the Tavares family estate, and aged for 16 months in oak, about half of which was new. An intense violet colour, the nose is classic Cabernet with elegant and restrained blackcurrant fruit and some herby notes and a hint of mint. In the mouth juicy cassis and blackberry fruits are complimented dark chocolate and cocoa, and again a touch of fresh mint. A really elegant red that opens up beautifully and was difficult to convince my friends was a Cab. To me the style sits nice between the tightly restrained style of good Bordeaux and the sometimes overly fruity Chilean and Aussies.

Vinho Branco

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The delightful Portuguese words for white wine, and with stunning fortified wines, Port and Madeira and great reds from Douro, Dao, Lisboa, and Alentejo is it any wonder that Portuguese whites get over looked, much the same as their Iberian neighbours whites are over looked! (More on that another day). We import directly over 20 wines from Portugal from 5 different family owned estates and stock another 20 or so wines from Portugal. Out of that 40 or so different wines we have only 4 whites. That is a 10% of the total, no other country except for Spain is this figure even as low as 25%. But i waffle below are 3 crisp and refreshing Portuguese whites that we stock.


Bajancas Branco Douro 2011
A refreshing blend of Robigato, Gouveio and Malvasia Fino. Fresh and fruity with a hint of grapiness and. Some crisp lemon fruit. Nice and  refreshing with pure fruit and a hint of herbiness. An appealing easy drinking style.

Quinta Chocapalha Arinto 2010, Lisboa

Probably Portugal’s most famous white grape Arinto. This wine is aged for 12 months in the cellar prior to release. Fresh bright apple and lemony nose. The palate is crisp and fresh with lovely bright fruit and some lemony freshness on the finish.

Quinta Chocapalha Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Lisboa

This is a quirky example of a grape variety we have all love.  The nose explodes with prickly nettle, citrus and pineapple fruit on the nose all over classic freshly cut grass. The palate is fresh with a racy edge and lashing of pineapple, melon and tropical fruits. An absolute much try for all wine lovers. ( Warning this is probably a Marmite wine, love it or hate it!)

Lisbon and the wonderful Quinta Do Chocapalha

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Lisboa is a prolific wine region located at the center of Portugal’s Atlantic coast. Despite being one of the country’s most productive vinicultural areas, its name remains relatively obscure, as its wines have traditionally been labeled with the names of the local sub-regions rather than of  Lisboa itself.  To further complicate matters until recently Lisboa was known as Estremadura. Confused?

We were too! But here is our take on Lisboa wine.  Most wine here is now produced under the VR (Vinho Regional) Lisboa but the area also contains 9 DOC (Listed in the image above).  More than 30 grape varieties are used (Portugal rivals Italy in the diversity of its vine portfolio), the majority for white wine production. But in the past few decades the likes of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and its Bordeaux stablemate Merlot have increasingly been used, as have Portugal’s traditional (and some say superior in this climate) varieties Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz/Aragonez (Tempranillo).

We began importing some very interesting wines from this region last November, from a family run Estate call Quinta Do Chocapalha. Alice and her Husband Paulo bought their estate in the Lisboa Region in the 1980s and made significant investments in its 45ha of vineyard. The introduction of new cultivation methods has allowed the family to consolidate the quality and reputation of their wines. Their daughter Sandra is in charge of the winemaking and is famous in her own right for producing some of the Douro’s best wines (Wine&Soul Winery, which she runs with her winemaking husband Jorge Serôdio Borges and whose wines could be seen very soon on these shores). We started with five of their wines 3 reds and 2 wonderful whites.

  • Quinta De Chocapalha Arinto 2010
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Tinto 2008
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Sauvignon Blanc 2011
  • Quinta De Chocapalha Reserva 2008
  • CH BY Chocapalha Old Vine Touriga Nacional 2009