Quinta da Pellada Visit – Part 2
Interview with Álvaro de Castro
1. (w4p) – Expected when picked up on the farm (almost 40 years Ago) get where it arrived, achieve the notoriety it hit?
(AC) – Has never been a short-term goal… Notoriety was not my goal. It is obvious that it is necessary: if we are not known, we are not going anywhere… I’d say notoriety is a necessary evil.
2. (w4p) – Quinta de Saes 1989 was the first Wine. Tell us a little about the history of this wine: what vineyards? What particularities? How was the review? How was sales?…
(AC) – The grapes came from the old vineyard of the farm of the pella, although also a little of the grapes of Saes (in fact, There was an old vineyard in Saes, which I’m sorry it has disappeared). The year was very Fresh. The success that the wine had was not very large, because it was a wine that was not what was sought at the time… Although it was a very traditional thing… I think if it was today, the wine would have been a lot more successful. I can still remember him: it was a simple wine, desirable, that gave pleasure to Drink.
3. (w4p) – Three years later, the first Quinta da Pellada comes. Did you feel the need to distinguish between two levels?
(AC) – This wine was made with grapes only from the old vineyard of the pelled, of the portion which I call the house pellu today. I have very good memories of Him. It was a balanced wine, but it was a wine with more pretensions yes…
4. (w4p) – How did you meet Dirk Niepoort? Who had the idea to make the partnership of the DADO?
(AC) – I met him because he called Me. I already knew him, anyway, say the social part… But I didn’t know him personally. He called me, and it was his idea… At the time, they said that he and I had “the best aromas of Portugal”… He offered to make me some wine and I said Yes. The data had an idea behind it, which was the idea of his father: that the best wine of Portugal was the combination of the Douro’s strength with the elegance of the Dão. There were some replicas of this situation at the time… I think there was a Real old company wine, and others… The reason this idea of Dirk’s father probably comes from that.
5. (w4p) – The Carrocel came in 2003. We already know you don’t know why from that vineyard you get your best wine. But the question is, why do loads of water have that name?
(AC) – This has to do with winemaking, and, oddly enough, once again, with my conversations with Dirk. One day, we went to naples, and I took a bottle of Carrocel 2003 (which had no name yet), and he liked it immensely. And he asked me, “but how do you do this?” And I said to him, “man, this is a bullfight!” I have two mills, I pulled through the vineyards… At the time I made this kind of winemaking, which I do not do today… The idea was not to make a wine more intense, but to realize what was worth that national Touriga. And then, He made some kind of winemaking where it might have something to do with the Ripasso, but I didn’t raise the alcohol grade, and I walked with the grape juice from one mill to the other… And he said, “man, That’s a great carousel!” And I said, “look, man, big name!” And we decided it was that Name. The Carrocel brand was initially registered by Niepoort. But the wine was mine, and then the Mark stayed for Me.
6. (w4p) – Why Carrocel only comes in 2003? And why does the Primus only appear in 2006?
(AC) – That’s a great Question. I don’t know!… The Carrocel only came up in 2003 because it happened that way. These things don’t come all at once. We were at the stage where the national Touriga began to have a very big success. And my experiences with the national Touriga were made under the label of Quinta da Pellada, and I, if I have any traits, is that I do not go much in what is fashionable, and I do not believe in things just because it is said that such a thing is So. I wanted to understand myself if it was any Different. At that time, I was not so keen on the issue of terroir, but rather more towards the caste itself… But I came to realize later that I was wrong. And when it began to be very notorious, it was a test promoted by Virgilio Loureiro (who was even passionate about the Dão). He even pulled more by the region than by the specific Location. But it was with him that I began to understand the importance of the terrain and all that constitutes this terroir. And in fact, I started to convince myself that that parcel was better… It was!
The Primus 2006: I’ve been making that white wine ever since. It was a farm in Saes. In fact, maybe the best white wine I ever made was a Saes 1994, or something. He even had a lot of success outside of Portugal. I sold a lot of that wine to Sweden. A huge amount… it was a precious wine and it was this Vineyard. It was a Saes reserve that was very good. With the Primus we began to make the first attempts to use the Wood. And to use a kind of winemaking a little more to the French. And it was the first time we made that kind of winemaking. Hence the name, which entered so well that ended up staying. Although even french, french, it was more this last year, this Quinta de Saes Encruzado Reserve Late Release 2015.
7. (w4p) – The only question about numbers: how many acres? How many bottles/year? Percentage of white/red/rosé? Percentage of exports? Main markets?
(AC) – 65 Acres. The number of bottles depends: 200-300, 000. 80% red, 15% White and 5% rosé. Although the rosé has grown in recent times, and the White also a little. White is the only thing I do that is not exclusively from our VINEYARDS. I also see some grapes from my cousin, from a Galizes sales Vineyard. The export is variable, but it is more than 50%, at least in Value. We cannot say that there are major markets. Northern Europe is important: more Norway than sweden, belgium, holland, germany, switzerland… It’s been… This is never done for a lifetime. It’s varying… For Belgium has been more constant because we have a customer who is a lover of the Dão and the Pellada in particular.
8. (w4p) – In 2010, after several years of absence, the tradition of Pellada in varietals was revived: Jaen, Alfrocheiro, Alvarelhão… Is it to continue?
(AC) – Eventually. yes, I Guess. Not in a regular way, but if I find that wine has interest in being released “alone” I will continue to do so.
9. (w4p) – currently, In addition to the 2 standard brands, Saes and pelled, There is a third brand: Quinta de Pinhanços… and then there are a number of other labels/brands: Muleta, Dente de Ouro, Barragem, Pellada Casa/Alto/49, Saes Caniças… You’re not afraid There’s some oenological dispersal????
(AC) – Not at all. Wine dispersion I’m not afraid of Certainty. Because the oenology is inside my will, and that’s not going to Happen. What this may entail is some confusion for the consumer: not for the interested consumer, who will be attentive, but for the Other. And at the end of the line, I’ve always been known for it, and I think I’m going to die that way.
10. (w4p) – We hear you’re leaving the Carrocel Dourado (Golden Carousel). Why?
(AC) – If the Carrocel Dourado (Golden Carousel) continues, it will be possible, and in that line of grape varieties Alone. More editions may happen, but never in a regular way.
11. (w4p) – Who would you like to make a wine with?
(AC) – That’s the hardest of all!… I don’t feel like it. I liked the experience with Dirk, and eventually we will continue to do. But then it became a fad, and I have no interest in it.
12. (w4p) – The future? Have you ever made your best wine? What do you want to keep doing?
(AC) – No. I think my best wine ever, I don’t think I did. well, I don’t do it anymore… he shows up! and I’m waiting for him to show up (laughs). I’m Always Waiting. There are always surprises… For example, in 2017, I thought it was a bad year… And now I’m silent… not to Miss Again! (laughs) I really thought it was terrible: it’s all the opposite of what I’ve been defending all my life, and all of a sudden… it seems to be getting good!
The future? The future is not very different from what i, more and more, think I have a chance of doing today, which is my ambition ever: making wines of excellence, which give me great pleasure… I think the Pellee has all the conditions to enter an intimate phase, more upset for us… This may be perceived as arrogance, but it is not arrogance at all! If I am in any way concerned with trade, it would disturb me, especially my action. And what gives me pleasure to do, is something that is outstanding, that I really like, that makes me feel completely fulfilled. And for that, what does it take? It takes some economic ceiling, not to be concerned with sales, and to worry only about the production part, and maybe restrict it.
We Finished! Thank you very much!
We still have to get to the barrels before lunch!
W4p, 9 June 2018