Blind Tasting – Carrocel 2011 and Fortifieds

by | Jul 19, 2018 | Wine | 0 comments

Today it smelled like summer in Costa de Caparica. Weekend, Sun, some heat, and a lot of people on the streets and on the beach. This year the summer seems to arrive later, but sometimes occur days like today …

The guests arrive. We’re putting the table and treating of the cups, bottles and decanters. Our somellier Sofia is already in place. We can start.

Today the blind tasting is “mixed”: 4 red wines and 6 fortified wines. But, to start, to prepare the palate, this is a white, also in blind tasting (except for me, I’m writing this because I took …):


  • Region: Tejo
  • Type: White
  • Producer: Companhia das Lezírias
  • Grape varieties: Fernão Pires
  • Alcohol content: 12.5%
  • Price: 30€

A wine from a single grape variety, but of old vines. Citrine yellow color. Citric aroma and wood (because the oak). On the palate it is well-balanced, fresh, tasty, medium body, with acidity in the point and pleasant end. It is not dazzling but is good. The note was virtually consensual.

  • 17 Points

And we then for the reds. We decided to try the 4 Body version Carrocel 2011. These days, it is fashionable to do many experiments, emerge with new labels and new brands. It is often synonymous with “wine dispersion”, what, almost invariably, it’s not good. Other times, it’s pure marketing.

However, Álvaro de Castro has accustomed us to try, but not to disappoint us. It is not by chance that the Quinta da Pellada is a partner in Wine4people. This partnership, based only (never hurts to mention) in dissemination and mutual admiration. Therefore, all the more reason to do this experiment. In fact, it’s not often a same wine have 4 versions, namely: Carrocel “sais normal” Carrocel “false late release”, Carrocel late release and Golden Carrocel.

For starters, elucidate the first 3 are really ‘ the same wine “. The Golden Carrocel (which are usually only 500 bottles) comes from a vineyard other than that of the Carrocel. The grapes are Touriga Nacional, only chosen in old vine Pellada (where there are numerous varieties all mixed up). The vineyard Carrocel is an individualized, old vine but with half the age of the other, only with strains of Touriga Nacional, and that, in the words of engineer Álvaro de Castro, provides you with the your best wine, although I don’t know why.

Thus, the Carrocel said normal, had the stage your usual, was bottled sometime in 2013, did your internship in bottle and went to the market. All normal. But, at that time, it was decided not to bottle any wine. The 5000-6000 bottles normally produced by each Carrocel harvest, were made less, because I had the idea of making the experience and let the wine intern more time in oak. After 2 winters later, in January 2015 is bottled the Carrocel Late Release, leaving shortly after for the market, with a higher price. But, in the interim period, a new consignment of 2011 Carrocel leaves for market, with an internship in much larger bottle (some say the wine of this “second shipment” was bottled slightly later). The bottles come out to the market, with exactly the same label, being almost impossible to distinguish this “false late release of normal Carrocel. A small thing can distinguish: the capsule. The first shipment of bottles the capsule is completely black, and later, it was at this time that Quinta da Pellada adopted the colour red in this House, at the top of the capsule. The bottles of the fake late release will have this new capsule.

Having said that, it’s time to move on to the tasting notes, in chronological order. It should be noted that all 4 wines have an alcoholic strength of 13% vol and remind you that the Carrocel is a single grape of Touriga Nacional:

CARROCEL 2011 (normal)

Chemical aroma and Minty. On the palate it is well-balanced and doesn’t have great body. Elegant, with integrated wood, and end long.

  • 17 Points


Scent very similar to the previous one. In your mouth clearly has a more intense flavor and is more acidic. Is it’s not as elegant food, and has an extended ending.

  • 17 Points


Pleasant flavour, slightly vanilla. Intense in the mouth as the second, but as elegant as the first (or more). Prolonged and nice ending.

  • 17.5 Points

CARROCEL 2011 (said False Late Release)

Least the first chemical flavour, with Touriga wanting to appear. Fruity, elegant, and end with some acidity.

  • 17 Points


  • The wines have a profile like that (especially the first and the last, as one would expect), but the gold was considered to be the best, maybe for balancing intensity and elegance.
  • The Late Release is of all, one that is clearly to last … Seems even green … It’s the most intense, and the less elegant…
  • After all, stress that we expected more of the wines. Because we tend to rank better Carrocel…
  • In terms of prices: currently it’s hard to say, since prices are increasing. The Carrocel 2011 cost (on average) 55 euros. The harvest of 2012 came already 60 euros. The Late Release cost around of 64 euros. It’s hard to find … And gold is still harder to find: the harvest of 2010 sold out quickly (cost around of 70 euros); the of 2011 was most to China. And I have never seen before 2012.
  • In short: the normal Carrocel might already be in decline. The Late Release is to last. And gold is at the point.


We are a country that may have the greatest diversity and quality of fortified. We decided to, from a symbolic point of view, prove (blind) at least one of each type of fortified that are made in our country, without any kind of rule or goal (price, year, etc). Let’s go (also in chronological order):


  • Alcohol content: 19.5%
  • Price: 19.90€

Was almost extinct this caste, but now already exists in reasonable quantity in the Setúbal Peninsula region. This wine has aged for 10 years in small barrels of 200 litres, previously used for the maturation of whisky. Caramel aroma and alcohol. On the palate it is intense, very honey and some unctuousness, with relatively long ending. Little freshness and acidity, so we don’t get a Moscatel roxo.

  • 16.5 Points


  • Alcohol content: 18.5%
  • Price: 29.90€

Will we see the rebirth of this generous? Forgotten, very limited production, with the vines always at risk, given the powerful Predator: your real estate pressure. This wine was made from grapes Arinto, Galego Dourado and Mouse, from limestone terrain, with slopes to the South and subject to winds from the North. Aged in French and Portuguese oak barrels for a period of 15 years. Complex aroma, to denote any salinity. On the palate it is unctuous, caramel-flavored and aromatic herbs. End relatively prolonged. Maybe slightly nauseating.

  • 16.5 Points


  • Region: Madeira
  • Type: Madeira Wine
  • Grape varietal: Sercial
  • Producer: HM BORGES
  • Alcohol content: 20%
  • Preço: 78€

Amber golden color more than the previous ones. It smells like Wine without a doubt: a lot of salinity, and iodine. Body on the palate to taste, is tasty and dry end with good acidity. Another overnighter well achieved by HM Borges. Already had proven before.

  • 17.5 Points


  • Region: Setúbal
  • Type: Fortified
  • Grape varietal: Moscatel
  • Producer: José Maria da Fonseca
  • Alcohol content: 17.5%
  • Price: 11.30€

Alambre is a classic brand of José Maria da Fonseca. Clear aroma and inequivoco the moscatel. Some salinity, less body and distinctly less extended than the ending first. Some balance in General, but there is no doubt that the complexity is much smaller in relation to the other. But it’s still nice.

  • 16 Points


  • Region: Douro
  • Type: Port Tawny
  • Producer: Burmester
  • Alcohol content: 20%
  • Price: 39.90€

A Tawny bottled in 2007. Color blurred a bit. Aroma of raisins. On the palate it is a lot of passes, little dry fruit. The alcohol is in evidence. Some unctuousness and complexity, and end quite reasonable.

  • 17 Points


  • Region: Douro
  • Type: Port Vintage
  • Producer: Quinta do Vale Meão
  • Alcohol content: 19.5%
  • Price: 60€

A mythical year for Vintage ports. The intense aroma red fruits makes sense what’s coming in the mouth: a vintage and still too young. Clearly a nectar to taste later.

Wine4people, 19th May, 2018

  • 16.5 Points


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *