The “Whitest white”

The “Whitest white”

vinho tinto

The agency Moon Lisboa did our last campaign for our Quinta do Espinho white wine, Noémi and Quinta do Espinho Reserve.

This campaign was created with the slogan “The Whiteste of the Whites” and  “Reddest of the Red´s”.

Tiago Rebelo commented that this type of partnership´s become a “win to win”, for Tiago Rebelo this partnership  will increase the visibility of the brand.

red wine douro

For us, is an honor to be part of a Tiago Rebelo project!

Thank you Tiago at MoonLisboa

The beginning of a new vegetative cycle of the vine

The beginning of a new vegetative cycle of the vine

In March, a new vegetative cycle of the vine begins with “the weeping of the vine”. The vines that were pruned in the winter lose their sap and as the weather becomes warmer the enzyme activity of the plant begins.

After three to five weeks of this stage, the budburst or breaking of the buds starts. This vine stage is responsible for the first floral buds and the separation of the grape bunches.

Quinta do Espinho’s flowering period begun in the first weeks of May, nearly eight weeks after the budburst.

The dry and high temperatures of spring fostered the flowering and this whole new vine cycle.

The flowering lasts about ten days, it is the opening of the flowers. A successful pollination and fecundation is crucial to the production of a yielded fruit. Initially, some embryo bunches are developed and then small grains take the form of a pea bean, which will become a grape.

Our bee friends play an essential role in this stage; after all, spring is their season.

After the flowering, the grape bunches start a new maturing phase. We will comment on this phase at the end of June.

The flowering day “states” the grape harvesting day, because the later happens 100 days after the beginning of flowering. Thus, we expect to start the grape harvesting in the beginning of September.

NOÉMI – A family tribute

NOÉMI – A family tribute

When we decided to vinify a white wine, we decided to name it “NOEMI“.

It was a tribute, a nice memory.  And further, a light for the future.

Of course it had to be very special, genuine, first quality, very tasty.

The solution: like a woman in a man’s world, it had to be a white wine in the world of red ones.

A white wine winner!

BUT, WHY “NOEMI”?

Here is a summary of Noemi’s  lifestory:

“So, you want to be a wine maker? I give up the idea, my dear, that is a man’s world…”

That piece of advice came from a native from Douro, who was close to the family.

The wine maker- is now a successful executive-woman in the USA.

After this introduction, two generations before, NOEMI was born in Lisbon.

She was the grandaunt of the enologist-to be “dreamer”.

For political republican reasons, the family had moved to Lisbon, because Noemi’ s father, Victor Macedo Pinto, was the President of the Parliament during the 1st Republic.

Noemi was the fifth child in a six children family, a family where beauty prevailed.

When Noemi was a child she lived in Porto (Foz), also in Tabuaço.

Some generations ago, The Macedo Pinto family, for 250 years, had been planting vineyards along Távora valley and part of Douro valley. The: Quinta do Hospital, Monte Redondo, Rio Bom, Fornelo, Carvalhas, Espinho, Fontão and Filoco, all belonged to Macedo Pinto family. From all those “quintas”, there came the financial resources to build the “Agriculture school, the Botanic garden and many other projects.

The family lived in a beautiful Manor House in Tabuaço.

It was a republican cultivated family with intellectual motivations.

All the sons had gone to College and the daughters had attended good schools or had had foreign private teachers.

It was a sensible and responsible way to fight isolation, when one had to take one day journey from Porto to Tabuaço, beginning by train and ending by horse.

In that Man’s world, Noemi soon realized the difference between land appeal and the magic of the city.

Noemi lived an intense, fascinating life.

She was beautiful and intelligent, cultivated and sensitive, ironic and unpredictable, always a surprise. She was generous and charming.

She lived the passionate 20th century events very intensely, namely: The advent of the 1st Republic, the soviet revolution, Fátima miracle, the immobility of the “Estado Novo”, the genocide of the Spanish civil war, the hecatomb of World War II, the tragic colonial war, he 25th April revolution and the hope for a better change .

And also the fascinating post-war renewal, freedom, democracy, Women’s Lib, all the changes in the 50s, 60s, 70s…

From her marriage with an aristrocrat of Marco de Canaveses she had two sons.

She could then realize what feudalism was and very closely experienced how the discrete charm of aristocratic, conservative society functioned.

She became a widow five years later.

What could a young widow with two little children do?

She made up her mind: she left the children with their grandparents , moved to Lisbon and tried to get a job there.

“Going to Lisbon?!…  on her own…? I am leaving the children with the grandparents…?!” (many comments…) .

She left her house in Nevogilde, to where she had moved little time before becoming a widow and moved to Lisbon, where she got a job. She then visited her children regularly.

Six years later she married the doctor who had been operating one of her sons. From this second marriage she got a son and a daughter.

She then settles in Lisbon with her four children. It was a new family, a new life.

Having married a famous surgeon, a humanist, also an aristocrat, but a progressist related to the finest intellectual society, Noemi had the chance to enrich her intellectual background making acquaintance with interesting and famous artists, namely musicians, painters, sculptors, writers… and became convivial among them, often entertaining and having them as guests.

“We went to concerts together, we used to write letters to each other, we were close friends, deep feelings of affection with little words spoken….

It was through Noemi that I learned about Vieira da Silva’s paintings, that I heard about Nietzsche, that I began to enjoy a symphony by Beethoven, a Lied by Schubert and to feel the emotion of Pessoa’s poems… ”

Noemi was always very worried about and attentive to social problems, injustice.

Unfortunately she suffered from a terrible neurologic pathology. She adored her granddaughter.

It was her granddaughter Patricia the last person to whom she spoke when she “left” in that fatidic night of 24th December 1989.

“Some of these episodes were experienced by myself and shared. Others, were learnt and were very pedagogical. I keep them all, as a mental capital of ethics, values and principles I have tried to respect, follow and pass on”.

I am Joaquim, Noemi’s eldest son.

 

Grape harvest at Quinta do Espinho

Grape harvest at Quinta do Espinho

The crop, transport, foot treading, fermentation…. at last the grape harvest.

This year’s drought that affected Douro made us anticipate the grape harvest by two weeks, there is no memory of such anticipation.

Although the early start of the grape harvest, this decision, like in former years, was made just a few days before its beginning, because grape maturation is determined by grape caste, local and exposition.

The grape harvest starts on the first day of the crop. Due to the specific terrain characteristics, the grape harvest is manually made, which allows the knowledgeable worker to select which bunch of grape to harvest. Hence the expression that says that the harvest starts in the vine!

 

Once, this manual and human character of the grape harvest, always present in the Douro terrace landscape, was made by men who carried 70 kilos wicker baskets full of grapes, tier by tier.

Today, this transport is made by machines and the grapes are taken by Agostinho and his tractor, inside plastic boxes with a capacity of 25 kilos. These boxes assure the integrity of the grape, preventing them from being squashed by their own weight. If that happens, natural fermentation process starts.

After transport, begins the grape selection, foot threading or crushing in the lagar or in stainless steel wine vats. Then, fermentation occurs for 7 days, followed by pressing, encuba and wine ageing.

At the end of the day, we are ready for the foot threading. It is a joy to step into the lagar with the children and friends that stay for dinner

Every year someone takes a dive, this year, was Zé Pedro’s turn!

We believe that 2017 will be a year of exceptional Harvest!

 

 

 

Ampara

Ampara

After the pruning, the first sprouts start coming up and then the flower and the pollination and, in the end, the fruit is born in the beginning of May.

At this stage, the works on the vineyard are called “ampara” the conduction and pruning of the new branches that are essential to a balanced vine, to receive light, to control its strength and levels of productivity and to provide adequate conditions for grape maturation.

According to regional terminology, the “ampara” is orienting and securing the new branches with wicker or rushes to the simple or double wiring that is immediately above the conducting wire. It is extremely important that this operation is executed at the right time and as soon as possible, because the growth is very fast at this stage.

Note:  According to a time sequence, the following interventions in the vine and production are usually considered: removal of water shoots, vegetation orientation, nipping, removing of outer leaves (when needed) and thinning of bunches (when needed).

Douro “warriors”

Douro “warriors”

In 2014, with 92 years of age, she made her last grape harvest at Quinta do Espinho.

Camila was not only a woman who was born, grew up and lived, worked and died in Douro.

She learnt working the vine with her parents, who had learnt it with their parents and those with the previous generation. These men and women work the whole year towards the harvest moment. They live of the land and for the land.

Still today, the wine produced in this land needs man labour. This praise to all “warriors”, embodied by Camila, is to us a synonym of a great respect and appreciation for the Douro people.

Douro’s oldest vines (1750), planted in traditional terraces supported by stone walls, were built by hand by the Douro “warriors”. Centuries of hard work in extreme climate conditions do not come as little to anyone.

With one of the most distinctive terroirs of the wine culture history, these terraces provide for one of the most fantastic landscapes in the world.

Note:  The vine demands an eleven-month work period per year, during the whole flowering cycle of the vine (from December to October).