Maritavora Reserva Tinto
Quinta da Maritávora was founded in the mid 19th century in the Upper Douro. Today, it is still a family-owned and operated winery, making it one of the oldest such operations in Portugal. Between 1870 and 2003, the estate operated as a grower for the port shipper Cockburns, selling all of its fruit for Port wine production. In 2003, Manuel Gomes Mota, the great great grandson of the estate’s founder, took control of the estate, and quickly shifted the focus of the winery. Because of its higher altitude and distance from the Coa river, Mota believed (correctly, in hindsight) that the vineyards would be better suited to unfortified production. With its cool growing season and significant diurnal-nocturnal temperature deltas, Mota is able to preserve freshness and acidity in his fruit, along with significantly longer hangtime than his neighbors to the south of the DOC. Now much more focused on table wines, the ethos of this tiny estate is based upon the idea of preserving both heritage and terroir of the Douro, exemplified by organic farming, minimal intervention winemaking, and the use of exclusively indigenous varietals. Foot pigeage, indigenous yeasts, and fermentation in cement lagares are all part of the picture at Maritávora. The Tinto Reserva is a field blend from a variety of plots. It is pressed with foot pigeage, and fermented in lagare, then aged in French oak for 18 months. It is a fresh, mineral red, showing the elegant side of the Douro.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? This is a traditional Douro field blend from 50+ year old vines. Organic viticulture and minimal intervention winemaking provide a clear expression of terroir. Its freshness and minerality are a testament to the unique terroir and microclimate at Maritávora.
RATING HISTORY: 2012 93IWR; 2011 93RP
GRAPE: 40% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz, 10% other varieties. Organically farmed vineyards planted from 1965-2000. Tended in rocky schist at 500 m (1,640 ft) elevation.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: Roast lamb, suckling pig, rich braises.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Hand harvested. Foot pigeage and fermentation in cement lagare. Aged in new French oak for 18 months.
PRODUCTION: 1,000 cases (12 pack)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: Maritávora is located in the Upper Douro, near the border with Spain. Vineyards are planted at 500m elevation in rocky schist. The climate is continental, with significant diurnal-nocturnal temperature differences – as much as 35 degrees during the growing season. Rainfall averages 600mm/yr. Temperature April-October is 67.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
TASTING NOTES: This is a sensational effort. Black raspberry, blueberry, graphite, licorice and forest floor are the hallmarks of a great dry red wine, and this wine possesses all of those in abundance. It's medium to full-bodied, shows terrific minerality, wonderful precision, purity and texture. This is a sensational wine and comes across like a wine that sells for two to three times this price point. Drink now through 2020, or even longer.