Frei Joao Reserva Tinto Magnum
To taste the aged reds of Frei João is to taste Portuguese winemaking history. Launched in the 1950s, Frei João is Caves S. João’s Bairrada project, specializing in red and white blends of indigenous Bairrada varietals. Due to their long term positive relationships with growers in Bairrada, Caves S. João has always received right of first refusal best fruit in the region. Reds are made from the noble Baga, the high acid, bright fruited indigenous varietal of the area. In 2013, the Costa family, owners of the estate, decided to open their cellars and offer the old vintages in stock, ranging from 1959 to 2000. Wines that, when young, exhibited rustic tannins and high acidity, aged gracefully when kept in perfect condition at the winery for 20-40 years. Now, they are pristine examples of mature wines with profound finesse and irreplicable complexity. Caves S. João is the only winery in Portugal offering library releases of still wines commercially, with vintages going back to the 1950’s.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE? A classic, well-aged Bairrada red made from the indigenous Baga, considered Portugal’s most age-worthy red varietal. With its vibrant acidity and minerality, this wine clearly transmits its terroir and cool climatic influence from the Atlantic.
GRAPE: 100% Baga. Vines planted in clay soil at 75m (246 ft) elevation. The vineyards are planted in Bairrada - The place of clay. The area has a mild, maritime climate with abundant rainfall, which can make the rot-prone Baga a difficult variety to grow.
PAIRING SUGGESTIONS: A traditional and wonderful pair is roast suckling pig; this will also do well with braises and roasted game.
VINIFICATION AND AGEING: Open top fermentation with extended macerations. 24 months aging in cement tanks before being filtered and bottled.
PRODUCTION: 6,200 bottles (1.5L)
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE: These vineyards are planted in Bairrada, literally translated from Portuguese as “place of clay.” Bairrada has a mild, maritime climate with abundant rainfall, which can make the rot-prone Baga a difficult variety to grow, but also what gives the wines the acidity to age so well.
TASTING NOTES: It owns great complexity from where the fruit (cherries, raspberries) still emerge with a slight hint of ripeness and a lot of liqueur… delicious, cocoa, box of cigars, black tea conveying a feeling of dryness. A luxurious mouth, amplitude, freshness, grit, great presence, and a refreshing fruity taste, a lot of class in a long and spicy finish.