Highlight : Julia Kemper 2017 Elpenor Blanc de Noir

The Melo family landed in Dão’s Oliveira–Mangualde hundreds of years ago, and that’s where the vineyards and winery of current custodian / owner Julia Kemper (named for Julia de Melo Kemper) are today, at Quinta do Cruzeiro, a site that dates back to Roman times. In 2000, Lisbon lawyer Julia was called by her father, António, to continue the legacy of the Melo family, so she returned and became a farmer, and thanks to the mentorship of her friend Dirk Niepoort, moved the viticulture into organic and biodynamic practices. This humble looking branco (as is labelled for the Canadian market) is her Blanc de Noir of Touriga Nacional (a name much more magisterial), an exquisite and distinctive white built around a structural, mineral-driven frame. Dao’s granitic soils are felt in this tightly wound, medium bodied white, humming with hay, quince, subtle elderflower along a very lengthy, lees-decked, river stone bedded palate. Fermented and aged entirely in stainless, with one month of battonage, this is drinking beautifully now, but will certainly hold in cellar. 93/100

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Treve Ring

Treve Ring is a wine writer and editor, judge and speaker, and perpetual traveller. [She is also Correspondent Anorak.]