The wines of Quinta de La Rosa, Douro, Portugal
Quinta de la Rosa is a beautiful Quinta, a short distance along the river from Pinhão, in the Cima Corgo subregion of the Douro. It fronts the river, and I had a lovely few days staying there back in July 2006, which is when I first got to know these wines well. Since then, the tourism facilities have been renovated and this is now a luxury destination for visitors to the Douro with 23 rooms and a swimming pool.
The Berqvist family, who at the time owned the Feueheerd Port shipping company, bought the property in 1906 as a christening present for Sophia Bergqvist’s grandmother, Claire. And while the shipping company was sold in the 1930s, La Rosa was kept by the family.
The modern story of La Rosa as a producer of Port and table wine begins in 1988. This is when Sophia Bergqvist and her father Tim decided to start making wines and Ports to market under the Quinta de la Rosa name. The wines were consistently good, but not great, until young winemaker Jorge Moreira joined in September 2002. Jorge also makes his own excellent Douro wines under the name Poeira, but is full time wine maker at La Rosa.
The next step was buying a second property in the Douro Superior, at Quinta de Bandeiras. This is a 100 hectare property not far from Pocinho, and opposite the famous vineyards of Vale Meão, which used to be the source for Barca Velha. The wine made from Bandeiras is a joint venture between the Bergqvists and Jorge Moreira, called Passagem.
La Rosa has 55 hectares of vines in the Cima Corgo, importantly with a range of different elevations: 7 ha is at 100 m, 10 ha at 150 m and the rest between 250 and 450 m. The higher you go, the cooler it gets.
Passagem by La Rosa White 2021 Douro Superior, Douro
12% alcohol. A fresh, pure, clean white wine with good acidity backing slightly pithy citrus fruit with a touch of pear. There’s a juicy intensity here. 89/100
Passagem by La Rosa Reserva White 2021 Douro Superior, Douro
12.5% alcohol. This is lively, fruity and juicy with a lovely citrus and pear core, some grape and fennel notes, and a mineral, saline twist with a hint of seaweed. It’s a really pretty, bright and fresh white wine with some sour cherry notes on the finish. 91/100
Passagem by La Rosa Tinto 2020 Douro Superior, Douro
14% alcohol. Wonderfully aromatic nose with ripe but well defined floral black cherry fruit as well as some olive and meat savouriness. The palate is lush but well balanced and shows sleek black fruits with silky texture and a nice fine spicy bite adding a foil to the rich fruit. This is essence of Douro Superior, with lovely sleek ripe fruit, and it’s so enticing but also beautifully balanced. 93/100
Passagem by La Rosa Tinto Reserva 2019 Douro Superior, Douro
14% alcohol. This is quite lovely. Black cherry and blackberry aromatics with some cedar spice and charcoal hints. The palate is concentrated with sweet black fruits backed up by some dense spicy tannins, which melt into the lush fruit beautifully, providing just the required structure. This has a bright future ahead of it, but it’s delicious now. 94/100
Quinta de la Rosa Reserva Branco 2021 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. This is a blend of Viosinho, Arinto and Gouvieo, barrel fermented. Taut and intense with powerful citrus fuit, some pear and almond, and some cedary spicy oak in the background. Lots of intensity here with keen acidity keeping things bright and focused. Lovely freshness and complexity, and lots of potential for development. 93/100
Quinta de la Rosa Reserva 2019 Douro, Portugal
14.5% alcohol. Brooding black cherry and blackberry nose with some fine spicy hints, and a touch of gravel. The palate has ripe sweet black fruits but also some lovely spicy structure, and really nice detail, with dried herbs and cedar. It’s a ripe, structured and beautifully balanced Douro red with real finesse and ageworthiness, although it is approachable now. 95/100
Quinta de la Rosa Tinto Cão 2019 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. This is such a distinctive wine: it’s lighter in style but has lovely ripe, sweet cherry and berry fruit with some almond and cinnamon. Supple and with lots of drinkability, showing fresh cherry fruit and fine spices. There’s some oak here, but also some elegance. 92/100
Quinta de la Rosa Vinha Vale do Inferno 2019 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. This is from a single plot with some of the highest dry stone terrace walls in the Douro. It’s wonderfully vivid and aromatic, and very Douro, with sweet floral black cherries and blackberries as well as some earth and spice, and some orange peel and bergamot. The palate is bold and structured with good acidity as well as firm tannins, creating a structured feel, but also sweet black fruits. Such an expressive wine with a tarry, spicy edge and lovely sleek fruit, combining so well with the structure. Lots of potential for development. 95/100
UK agent: Bibendum
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