Casal Monteiro is a relatively large vineyard that is purely on the Campo terroir of the Tejo. They are just a kilometre from the river, and have sandy alluvial soils across their 72 hectares of vines (split across two sites). I met with Miguel De Jesus, who bought the property in 2009, and his winemaker Luis Santos.
We had a look through the main vineyard, next to the winery. Here we saw some old Cabernet Sauvignon, which yields a miserly (by this region’s standards) 5 tons/hectare. Then some younger Fernão Pires, a generous cropper at 15-20 tons/hectare, and Arinto which gives 10 tons/ha. There are also some newer plantings here: Viognier, Fernão Pires and Arinto. Then it was time to look at the wines.
Quinta do Casal Monteiro Branco 2022 Tejo
12.5% alcohol. Arinto and Fernão Pires – they try to blend the flavour of the Fernão Pires and the acidity of the Arinto. Stainless steel ferment. Bright, direct and very fruity with good acidity. Has lovely citrus fruit with a hint of green apple and some more exotic melony notes. Has nice presence with crisp acidity. Simple but delicious. 88/100
Forma de Arte Alvarinho 2022 Tejo
100% Alvarinho in stainless steel. Very fresh and lively with good acidity. There’s some gas battonage in the tank to give mouthfeel, and this is quite textured with lovely weight and balance. Juicy and crisp, citrus driven, but with a hint of apricot and also a twist of white pepper. Juicy, bright and lively. 90/100
Quinta do Casal Monteiro Grande Reserva Branco 2019 Tejo
13% alcohol. Varietal Fernão Pires, barrel fermented (starts in inox for first two-thirds of fermentation before going to barrel). Fresh and lively with a hint of mint and bright pear and citrus fruit with some savoury clove and cedar from the barrel fermentation, finishing bright and spicy. Has a long woody finish. 89/100
Forma de Arte Touriga Nacional 2020 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Unoaked. Bright, vivid and focused with nice spicy structure sitting under the ripe berry fruits. There’s also some black cherry and a hint of cocoa dust, with some nice acidity and grippy tannins. Lovely dense but fresh fruit here with real definition. Dusty, slightly peppery finish. 91/100
Clavis Aurea Reserva 2018 Tejo
13.5% alcohol. Field blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. Aged a year in 80% French and 20% American oak barrels. Supple and juicy with fresh cherry and blackcurrant fruit, with hints of spice, cedar and cocoa. It’s really well balanced and fresh, but also has good concentration. The influence of the river here helps them to get good concentration and flavour, yet retain freshness. Lovely weight and focus to this wine, which is polished but has some personality. 92/100
Quinta do Casal Monteiro Grande Reserva Tinto 2018 Tejo
14.5% alcohol. Touriga Nacional, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. 100% new French oak. Low yields. Ripe and concentrated with some mint and spicy vanilla oak as well as sleek blackcurrant and blackberry fruit. Ripe and smooth with great concentration and focus, but also quite a bit of oak evident at the moment. Really fresh considering the ripeness with nice focus, but needs time for the oak to integrate. 92/100
EXPLORING PORTUGAL’S TEJO REGION