Julia Kemper, Dão, Portugal
Since first vintage in 2008, Julia Kemper has risen to be one of the top producers in Portugal's Dão region

Julia Kemper

Website: www.juliakemperwines.com

The Melo family have grown grapes in the Dão region of Portugal for several generations, but it wasn’t until 2008 that the first wines from the family were released, under the Julia Kemper label. They’re now among the best from the region.

In 2000 Julia de Melo Kemper, a Lisbon-based lawyer, was called back to her family vineyards by her father’s inheritance. But she held out, and it wasn’t until 2003 that Julia responded to the call of the land, and began farming organically.

The vineyards exist on several plots of the family farm, Quinta do Cruzeiro, with different terroirs. The altitude here is 700 metres, which is quite high. The existing 15 hectares were replanted in 2003 with a range of local varieties. In 2007, the old cellar, with its granite walls, was remodelled too: a new platform to allow gravity-fed winemaking was incorporated, and the lagars were kept but subdivided to allow smaller parcels to be fermented separately.

In 2008, the first wines under the Julia Kemper label were launched. Winemaking is assisted by the Vines & Wines consultancy.


Although these wines are made from organic grapes, they don't claim this on the label (with the exception of the entry level Elpenor wines, at the customer's request). 'They are organic because I am organic,' says Julia.



Julia Kemper Reserva Branco 2011 Dão, Portugal
This has spent two years in the cellar. 'The idea was for a white wine for food and winter time,' says Julia. Mineral and concentrated with lovely pear and peach fruit, with good acidity and some spicy complexity. Powerful stuff. 93/100

Julia Kemper Branco 2012 Dão, Portugal
Lovely matchstick and mineral precision to the nose. The palate is ripe, fresh and pure with mineral and citrus notes as well as some pear. Such a lovely expressive wine. 93/100

Julia Kemper Elpenor Rosé 2012 Dão, Portugal
Pale pink. Supple, bright and fresh with nice cherries. Simple, pure and lovely. 88/100

Julia Kemper Elpenor Tinto 2010 Dão, Portugal
Fresh and supple with attractive sweet cherry and plum fruit. Nice precision with pure cherry and berry fruits and a bit of mineral character. Lovely wine. 90/100

Julia Kemper Tinto 2009 Dão, Portugal
Warm, sweet and stylish with ripe cherries and plums, as well as spice. Quite rich but with freshness and good structure too. Developing nicely. 93/100

Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional 2010 Dão, Portugal
Dirk Niepoort visited the cellar and encouraged Julia to bottle this separately. Floral black cherry and blackcurrant fruit nose. Textured, silky, mineral palate is ripe but shows restraint: despite the power, this is an elegant wine. 94/100

Julia Kemper Curiosity 2010 Dão, Portugal
A blend of Alfrocheiro and Touriga Nacional. Lively, exotic floral black cherry nose. The palate is open and expressive with fabulous sweet blackberry fruit and also some fine, herby, tarry notes. Very expressive and a bit meaty. 94/100

Julia Kemper Tinto Reserva 2010 Dão, Portugal
Smooth, ripe and elegant with lovely purity. Mineral, spicy and fine with black cherry and plum fruit, some gaininess to the structure and real precision. Potential for further development. 95/100

See also:

The wines of Alvaro Castro
Visiting D
ão, Portugal

Wines tasted 02/14  
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