The Proof is in the Porto
Today we host Filipe Barros, youngest son of Manuel Angelo Barros, for Dona Matilde Wine Dinner. Now Quinta Dona Matilde did not exist until 2007, and we will taste this initial vintage from that year, but the history of this estate and their wines stretches back 80 years prior. Back when the Barros family purchased the estate in 1927. The property is one of the oldest and most esteemed in all of Douro and in 1927 the Barros family transformed the property by planting new vineyards and undertaking extensive renovations for the estate. After the renovations were complete, initial purchaser Manoel Moreira de Barros renamed the estate in honor of his wife, Dona Matilde.
Now Porto is a wine with great history and long life. I won’t get into to all of the history of Porto and its connection with England…. Bryan has warned me off of such an aside… So, back to Dona Matilde it is. The Barros family’s wines exemplify this long life and history, but alas, they were almost not to be. After a few generations of farming and wine making the estate was sold in 2006. However, upon its sale, Filipe’s father, Manuel, felt something was missing in his life. His pride in his family’s traditions and heritage led him to make an offer to buy back the winery, which he did a few months later and well, that brings us to their wines.
I do not have as storied of a connection with Quinta Dona Matilde as the Barros Family, no one does. Nor do I have as rich a connection to them as Bryan does, as he had the privilege of visiting the estate back in 2013 during one of his vinicultural excursions. Jerk. (Ok, Ok, I’ll stop being bitter about it, I really will, I promise.) No, I was not introduced to them until I purchased a bottle of their DOC Douro from the shop shortly after I began working for Bryan. I was somewhat familiar with the DOC Douro, having championed it in the market place in four states and had my crack at tasting more than a few bottles over the years. However, I was new to this estate and this wine, and what a wine it was. Blended from Toriga Nacional, Toriga Franca, and Tinta Amarzla it held a vibrant ruby color when held up to the sunlight. Good acidity allowed for red fruits flavors such as macerated strawberries and cherry to be balanced with baking spices and Black Mission figs on the finish. Truly a delight. I needed more, more of this wine and more from this producer. Quickly I searched the shelves at OWS for more wines from Dona Matilde. At the time I did not find any more dry wines by Dona Matilde, but I did spy a bottle of their Finest Reserva Porto, a Reserve Ruby. Well I wasted zero time and purchased the Porto. I was not disappointed, far from it in fact. It was a great Reserva Ruby, brimming with wild blackberry, bramble berry, spices (clove, allspice, cinnamon), and a real jamminess.
These were the only wines from the estate I had tried prior to helping Bryan and Jonas plan this wine dinner. While planning I was able to sample the remainder of the wines we will be using for the dinner. To say each of their wines is unique and special is a bit of a cliché but it is also not wrong.
Each is unique and special.
If they were not we would not be doing a wine dinner with them. Nor would I be writing a blog about them, and the shop would not be carrying them. As we are and I am I would think that the proof is in the Porto.