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Lavradores de Feitoria, Branco Douro 2019
Malvasia Fina, Gouveio, Siria
Malvasia Fina 60%, Gouveio 30%, Siria 10%
An unoaked and expressive dry white from the Douro valley that combines the weight of Malvasia with the freshness of local grapes Siria and Codega. Despite the lack of oak there's still quite a bit of texture here so this pairs very well with chicken and other poultry dishes.
Grapes come from the family vineyards planted along the Douro valley that have an average age of 25 to 30 years. Selecting the higher altitude vines for this wine. Vinification and ageing all take place in stainless steel in order to preserve freshness and as much varietal character as possible.
Lavradores de Feitoria is a collaborative venture bringing together 18 Quintas from all three subregions of the Douro. It's a sort of modern co-operative. The eighteen Quintas would find distribution tricky on their own, so they have joined forces to create a brand that is big enough to meet the needs of the market. But to have all the grapes disappear in a communal pot would take away some of the motivation to excel, and so the best Quintas get separate bottlings. Winemaking and viticultural advice is shared among the Quintas, with Paulo Ruao the chief winemaker. The wines are made at the modern winery in Sabrosa, and also at the Casa de ateus. Altogether, there are 32 shareholders, 18 of which are grape growers (these have the majority of the shares). There is a board of five: Fernando Albaquerque (president, owner of Casa de Mateus), Dirk Niepoort, Olga Martins (CEO), winemaker Paulo Ruao and Enrico Carrapatoso. Olga studied as a winemaker originally, and wanted to make wine, but when she started working for Lavardores she began helping in the commercial side of the company. She still keeps her hand in the winemaking side, but now most of her responsibilities are in running the company. - Jamie Goode.