Quinta do Mouro
Miguel Louro bought the historic Quinta do Mouro on the outskirts of the town of Estremoz in 1979. There was no winemaking then. 15 years later, in 1994, the first grape harvest was processed and when it hit the market a few years later, it became immediately clear that Miguel does not make ordinary wine.
In the late 1980s, Miguel had decided to plant a vineyard on his property. He drew inspiration from old sources about the historical activity on his quinta. The oldest buildings on the quinta date back to the 18th century, and not only was a space for wine production provided back then (which is still being used today), the wines made there back in the day appeared to be held in high regard. That had to mean there was potential.
Since then, Quinta do Mouro has become one of the most important references in Alentejo. With a total area of 30ha, Miguel Louro is by no means among the region's major producers, but the quality of his wines is high. In 2016, his sustained exercise in quality was recognized by the Portuguese wine press and Miguel was voted producer of the year.
Most of the vineyards are located around the estate on the north side of the city of Estremoz. Most striking and defining characteristics are the altitude and soil. Estremoz is some 400m above sea level, which helps to temper the summer heat somewhat, especially at night. The soil is an alternation of clay and rock (marble and slate). The main grape varieties are Aragonês, Alicante Bouschet, Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional, Trincadeira, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Miguel takes a very traditional approach to winemaking and modern technology thus remains limited. The equipment used is simple. This makes it a puzzle during the harvest period to get all the grape material processed in the historic adega.
The grapes are received outside, destemmed or not, and collected in open tanks (lagares). In it, the first skin soaking occurs. Only then is the must transferred to inox tanks in the old adega. A genuine old-timer is used for pressing. The traditional vertical presses are much less user-friendly than the modern pneumatic models, but the result is noticeably better for red wines. Often at Quinta do Mouro the finest juice appears to come out of the press. After fermentation, most wines move to a barrel room opposite the adega. Miguel Louro uses wooden barrels of various origins and tonneliers. The percentage of new barrels is kept limited.
Maturation is finally completed in bottle.
The best wines invariably age for more than five years on the estate. Miguel Louro thus instinctively adopted an approach that more and more winemakers are reintroducing today. Throughout time, the task of preservation shifted from producer to consumer because every producer and merchant wanted to monetize their wares as quickly as possible. Now that it appears that many consumers drink their bottles far too early, they are reverting to the approach of yesteryear.
Therefore, to underscore the delights of a perfectly aged bottle, a tasting at Quinta do Mouro is not complete without a few older specimens in the glass.
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