Quinta do Casal da Granja

Quinta do Casal da Granja is located in the high plateau of Alijó (600m) around the very small village called Granja de Alijó and has a vineyard surface (75 ha) benefitting from the cool and fresh breezes which optimize the oenological potential of white wines.

Quinta do Casal da Granja was originally called Quinta da Carvalha, and was dedicated to a diverse agricultural production: vines, cereal, vegetables, apple and fig trees. There was also a reference to the gathering of livestock, with the total area of land reaching 30 ha.

The Quinta was purchased by Real Companhia Velha in 1968, and since then its was transformed into an exclusively wine producing estate.

Since the objective had been to increase wine production levels, it was fundamental to increase the area available for the culture of the vine. In the following years, many smaller neighbouring parcels where purchased, enlarging the property to its current figures of 100 ha of land, in which 77,83 ha are vineyard.

Grandjó Late Harvest

The geographical characteristics and the climate at Quinta do Casal da Granja provide it with the ideal conditions for the production of a sweet white wine affected by the noble rot.

During the 2002 harvest, the winemaking team selected a small amount of Semillon that had naturally been afected by the noble rot for an experimental vinification, with an attempt to produce a late harvest wine. The result was surprisingly positive. This initiative was inspired on a text extracted from an old oenology book (*) which divulged the work of french winemaker Professor J. Laborde, who in 1910 has produced a late harvest wine for Real Companhia Vinicola do Norte de Portugal (later was aggregated to Real Companhia Velha) at this very Quinta, and branding the wine “Grandjó”.

In the months of Autumn, the Quinta is subject to a morning dew followed by warm afternoons with good sun exposure, which create the favourable conditions for the natural development of the fungus Botrytis Cinerea on over-ripe bunches. The wine, produced using very sophysticated technology, resulted in a one of a kind Late Harvest wine that was very much complemented by critics as well as becoming very popular in the market.

This low yield harvest usually occurs during the first week of November up until Christmas. The grapes are hand picked in a very laborious process as in some occasioes, it is required to harvest more than once in the same vine, picking only the bucnhes that are affected by the Botrytis at the right level.

Recently, the company planted areas of vineyard in lower grounds, in which the earth is more fertile and more humid, showing better conditions for the production of Late Harvest Wines.

(*) “Vinificação Moderna”, by Pedro Bravo e Duarte de Oliveira, manufactured by Oficinas de «O Comércio do Porto», in 1925

Characterization, Location and Ecology.

The Quinta is located in the Cima Corgo sub-region on the plateau between Favaios and Alijó.

Unlike most of the region, this Quinta offers ideal conditions for the production of white wines, therefore fostering an innovative project, which included replanting most of its total area with white grape varietals in order to produce premium Douro whites.

With its location being right in the heart of the Alijó plateau, considered the land of Moscatel Galego, the Quinta hold the largest Moscatel based vineyard area in the country.

On this very specific terroir, we benefit from perfect conditions for the devlopment of Botrytis Cinerea (noble rot) from which a very special wine is produced: the Grandjó Late Harvest.

This property is composed by two great parcels in which the smaller, just above the road (denomination: Maquina), constitutes of 14 ha of forest, 6 ha of vineyard and urban areas. This is also the location for our vinification centre. The second and largest parcel (denomination: Carvalha) is just bellow the road and is fully planted with vines.

The gradient of Quinta do Casal da Granja is very characteristic of plateau, which reflects small, wavy hills with gentle slopes with an incline inferior to 15% and generates full sun exposure on all estate, with a predominate sothern exposure. The Quinta is located between 500 and 600 metres above sea level.

CLIMATE

Quinta do Casal da Granjá’s climate is not the most characteristic of the Douro Valley, as it experiences higher rainfall, colder winters, cooler summers and does not partake of high maximum temperatures as the Quintas located at a lower altitude, and closer to the river.
Therefore, this Quinta suffers from a low aridity index and the vines have lower water deficit during summer months. These facts support the reasons why this Quinta allows ideal conditions for the production of whites.

Meteorological data:

• Annual average temperature = 12.4ºC

• Average Temperature from April to September = 16.9ªC

• Annual Rainfall (last 30 years) = 900 mm

• Sum of all temperatures superior to 10ºC from April to September = 1,365ºC

SOIL

Quinta do Casal da Granja has two very different types of soils.

 On one side, a typical Douro xist soil with earthy textures, poor in fine elements, low in fertility, with low levels of organic matter, high acidity (pH <6), deficient in structure and in most cases, they are modified for the viticulture through the method of heavy duty ploughs (surriba).

On a different hand, the soils are typical for the Alijó plateau, as they present a thiner texture, with higher fertility index and higher levels of organic matter. These soils are acid, richer in structure and deeper.

THE VINEYARD

Total Vineyard Area: 77,83 ha

For more than 10 years, the estate has prioritized the production of white wines, therefore having an almost exclusive plantation of white grapes, with the exception of Pinot Noir.

The parcels of white grapes that have seen a recent reconversion are mainly of well-known varieties, which mostly supply the brands Grandjó, Evel and Porca de Murça.

As parcelas de castas brancas, ou talhões, cuja reconversão é mais recente são de castas de reconhecido mérito enológico, fornecendo maioritariamente as marcas Grandjó, Evel e Porca de Murça.

Vineyard area per grape varietals (excl. Old Vines Field Blend) (B= Branco | T= Tinto)

• Moscatel Galego (B) 37,16 ha

• Sémillon ou Boal (B) 11,29 ha

• Gewürztraminer (B) 4,07 ha

• Pinot Noir (T) 4,05 ha

• Sauvignon Blanc (B) 1,90 ha

• Verdelho (B) 0,96 ha

• Moscatel Roxo (B) 0,3 ha

• Old Vines Field Blend – 18.1ha

(This Field Blend is composed by a mixture of red grape varietals, mostly Tinta Barroca, Touriga Franca and Tinta Roriz)