In March I went to the Alentejo in
and paid Cortes de Cima a visit. I had a lovely evening there and spent the
next day with the Danish-American owners of the quinta, Hans Kristian and
Carrie Jorgensen, the chef Bjarne Otto who prepared a lovely dinner and Head
Winemaker Hamilton Reis among others. The main purpose of my visit was writing
an article for the Danish wine magazine, Vinbladet, which has just
been published in the new issue. Portugal
Jorgensen’s bought the
big estate in 1988 and after a few years growing different vegetables they
planted some vines. From the beginning Hans Kristian has been experimenting
with different varieties – some with good results, others just for fun. Today
their range of wine includes both blends of international and Portuguese
varieties and several single grape varieties like Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah,
Aragonez, Trincadeira, Petit Verdot and Touriga Nacional.
- It is great fun to make wine based on single varieties. But we don’t produce that much and a lot of people abroad don’t know the Portuguese varieties, says Hans Kristian Jorgensen.
Cortes de Cima’s most well-known and most prestigious wine is called Incógnito and is made of 100 % Syrah. But when they started producing the wine it was not allowed to use Syrah if you wanted to have your wine approved under the DOC system. Hans Kristian planted some stocks anyway and with a good result. Incógnito was born.
- We made the wine illegal for two years, but in 2000 the rules were changed, explains Hans Kristian.
During my visit we had at tour around the lovely estate near Serra do Mendro. We saw some new plantings and passed by the big dam used for water supply. Hans Kristian Jorgensen has a background in mechanical engineering and insists in creating, building and repairing everything including energy supply and recycling of wastewater from the winery.
Finally we ended in the tasting room for at broad tasting. Here are some notes:
Chaminé Branco 2012: Fresh and straight forward, made of a blend of varieties from Cortes de Cima´s new vineyard at the cost.
Sauvignon Blanc 2012: Nice, fresh and crispy with some more exotic notes.
Cortes de Cima Branco 2012: A blend of Alvarinho, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Fresh lime but with more character and fruit, deeper and with notes from the oak.
Chaminé 2012: Blend of Syrah and Aragonez, fruity and tasty, straight forward, popular in
Cortes de Cima 2012: Blend stored on French and American oak. More complexity, fruit and some chocolate, dry and well balanced. Good tail.
Aragonez 2012: Raw and with lot of tannins. Red berries, a bit eucalyptus and some balsamic. Great potential for storing.
Tricandeira: Green tannins. Some broccoli in the taste and not that much fruit and concentrations. A bit spicy.
Syrah 2011: Cherry and other red berries, a bit vanilla. Well balanced.
Hans Christian Andersen 2010: A tribute to the Danish author, 100 % Syrah and only made in the best years. Good fruit, fresh and spicy. Some vanilla and a bit toasted from the oak. A very nice glass.
Reserve 2012: A blend of 42 % Aragonez, 32 % Syrah and then some Petit Verdot and Touriga Nacional. 12 months on oak. Very powerful and complex. Red berries and notes from the oak like tobacco.
Read more about Cortes de Cima