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Alves de Sousa Quinta da Gaivosa Vinha de Lordelo 2013

Alves de Sousa Quinta da Gaivosa Vinha de Lordelo 2013

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"The 2013 Vinha de Lordelo (Quinta da Gaivosa) is a field blend from vines over 100 years old, aged for 15 months in new French oak. It comes in at 15% alcohol. Tiago Alves de Sousa said this was the "best vintage ever and definitely the most elegant Lordelo ever." I confess that I still don't see the point of bottling this as a single-plot expression of terroir. It always seems better suited for blending. It is a wine I've criticized at times for being too big, and elegance is not normally the word I'd use. The good news is that this is, in fact, a rather elegant year for it, at least in terms of general presentation, although that does not necessarily guarantee it is a much more interesting wine. The Gaivosa might actually be more concentrated this issue. For Alves de Sousa's terroir in the 2013 vintage, though, it is still rather ripe, but the mid-palate isn't particularly dense or overly jammy. The tannins are very moderate too. It ends with bright, red-berry fruit and a juicy finish. I still have a minor preference for the Gaivosa, which I also think will age better and surpass this more easily in time, but this is indeed attractive this year, at least for those who have complained about it being too big and ponderous in the past. We know who we are. Drink: 2018-2030. 92 points

Many of the wines here are 2015s. Many of those won't be released in the USA until the fall of 2018, although EU releases have generally been earlier or already occurred. The winery says that the dry year of 2015 "is one of the best years ever for the Alves de Sousa family’s Douro & Port wines."

For the first time, this issue also shows off the single-quinta Port (Gaivosa) and the regular Vintage Port in the same year. That seems odd. But then, so was the 2015 declaration process in general. (See my detailed article on the 2015s in Issue 232.) Echoing many of the themes from that article, Tiago Alves de Sousa told me that "2015 will definitely stay in the history as one of the most controversial declarations of all times. Some sent premature fireworks when the grapes were still in the vines, but (thank God!) when finally the juices started to run in the winery, it was unanimous that it was indeed great! Then, more than a year after, for some hard-to-understand reason, a few started second guessing... and the confusion was on!" So, is the Gaivosa a single-quinta, theoretically a lower level than a declared VP? Tiago said, "We totally don't care about the politics and odd sales strategies that usually surrounds Vintage Port declarations. For us, it's exclusively about the quality. So, with everything that happened with the 2015 overall declaration, to do 2VPs instead of one, it's also a strong statement from us....And time will definitely tell how great 2015 is." As the name says, Quinta da Gaivosa Vintage Port comes exclusively from Gaivosa, but "although it's only from one quinta, we don't put it on a level below," says Tiago. "That's a [mistaken] concept that the Port trade fed for many years. When you're approving a Vintage Port for the IVDP, there's absolutely no difference between single quinta or declared. It's a Vintage Port or it's not." In truth, some special terroirs are being singled out these days and sold for a pretty penny, rather than being considered lesser wines. So, consider this Gaivosa just an exposition in terroir, not a lesser wine.

Also on tap is the debut of the Oliveirinha wine, the separate bottling from the quinta recently acquired by the winery in Cima Corgo."

Mark Squires, Wine Advocate (237)