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Quinta da Pellada Primus 2015

Quinta da Pellada Primus 2015

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"The 2015 Primus Quinta da Pellada is a field blend, mostly Encruzado and Bical, with many other traditional grapes. It was aged for six months in well-used French 400-liter barrels (ranging from two to six years in age). One of the region's top whites, this is in fine form this year. It is still a bit unevolved, but it certainly looks brilliant. There is a bit of wood on the nose in its youth but not much. It gets pulled in quickly and disappears. Then, what you get is a refined and sophisticated wine with crisp edges and some tension on the finish to go with its subtle concentration. It feels concentrated while never feeling dense or fat. The finish is long, juicy and pretty tasty. As it airs and warms, its texture becomes velvet. There is not a hair out of place on this understated white. I hate to do it again, but this has all the feel of an elegant white Burg. Despite the impression of gentle harmony, this has a lot going on. It is just too young. Expect it to age well—probably better than indicated. It looks like the best since the 2011. It may not be quite as dense as that, but it might be fresher. Let's give this a little time to settle in. We'll be a bit conservative in evaluation just now. Drink: 2017-2029. 94 points

One of the Dão region's great producers, Castro has a total production of about 300,000 bottles. His two famed quintas are Pellada and Saes. (Over the years, the historical tendency has been to call Castro "Quinta da Pellada," which is why I put Pellada in parens after his name, but note that the wines do not all, in fact, come from Pellada as such.)

This issue features the rather exciting debut of his "terroir" wines from Pellada, each of which has a different location and soil structure, as explained in the notes. There are other unfamiliar offerings, too, at various levels, like the Muleta and the Dente d'Ouro. Castro's been busy! The famous and familiar labels, like the Primus and regular estate blend, hold their own and are present, too. Refined, sophisticated and age-worthy, Castro's wines are always of interest. This is a pretty brilliant collection.

P.S. No doubt at this point, Castro is tired of hearing my Burgundian comparisons and would prefer they be compared to him. :) It is, to be sure, just a general analogy to orient the reader in the style, to have expectations in order. Castro doesn't do big, fat and sweet. The wines are graceful, fresh and age-worthy. If you don't get Pinot Noir aromatics, you can have Touriga Nacional's. I simply think that those who tend to gravitate to Burgundy can also gravitate to Dão...and Castro."

Mark Squires, Wine Advocate (232)