Poço do Lobo Cabernet 1995
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Caves São João, established in 1920, became a dominant force in Portuguese wine making in the early 20th century with their houses Porta dos Cavaleiros in Dão and Frei João in Bairrada. Given the shifting trends in consumer preferences, Bairrada and Dão fell to obscurity in the 1990s when critical influence drove the demand for bigger, extracted, warmer climate wines. Twenty years later savvy consumers and food-conscious sommeliers are looking for finesse and freshness and heading back to Bairrada and Dão. In 2013, the Costa family, owners of the estate, decided to open their cellars and offer the old vintages in stock, ranging from 1959 to 2000. Wines that when young had a vegetal character, pronounced tannins and high acidity aged gracefully when kept in perfect condition at the winery for 20-40 years, and are now pristine examples of mature wines with profound finesse and irreplicable complexity.
WHAT MAKES THIS WINE UNIQUE?
This is an opportunity to drink a perfectly aged, matured Bairrada wine, showcasing the capacity for longevity in which this region is known. A library release from the winery itself, with the bottles kept in pristine condition for decades, these wines show a complexity that cannot be derived in any other way. Caves São João is the only winery in Portugal offering library releases of still wines commercially, with vintages going back to the 1950's.
1995 91 WA
100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Vines planted in late 1970s. Tended in clay and limestone soils at 164 feet elevation.
VINIFICATION AND AGING:
Grapes fermented on their skins in open-top bins for several weeks before aging 24 months in concrete vessels. It was filtered and then bottled.
LOCATION, SOIL, CLIMATE:
Originally sourced from vines planted in the famed Bairrada DOC in the Beiras sub-region, an appellation in northern Portugal that reaches toward the Atlantic coast. Soil here is largely clay-limestone and, with the proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, there is a significant maritime influence here.
This Reserva has more power than the regular reds and much riper fruit. It is bigger and fresher in every respect. Intense and powerful, this is nuanced by cassis and red fruits. It ends with a big finish. There are some typical nuances of aging Cab too. So, while it is fresh for its age, it hardly tastes like a young red. - Mark Squires