From the Alpiarça area, on the Tejo, comes this old brandy, born in a house with a long history and now experiencing a rebirth, with technical support from António Ventura.
Quinta da Atela, created by the Counts of Ourém, has a history dating back to the 14th century and was later donated to the Convent of Graça de Santarém. For a long time it was known as Quinta da Goucha. Located in Alpiarça, the property underwent a profound restructuring after April 25th and the period of occupations that followed. But the quinta's "new" history truly began in 2017, when it was acquired by Anabela Tereso and Fernando Vicente, Valgrupo's directors. With an area of 580ha, its main activities focus on viticulture (130ha), events and wine tourism.
The region is known for the excellence of the whites it produces, especially from the Fernão Pires grape variety. However, in order to make wine brandy (and thus make it more profitable) it is necessary to use very productive grape varieties that can produce well over 10 tons per hectare. This is why we find in this brandy, in addition to Fernão Pires, also the Tália variety (in Cognac it is known as Ugni Blanc and is the main variety there), Boal de Alicante and Tamarez. The harvest is always early because you don't want a must with a lot of alcohol, but rather with high acidity and low strength (around 9 or 10° of alcohol probably). Being a productive grape variety is important because only one liter of brandy is obtained for every 10 liters of distilled wine.
Distillation should take place immediately after the fermentation of the must, without the addition of sulphur dioxide, whose compounds could interact negatively with the copper in the alembic. In the case of this brandy, it comes from the distillation of wines in a Charentais still, typical of the Cognac region. After this process, the brandy went into Limousin oak half barrels where it remained for 20 years. The legislation doesn't provide for a specific quality designation for such an old brandy, since the Very Old or XO designation applies to distillates aged in casks for 5 years or more. Something to review in the future. GE
CAPELA DA ATELA VELHÍSSIMA XO
Beautiful color, with mahogany tones that reflect the time spent in cask. Very clean aroma, with hints of dried fruit, elegant, with a very attractive result. The alcohol content is well felt in the mouth, but it has a great satiny texture and a long finish. Beautiful brandy (40%)
Text by: João Paulo Martins
Source: Grandes Escolhas 2023 magazine