Blessed by nature

As I have said here before, I am not a big fan of the organic wine movement; not that I have anything against organic wine when it is made well and honestly – in fact, quite the contrary.

I appreciate wines that are made with minimal intervention in as much as added flavourings and chemicals are concerned – what I call ‘honest wines’ that taste of the grapes and remind us of where they are made. And as many such wines tend to be organic these days, I do find myself drinking a lot of organic wine. Then we have the so-called SO2 Free wines, a designation that I find quite annoying as sulphites occur naturally, to some extent, during fermentation, so I prefer to see the words “no sulphites added” used.

And this is exactly what is written on the label of this outstanding new white from organic producer Covela, a wine estate located technically in the Vinho Verde region but is, in fact, on the northern bank of the Douro river.

This wine is about as natural as can be realistically achieved, with the added moniker of being made from organic grapes.

Covela Natur was something of an experiment from the 2019 vintage when the producer took a small batch of Avesso grapes from one of their lowest-lying plots and fermented and aged the resulting wine on the lees for some 15 months in their oldest used oak barrels.

To stabilise the wine, they used ground dried chestnut flowers from their own trees, which apparently have high antioxidant and fungicidal properties.

It was bottled earlier this year, respecting the dates of the lunar calendar and finally made it to the market just recently.

The wine is unfiltered and hence slightly cloudy in the glass, quite opulent on the nose with notes of lemons and white flowers, fresh and flavoursome in the mouth with lively acidity yet well textured and elegant.

This is an unusual and delicious wine, but sadly only 900 bottles were made, and it is already more or less sold out.

But if you are quick, Garrafeira Soares have some in stock here in the Algarve (€15) and, for now, it is still available to buy online from the producer’s website – covela.pt

patrick.stuart@open-media.net