A new brand from the granddaddy of Douro producers
Real Companhia Velha is Portugal’s oldest existing wine company, dating back to 1678. This is the company that actually invented Port wine and they have prospered over the centuries. For many decades in recent memory, they were known for their excellent quality Ports but also for mass-produced low-budget wines, such as Evel.
More recently, they have started to focus on small projects, creating some very interesting wines. One such project is Quinta do Síbio, an estate near Alijó in the Douro valley that has long been owned by the company but was recently launched as a brand starting from the 2015 vintage. These two whites can both be found at Apolónia and are currently on special offer, reduced from €13.99 to €10.99.
The tall slim bottle takes its name “Ananico” from the lot of grapes from which it is made, in this case the Moscatel Ottonel grape, a variety of Muscat that is little used in Portugal but well known in the Alsace, Germany and Austria.
Unlike most other Muscat varieties, Ottonel is not a sweet wine grape and, in this case, it produces a wine of great freshness and acidity; the only hint of Muscat is a floral note on the nose mingling with lots of exotic fruits – a wine of complex aromas that is surprisingly dry in the mouth.
The shorter bottle is the Field Blend, made from old mixed vines at the estate. This is an altogether different wine, aged on the lees for six months in stainless steel. It has a deep lemon-yellow colour and rich grassy/fruity notes on the nose – beautifully balanced in the mouth, full and rounded with a long elegant finish.
Both wines are good value at the usual €13.99, but the €3 discount currently on offer makes these two unusual Douro whites something of a bargain.