Manuel dos Santos Campolargo to give it its full name, is the enterprise of the larger-than-life Carlos Campolargo who has invested heavily in both replanting most of his vineyards and building a brand new winery to process what are now a wide range of grape varieties and wines. The invasion of mostly Bordeaux varieties won’t please the purists but several of the wines are still based on quality natives such as Baga, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional. As the team works out what grows best where and which varieties best complement one another, the varietal composition of the wines in his burgeoning portfolio is liable to change year on year. At the lower priced end of the scale there is a characterful supple Entre II Santos in which Merlot is used to soften the Baga component. For Vinho de Putto, another entry level red, a dash of Cabernet Sauvignon brings a touch of darker fruit and freshness to this blend of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Syrah and, for upmarket Contra a Corrente, backbone and finesse. A Pinot Noir shows good varietal character and is sometimes blended with old vine Baga – curiously it has something of the scented mineral character of a good Dão and a little more backbone than vintages of straight Pinot Noir. Vinha da Costa is a single vineyard blend of Tinta Roriz with some Merlot and Syrah which reveals lots of intensity and berry fruit character. Two other premium reds are more international. Calda Bordelezza is indeed a Bordeaux blend but unusual in combining equal parts of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with 20% of Petit Verdot. It is very dense and concentrated with the Petit Verdot evident in its distinctive character; being both balanced and promising but likely to need 8-10 years. ‘Diga’ red is a backward, intense varietal Petit Verdot with the acidity, extract and power not uncommon to such ambitious examples that are, however, only rarely convincing. ‘Diga?’ white, a somewhat herbal, green-tinged Viognier has yet to hit its straps, but it is early days. Otherwise whites come in the shape of two barrel-fermented varietals, Arinto and Bical and Entre Deux Santos, a part barrel-fermented Sauvignon Blanc blend all of which are well made if not as characterful or refined as the reds. Recent developments include solid if a tad uninspiring sparkling wines and, most promising of all, A Dão red currently made at Alvaro Castro’s cellar. Also made but not tasted is Termeao from Touriga Nacional (with Cabernet Sauvignon and Castelão).
To find out more about Campolargo and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Wine Guide Portugal..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines.