Casal Branco Tejo
The Casal Branco estate is more famous for breeding pure Lusitano horses than for wine but much progress has been made here over the past decade. Direction comes from José Vasconcellos and his family’s large estate includes 140 ha of vineyards on predominantly sandy soils. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot under the Capucho label all show good varietal character and ripe tannins although the Merlot and Cabernet can be cool and leafy and there’s a tendency to use too much oak. Made in very small quantities, Petit Verdot (from 2003) is produced from low yields and has much more concentrated and intense fruit. More original is Falcoaria, produced from Castelão and Trincadeira. The regular example is ripe and savoury but a Reserva has more depth and cedary, herbal black fruits and shows very well with 5–6 years’ age. The barrel-fermented white version is made from Fernão Pires and has good structure but again, can be too oaky. Inexpensive dual-variety Terra de Lobos white (Fernão Pires and Sauvignon Blanc £B) and red (Castello/Cabernet Sauvignon) have succeeded the Cork Grove brand and are well made. (sold in the UK).
To find out more about Casal Branco 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.