(2010) Most of Saramago's grapes come from 20-year-old plus vineyards and are vinified in lagars before being aged in mostly French oak, with a touch of American oak. The blend is predominately Castelño (85%) with some Touriga Nacional and Alicante Bouschet. Strong, animal and game aromas, quite reductive and charry too, but not entirely inviting. Massive fruit here on the palate, but those slightly resinous, still animal notes are difficult. Big, firm fruit on the palate, lots of bold, spicy, but always edgy red and black fruits. Great concentration and persistence, with lots of fresh, grippy, high acid in the finish.
(2010) 14%. 40-year-old Castelão vines, fermented in lagars and aged 12 months in French and Portuguese oak. Smoky bacon fat notes, lots of toasty barrel showing here, with sweet black fruit striking the palate, quite chocolaty and rich, the sweet fruit and charry component making this rich but with plenty of easy-drinking charm too.
(2010) According to Vasco, the first barrel-fermented white wine in Portugal and one of the oldest white wine brands from the 1980s. It is a blend of barrel-fermented Chardonnay with Fernão Pires and Arinto. Very nice nose, with honey and soft almond notes, and crisp, lemony fruit. Nice and fresh, with the crisp character extending the finish.
(2010) All Castelño in this vintage, with an extremely spicy nose, plenty of exotic, incense-like aromas, again that charry, slightly animal note detracts a little, though there's a huge density of black fruit. The palate has very big, chewy tannins, with a certain sweet elegance to the fruit that persists, the crunchy, bold acidity, but does have a lovely fleshy power and deep-set, resonating depth. Massive and needs time.
(2010) 14%. Oak-aged Castelão. A fair bit of maturity to the colour and the nose here, with coffee and earthy notes very appealing, the fruit spicy and quite bright and cherryish. The palate is perhaps a little lean, the fruit just falling away slightly, but it has a very pleasing balance of tannins and acidity, the oak adding some plumpness and spice. Drinking really well now, but not for keeping.
(2010) This is the top-selling bottled wine in Portugal according to Vasco, mainly through supermarkets. The majority of the blend is Castelão, with some Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and Aragonez. Crisp and fresh, it has a good fruit and nice balance.
(2010) 2000 bottles of this wine are produced, a blend of Aragonez, Trincadeira and Grande Noir. Fermented in lagar with a long pre- and post-fermentation maceration, the fruit comes from high, schisty vineyards at 400 metres in the Alentejo and the wine is aged in 100% new oak for one year, then racked back into tank, then back into other 100% new oak again, so 200% new oak in total. A further 18 months in bottle before release. Massive balsamic nose with, with lots of high, almost gamy aromas, lots of intense floral glimpses, but those schisty notes and charcoal persist. Quite a noseful. Very powerful palate too, with huge grip and thick, sweet balsamic grip, but liquoricy depth and amazing length and focus. Layered complexity and the grippy finish buttressed by fine acidity and a raciness to the tannins. This is not a perfect wine, yet there is something intriguing about it.
(2010) 14.%, Aragonez, Trincadeira, Alicante Bouschet and Alfrocheiro aged 18 months in French oak. Developed colour and aromas, big, soft, open nose with a depth of gently smoky fruit, plenty of cedary oak and a sense of plump, rounded, softening character. The palate has lovely harmony and composure, the fruit melded very harmoniously with the oak and the tannins a touch dry but adding lots of spicy grip and a little liquorice nip.
(2010) Designed for the UK market, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Castelão is aged for 12 months in small French oak barrels. Very bright, focused fruit, a nice black fruit sheen, nice little hint of violet. The barrel adds a little creamy component. A touch short however, just faing quite rapidly on the finish.