Over the generations we have taken great care to ensure that our vines are perfectly matched to their terroir. By carefully selecting the plots before planting and managing the subsequent vines with only the lightest intervention, we are able to consistently produce perfectly ripe grapes before picking. And it is this marriage between soil and ripeness that enables us to create our renown ‘house’ style across all wines.
Jorge continually tastes and feels the grapes to monitor the maturity of the flavours, tannins and colour of the developing fruit. Using his expertise, backed up by analyses of the grapes sugar and acidity levels, we are able to pick the grapes at their optimum stage of maturity.
The harvest at La Rosa usually starts in mid-September and lasts approximately four to six weeks. White grapes tend to be picked first, followed by grapes for red wine, ending in the those for our ports. As we hand-pick all of our grapes at La Rosa we are able to be extremely selective, only picking the right fruit whilst leaving any unhealthy or unripe grapes. It also has the added benefit of being the gentlest form of harvesting, meaning the grapes arrive at the winery in the best possible condition.
The bunches are collected in small buckets before being loaded into plastic crates to be immediately transported to the winery where they are sorted upon arrival.
The crates are unloaded onto sorting table. This enables us to have a crucial second selection which ensures that only the best quality fruit makes it into our wines.
Once they have been sorted, the fruit is de-stemmed and lightly macerated before being gravity fed into one of four ‘lagares’ in the case of our Reserva wines. The Red Reserva undergo a few hours of foot-treading in a traditional granite ‘lagar’ before being moved into temperature controlled stainless-steel fermentation tanks.
Our other wines are pumped directly into temperature-controlled fermentation tanks after a light crushing, which helps the extraction process. Once the they are in the fermentation tanks, yeast is added and regularly under goes the process of pumping-over which extracts colour and tannins further from the skins. We take great care to ensure our wines are not over-extracted.
Unlike the wines, the ports keep their stems in order to add structure to the wine. The grapes undergo a few consecutive nights of foot-treading in the ‘lagares’ during which time they will start to ferment. Brandy is subsequently added to stop the fermentation, after which the skins are separated and moved into barrels for ageing.
Depending on the style, the wine is then transferred into wooden barrels in order to age with the ultimate aim of creating a well-rounded wine. We only use French oak barrels as they impart the flavour profiles we desire. New barrels are used in order to impart wood flavours, whereas older barrels soften the wine’s tannins.
Tawny Ports are aged in 550l ‘pipes’, whereas Vintage style ports are aged in ‘tonels’. Click here to find out more about the aging process.demystifying PORT
Winemaker, Jorge Moreira, then carefully blends ‘lotes’ ensuring wines match La Rosa’s signature style. Once it is ready, it is then packaged ready to be consumed or cellar aged.
Many of La Rosa’s wines have enormous ageing potential and benefit from ageing for a few years in bottle before being opened. This process enables the tannins soften and integrate into the wine.