Chapter I – Quinta de Cottas’s red grape varieties
This is a noble and much appreciated grape variety, being the most famous in Portugal. Their small thick-skinned berries give low yields and produce deep concentrated color wines with intense fruity and massive tannins. The abundance of primary aromas is one of the trademark images of the variety, presenting both floral and fruity, always intense and explosive. With low production, it is capable of producing balanced wines, with good alcoholic gradations and excellent aging capacity.
It is the most planted variety in the Douro region, currently occupying about one fifth of the total area of the region. It is a grape variety with a consistent production being one of the structural pillars of the Douro wines. It provides wines rich in color and firm structure, but at the same time elegants. As a rule their wines suggest floral notes of roses, wildflowers, blackberries and cistaceae. Thanks to the strong concentration of tannins, it contributes to the good aging of the lots where it participates, being regularly blended with Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional.
It is one of Douro’s oldest grape varieties, being cultivated since the 18th century. However, as it is not very productive it has never been much appreciated by winegrowers. The Tinto Cão is one of the most well-adapted to the warm and dry climate of the region, tolerating very high temperatures. It is very reliable, maintaining its vigor even in very fertile soils. Its small compact bunches of small berries produce long-guarded wines with a fresh acidity and velvety texture. It produces wines loaded with color, with delicate and floral aromas.
Sousão is appreciated mainly for its coloring qualities, as it creates black, opaque, closed and almost impenetrable to the light wines. Even so they are wines of a unique character, with light tannins, high cidity, high alcohol level and smooth texture. Sousão vines are best adapted to warm climates, such as in Douro. This variety has medium-sized black-blue berries. It was these peculiar characteristics that made it so appreciated in the composition of Port wine, giving it color and acidity, essential conditions for this type of wines reserved to aging.
Tinta Roriz represents most of the new plantations after Touriga Franca. It is one of the most famous grape varieties of the Iberian Peninsula where it goes by the name Tempranillo. It is an early, very vigorous and productive caste, easily adaptable to different climates and soil. If vigor is controlled, it offers wines that combine elegance and robustness, rich fruit and spices, with high alcohol content and low acidity, ideal for ageing. It prefers warm and dry climates. It tends to be a lot grape variety, benefiting recurrently from the company of other varietals.