The grapes to produce the Tinta Francisca Douro Casa Ferreirinha underwent an additional selection on the winery sorting table to ensure that only pristine fruit made it into the wine. The grapes were then destemmed and crushed before being transferred to stainless-steel tanks for fermentation. The wine underwent an extended post-fermentation maceration on the skins to optimise the extraction of tannins, aromas and colour. The wine was then aged for 24 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 50% of which were new.
Tinta Francisca is a rare grape, with only 40 hectares planted in the whole of Portugal. The vines are between 10 to 15 years old and are planted on the schist soils of the estate on terraces sloping down to the river. Schist is a slate-like metamorphic rock that fractures vertically, allowing the vine roots to dig deep to access water and nutrients to sustain them through the hot Douro summers. Given the steep gradients and the inaccessibility for machinery, vineyard operations and harvesting are carried out by hand.
The origins of Casa Ferreirinha date back to 1952 and the production of the first ever vintage of Barca-Velha. Fernando Nicolau de Almeida kick started the quality revolution in Douro still wines and Casa Ferreirinha was the first producer in the region dedicated entirely to producing still table wine, rather than Port. Named after the legendary Porto matriarch Dona Antónia Ferreira, one of the formidable widows of the world of wine, Casa Ferreirinha, pays homage to the memory of this visionary woman. Purchased by Sogrape in 1987, Casa Ferreirinha has 520 hectares of vineyard in all of the three Douro sub-regions: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. The staggeringly beautiful Quinta da Leda is Casa Ferreirinha’s flagship estate, located close to the border with Spain in the far east of the Douro Superior, it is the source of grapes for many of the top wines. The great Luís Sottomayor has been head winemaker since 1989 and restrains the Douro’s natural exuberance to produce wines that have a vibrant freshness allied to a wonderful texture and depth.