An impressive 17th century manor house, filled with tradition and history, provides context for this project. Located in Santa Maria do Zêzere, this Guimarães estate is the birthplace of the Cazas Novas wine. Three people are behind this project: myself, my great friend Vasco Magalhães (an expert marketer) and Carlos Coutinho, the head of the whole enterprise.
It was Carlos Coutinho, part of the seventh generation in the family that owns Quinta de Guimarães, who in 2010 challenged us to give a boost to the wines produced at the estate. That was how this project came to be and the Cazas Novas — a Vinho Verde that is mainly produced from Avesso grapes, the main variety in this estate — was born.
The estate sits in quite a unique region, nestling between the Vinho Verde and Douro regions. This brings a very interesting aspect to the table. In this wine we find the acidity behind that iconic Vinhos Verdes freshness, but this is nonetheless a warmer region, enabling differences in maturation that grant the wine an open profile and a distinct palate. The specificity of the Avesso variety itself — one of the most unique Portuguese grape varieties— and the granitic soils help explain some of the originality in each bottle of this precious wine. Profoundly mineral, it boasts notes of white peach and a remarkable acidity.
It’s no coincidence that this wine is mainly to be found in international markets, where consumers appear to be more predisposed to its profile or in menus at Michelin-starred restaurants that are always on the look out for differentiating options. Despite being a very small project, with a production of around 20 000 bottles per year, it is nevertheless very rewarding: when it comes to winemaking, it is a privilege to work in a project of such distinguished originality and character.