Wines of a lifetime. The Alfrocheiro 2001 and the extraordinary João Cruz Miranda
There are great wines, that stand out from the remaining, but there are some superior to all that, they leave a mark on those special moments of our lives. These are memory wines, which give us what matters most: the places and the people. And as those memories make us wealthier, especially now, on the things we are experiencing…
Here is the 2001 Alfrocheiro Cruz Miranda. The wine is in itself João Miranda, passion in person. I met him while I was still at university, the Instituto Superior de Agronomia. One day some friends invited me to spend a Saturday in Mora to meet a small Alentejo’s producer. For an Enology student, there wasn’t a better Saturday, right?
At that time, João Cruz Miranda had left the management of a large multinational company. And as his first love were wines, he started a small cellar in Mora and proceeded to vinify some grapes he used to buy in southern Alentejo. Among his experiences, he vinified Alfrocheiro grapes, and, surprise surprise, with the 2001 vintage he won the Talha de Ouro, the prize that distinguishes the best wine of Alentejo, by Confraria dos Enófilos do Alentejo.
I go back to that Saturday in Mora. It’s been 20 years, and I will never forget it. It’s hard to explain the passion with which he shared and explained his wines. The details, the process, the way he tasted… everything was genuine and captivating. And me, a rookie on these things, assimilated everything with reverence. Right there, João became a reference for me.
Both him and his partner, Teresinha, had attended a cellar hand course at Bairrada region, where they learned the fundamental concepts of winemaking. After that, they had the help of Professor Virgilio Loureiro to find the best way to create the wines they idealized. And that way, they were able to develop what gave them pleasure, wines made with time, full of elegance, treasures capable of increasing the value of every cellar.
Sometimes we can´t remember what we ate the previous night. On that day of 2001, we had lunch at Afonso, in Mora. Partridge by D. Bia. With this Alfrocheiro, obviously. Unfortunately, João passed away a few years after that. And I was lucky to be able to keep some bottles of this 2001 Alfrocheiro. Wines are people, and because of that, opening one of these bottles has a ritual where images of that Saturday come back. What a great wine. And what a great man was João Cruz Miranda.
And the wines of your life? Do you want to share their history?