The Port market is dominated by big names. The famous shippers produce very good wines, but before you rush out to make your annual Christmas purchase of a bottle, take a moment to consider a smaller grower.
Morgadio da Calçada is a family-owned seventeenth century mansion in the village of Provesende, north of Pinhão. Surrounding the house are five hectares of vineyards, with vines ranging from about 20 to 100 years old. Up until the late 1990s the family sold their crop to Symington Family Estates, owners of the Graham’s, Dow’s, Warre’s and Cockburn’s brands. But owner Manuel Villas Boas and his uncle Jerónimo Cunha Pimentel wanted to produce their own wine, and so Manuel called Dirk Niepoort, arguably the best winemaker in the region. As it turned out, Dirk had long admired the beautiful house surrounded by its own vines, and so came on board as winemaker, adding his name and his skill to the project.
Since then, Morgadio da Calçada has continued to produce Ports (and table wines) from their own vineyards. The wines are consistently excellent, the high altitude (600m) providing the structure and freshness that make them unique to this small estate. Farming is effectively organic, minimal sulphur is used, and winemaking takes place in Dirk Niepoort’s winery at the old Museu de Lagares in Vale de Mendiz. If you’re looking for a characterful bottle or two from a small producer, these are for you.