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Grape Profile – Castelão

Castelão

Over the course of the three years we’ve lived in Spain, I really don’t know if I’m any closer to having a solid grasp on the indigenous grape varietals now than I was when we first arrived. The moment I feel confident in a varietal, the rug gets pulled out from underneath me and I’m lost…again. I wish I could say that this is a temporary state of being, but I fear it’s not. Everyday I am swimming in a waterfall of new information, typically finding myself with more questions than answers. And with the vast number of grape varietals that exist on the Peninsula, I find that I’m typically hounded with questions like: I know that Tinta Roriz is also Tempranillo, but did Tempranillo come first or did Tinta Roriz, and is one an alias for the other or are they two different strains of the same grape? Yeah, it’s really confusing! So when I came across the grape Castelão when tasting wines from Quinta da Bacalhôa, I figured I’d best tackle my curiosity from the get go.

I would assume that there are very few of you who know the grape Castelão, but your ears would ring with familiarity if I said Periquita. Prior to Jose Maria da Fonseca’s creation of the internationally renown wine, Periquita - made primarily with Castelão grapes – this varietal hung out with his poor brethren waiting to be discovered. But in 1870, when Jose Maria created Periquita as of the first wines sold ready bottled to avoid adulteration, its name spread like wildfire. And consequently, so did Periquita’s name in reference to the Castelão grape.

Physically, this little grape is tough, pooh poohing fertile soil in moderate climates for dry, sandy and intensely hot temperatures. When pushed to suffer, like all good masochists do, this grape magically evolves into an intense and aromatic wine with red berry and floral aromas. Consisting of small bunches of little dark skinned berries, this variety typically produces smooth and well balanced wines with good aging potentia as a result of its fondness for oak.

Generally found in the Ribatejo, Estremadura and the Alentejo regions as blending grapes, its claim to fame lies in the region of Terras do Sado. Here, in the DOCs of Palmela and Setabul, the grape thrives, sucking in the warm temperatures to produce concentrated and pungent red wines.

Name: Castelão
Type of Wine: Red
Native to: Portugal
Places Grown: Portugal and Australia
Aliases: João de Santarém, Castelão Francês, Periquita.

  • Vitor Mendes

    Well done Gabriella, very good article, excellent description of this grape. In fact it was José Maria da Fonseca the first to give Castelão the fame that we know now. Periquita still is one of the most sold portuguese wines across the world. I think that this wines are a little more balanced then Alentejo wines, and i think that the fact that they are so close to Atlântic ocean is one of the reasons. Please keep the excellent work, as Portuguese i am proud to have you looking at our wines, with this passion that you put on things. Vitor Mendes

  • Vitor Mendes

    Well done Gabriella, very good article, excellent description of this grape. In fact it was José Maria da Fonseca the first to give Castelão the fame that we know now. Periquita still is one of the most sold portuguese wines across the world. I think that this wines are a little more balanced then Alentejo wines, and i think that the fact that they are so close to Atlântic ocean is one of the reasons.

    Please keep the excellent work, as Portuguese i am proud to have you looking at our wines, with this passion that you put on things.

    Vitor Mendes

  • Gabriella

    Vitor, Thank you for your kind words and please continue to give us your feedback , as it is invaluable.

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    Vitor,

    Thank you for your kind words and please continue to give us your feedback , as it is invaluable.

  • Bill

    Are these wines distributed to Minnesota?

  • Gabriella

    Hey Bill, I contacted the Admiral rep. in the US about their wines, twice. Unfortunately, I never got an answer. I fear I must put the onus on you my dear. Her name is Ms.Maria Dulce Stevens 1-973-371-2211 maria@admiralwine.com<a href="<a href="http://www.admiralwine.comhttp://www.admiralwine.com<br />”><a href="http://www.admiralwine.comwww.admiralwine.com<br /> If you do get a hold of her, please let her know that we'd love for her to respond here on Catavino as well ;-)

  • Gabriella

    Hey Bill, I contacted the Admiral rep. in the US about their wines, twice. Unfortunately, I never got an answer. I fear I must put the onus on you my dear. Her name is Ms.Maria Dulce Stevens 1-973-371-2211 maria@admiralwine.com<a href="<a href="http://www.admiralwine.comhttp://www.admiralwine.com<br />”><a href="http://www.admiralwine.comwww.admiralwine.com<br /> If you do get a hold of her, please let her know that we'd love for her to respond here on Catavino as well ;-)

  • Gabriella

    Hey Bill, I contacted the Admiral rep. in the US about their wines, twice. Unfortunately, I never got an answer. I fear I must put the onus on you my dear. Her name is Ms.Maria Dulce Stevens 1-973-371-2211 maria@admiralwine.com<a href="<a href="http://www.admiralwine.comhttp://www.admiralwine.com<br />”><a href="http://www.admiralwine.comwww.admiralwine.com<br /> If you do get a hold of her, please let her know that we'd love for her to respond here on Catavino as well ;-)

  • Gabriella

    Hey Bill, I contacted the Admiral rep. in the US about their wines, twice. Unfortunately, I never got an answer. I fear I must put the onus on you my dear. Her name is Ms.Maria Dulce Stevens 1-973-371-2211 maria@admiralwine.com<a href="<a href="http://www.admiralwine.comhttp://www.admiralwine.com<br />”><a href="http://www.admiralwine.comwww.admiralwine.com<br /> If you do get a hold of her, please let her know that we'd love for her to respond here on Catavino as well ;-)

  • http://www.catavino.net Gabriella

    Hey Bill,

    I contacted the Admiral rep. in the US about their wines, twice. Unfortunately, I never got an answer. I fear I must put the onus on you my dear. Her name is Ms.Maria Dulce Stevens

    1-973-371-2211
    maria@admiralwine.com
    http://www.admiralwine.com

    If you do get a hold of her, please let her know that we’d love for her to respond here on Catavino as well ;-)

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