Vintage Report 2013 – A Herculean Harvest!

Vintage 2013- Synopsis

Our 18th vintage. A dry winter, followed by a cold and wet spring. A moderate summer, which heated up in August. A delayed growing season, with late flowering, ripening and a large harvest.  High Acids, ripe tannins.

The Star white varieties of 2013:  Sauvignon Blanc, Alvarinho, (from our coastal vineyards) and Viognier (from the inland vineyards at Cortes de Cima).

The Star red varieties of 2013:  Syrah, Touriga Nacional, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Harvest 2013
Vintage 2013 – in dates…

3 March – Bud break (2 weeks tardy)

14 May – Flowering

12 July – Veraision

16 August – 1st day of vintage  (Viognier)

27-30 September – 23mm rain

18 October – last day of vintage (late!)

Vintage 2013 – in numbers…

717 mm rain (average but very abnormally distributed)

2 months and 2 days of harvest  (longest ever recorded)

+100 harvest workers

1,876 tons of grapes

9 tons/ ha average yield

89% red and 11% white grapes

Vintage 2013 – in words…

Every stage in the vineyard was delayed by up to 2 weeks- budbreak, flowering, veraison and harvest.

Although the winter rainfall was normal at 717mm, it was distributed abnormally, concentrated in 2 wet months – November and March, with a long, cold dry winter in between.

Spring, around the time of flowering in mid May, was cooler than usual, puttineg a brake on vine growth.

Summer came early but stayed moderate until arrival of the August heat.  September and October harvest weather was superb, with the exception of some unusual mid-harvest September rain, which put a temporary stop to the grape picking.

Unusually, the majority of the fruit was harvested not in September, but in October, due to the delayed ripening. Because of the combination of the late harvest with the September rain, rot was more of an issue than during a normal year in the Alentejo, especially in some varieties (Alicante Bouschet and Trincadeira).
At the moment in the winery, the reds are looking very promising, showing good structure and upfront tannins. Acid levels are higher, giving more freshness and exuberance, and a good ageing potential.

Checking fruit quality

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Chaminé Branco

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Herbaceous crispness with a final burst of acidity.
A blend of local and international varieties from our cool Alentejan Atlantic coastal vineyards.

Cortes de Cima Branco

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A barrel aged blend of local and international varieties grown on our cool Atlantic coastal vineyards and in the warmer Alentejan interior.

Sauvignon Blanc

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A 100% Sauvignon Blanc produced exclusively from grapes grown at our new coastal vineyards near Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Alentejan coast, 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean.


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A 100% Alvarinho produced exclusively from grapes grown at our new coastal vineyards near Vila Nova de Milfontes on the Alentejan coast, 3 km from the Atlantic Ocean.


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Fresh, light bodied and easy drinking. With intense ruby colours and attractive ripe berry character. A fresh and young wine that is ready for immediate drinking.

The name Courela originates from one of our vineyard plots – Courela dos Pageis, and translates as ‘a strip of cultivated land’.

Chaminé Tinto

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This is our most popular wine, boasting a consistent track record. A juicy, ripe, easy drinking wine, bottled early, usually within 6 months of harvest time and without any oak ageing. Best drunk young, but will improve with short term cellaring. Mainly Aragonez (Tempranillo) and Syrah, blended with other Portuguese varieties.

The name Chaminé (pronounced: sha-min-E; translation: chimney) originates from one of our vineyard plots – Chaminé de Gião

Cortes de Cima Tinto

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Our flagship wine. Full bodied blend with ripe, silky tannins.


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Ripe rich fruit with some earth and spice.
In 1991, we were the first ones to plant Syrah in the Alentejo, choosing rootstock from southern Rhone clones. Today, our range consists of 3 different 100% Syrah varietals.


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Outstanding tannins with aromas of red berry fruits.

Known as Tempranillo in Spain, and Tinta Roriz in the north of Portugal. Always an elegant wine, it has richness with structure and outstanding tannins, which impart a good ageing ability.


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One of the more common indigenous varieties in Southern Portugal, characterized by fruit, and low tannins.

Petit Verdot

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Intense concentration, strong tannins, aromatic complexity with a refreshing natural acidity.

One of the ‘noble’ Bordeaux varieties. A late ripener, it is better suited for warmer climates, like Alentejo, where it can reach a good maturity, resulting in wines of intense concentration and color, strong tannins and aromatic complexity, while maintaining it’s freshness, thanks to it’ s ability to maintain it’s natural acidity.

Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen

Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen

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A special commemorative 100% Syrah launched for the bicentennial of the Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen. Elegant with a soft, long finish.

In 1991, we were the first ones to plant Syrah in the Alentejo, choosing rootstock from southern Rhone clones. Today, our range consists of 3 different 100% Syrah varietals. Starting with the entry level is our popular ‘Cortes de Cima Syrah’, which is bottled every vintage. Next, we move up a notch both in concentration and quality, to the mid-level range – ‘Homenagem a Hans Christian Andersen’, bottled in most vintages. We culminate at the top, with our reserve quality labeling, the iconic ‘Incógnito’, only bottled in exceptional years.

Touriga Nacional

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Lifted violet and dark berry fruit aromatics, elegant intense and long palate.

Best known as one of the 5 main varieties used for Port wine, further south here in the Alentejo it’s fruit develops a highly floral and aromatic character. It is a low producer, with both small bunches and berries.

Previous vintages have won numerous gold medals and trophies, including IWC Best Portuguese Red Trophy (2005), IWC Touriga Trophy (2003), and the Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wine List (2002).


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Bold, superb balance and sumptuous finish. The mystery name refers to a time when Syrah was not permitted in Alentejo.


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The top of the range, made only in exceptional years. Complex layers of fruit, long on the palate with solid tannins.

This is the star of our range, only produced in limited quantities and in exceptional years. A full bodied blend of Aragonez, Syrah and other Portuguese varieties, barrel aged for 12 months in new oak barrels. The wine is finely structured, with a feeling of restrained power.

Previous vintages have always scored +90 Parker Points.

Olive Oil

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Our Olive Oil is produced from our own olive trees, which are from the Portuguese variety, Cobrançosa, planted shortly after our arrival to Cortes de Cima in 1988. As with our vineyards, our olivegroves are accredited under a sustainable program called ‘Integrated Protection’, which limits and regulates the use of chemicals.


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Created from pure red wine from the Portuguese Touriga Nacional variety. Aged for 5 years in American oak barrels.


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