The Wine: Barca Velha is the pinnacle of quality amongst Douro wines. Classic, intense, complex, elegant and rich, adjectives are inadequate to describe what is, since its creation in 1952, the most celebrated Portuguese wine. Barca Velha is only declared in exceptional years and is the basis on which Casa Ferreirinha has built its reputation. Since 1952, Barca Velha has only been made 17 times, including 2004.
Tasting Notes: Barca Velha 2004 has an intense ruby hue and a harmonious and complex bouquet, with a strong presence of well-ripened red fruits, floral hints of lavender and violet, and a fine spice component. Its palate is full-bodied, with lively balanced acidity, well-integrated tannins and layers of character to epitomise the best of the Douro. Its supreme quality is expressed through fresh red fruit flavours accompanied by spicy and balmy notes. It has a long and complex finish, with remarkable delicacy and structure.
Harvest Year: 2004 was a very warm and dry year. Even though there was little rain during the Winter and Spring, leading to a reduction in vine diseases, early September threatened a reversal of this situation because of the abnormally high rainfall in August. Fortunately the situation changed radically and the harvest was very warm and dry. It got under way in mid-September and lasted to the end of October, with heavy rain in its final stages which did not affect the quality of the most fragile grapes, which had already been picked.
Winemaking: The hand-picked grapes for Barca Velha were vinified by variety or in batches chosen at the vineyard and/or on arrival at the Quinta da Leda winery. After full de-stemming and soft crushing, alcoholic fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks and robot-operated presses. During this period, intense pumping-over and robot-operated pigeages were carried out at automatically controlled temperatures. A long skin maceration was carried out in order to obtain aromatic and polyphenolic extraction. Finally, and at the precise moment dictated by each grape variety/blend, the wine was stored and the must pressed. The wines resulting from pressing were separated from the pomace.
Maturation: The wines were taken to V.N de Gaia immediately after the end of maceration and there, after the final fermentations, underwent maturation for about 16 months in 225-litre French oak barrels, 75% of which were new and 25% used. The final blend was prepared from a continuous selection of the best wines, the result of the numerous tastings and analyses carried out during this period on the different blends and barrels. In order to pReserva its supreme quality, Barca Velha 2004 was bottled with no prior treatment and it is therefore natural that it develops a deposit.