Barca Velha and Reserva Especial – an agonising choice


Casa Ferreirinha's Reserva Especial 2007 from the Douro has just been released, the culmination of a drawn-out and painful decision.

The art of selection, like that of blending, is one of the winemaker's greatest skills, requiring both experience and self-confidence. Sogrape's director of oenology Luís Sottomayor (bottom right) must have a large measure of both. He used a tasting and lunch in London last week to explain the process involved in deciding whether any given vintage of their top Douro red will be labelled Reserva Especial or Barca Velha. Sottomayer and his team are keenly aware of the consequences. Barca Velha is...