Excellent Ports, superb wines and an outstanding country house. The Bergqvists' love affair with the Douro promises a happy ending
More so than any other wine regions in Portugal, the Douro is defined by the stories of the families who have loved it throughout the generations, and the Bergqvist family is no exception. Owners of Quinta de la Rosa, a 55-hectare estate located in Pinhão in Cima Corgo, the family's love for the Douro is an age-old story, one that's now told by Sophia Bergqvist and her father Tim.
The family's connection with wine began with Sophia's great-grandfather, Albert Feueheerd, who owned a Port wine export business. In 1906, his daughter Claire received Quinta de la Rosa as a christening present and, when the family business collapsed, the clan started to sell the estate's grapes to Sandeman for Port wine production.
However, Sophia says that her grandmother Claire's love for the Douro (with whom she spent many childhood summers at de la Rosa) passed down from generation to generation, and was the main drive behind the launch of the estate in 1988.
Helped in its early years by David Baverstock, currently the winemaker at Herdade do Esporão and who quickly realised the potential of the de la Rosa grapes to make red wine (the estate was one of the first producers of table wine in the Douro), the family ended up hiring the young Jorge Moreira full-time in 2002.
In fact, Sophia credits the Portuguese winemaker with the balance of their wines: “Jorge is an extremely creative man and he's able to link creativity with the technical side.”
From this alliance come three brands: the Quinta de la Rosa (white, red and Reserva), which celebrates the minerality and terroir of Pinhão, the entry-level range douRosa (red and white), and Passagem, a joint venture between the Bergqvists and Moreira, which offers fruitier wines.
This portfolio is led by the excellent Ports, such as LBV and the popular Tawny 10 years, which were joined by a 20-year-old Tawny in January. Sweet but slightly dry, the de la Rosa Ports are considered “wine lovers' Ports”.
Other new arrivals in 2013 include the new de la Rosa (white and red) in April/May, and a Reserva red in June. As usual, the annual production of 300,000 bottles – a third of which are Port – will be distributed in Portugal, but also in the UK, Canada, New Zealand, China and even Brazil.
For those who would like to follow the winemaking process up close or simply enjoy a glass of wine with views over the Douro, the estate also features 12 elegantly decorated rooms. The country house is a side of the business that the family hopes to develop, benefiting from a privileged position just five minutes' walk from Pinhão, and an informal and welcoming atmosphere.
Alongside guided tours, guests can also take part in the harvesting of the Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Sousão and Tinta Cão varieties, among others, and witness first-hand the family's affection for the Douro. After all, says Sophia, this region she calls home doesn't just fill your glass, it also “gets under your skin”.
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