Located in Cima Corgo on the left bank of the Douro and southwest of Pinhão, Casa Santa Eufémia is a grower port estate that was established in 1894. Home to steep banks that can be challenging to farm, Cima Corgo sits between Baixo Corgo to the west, which is the wettest and most heavily planted of the three subregions with 35in annual rainfall, and Douro Superior to the east, which sees only 20in of rain each year. In Cima Corgo, with its 26in of annual rainfall, the Carvalho family has been growing and harvesting grapes, and making, blending, fortifying and aging their own port wines for 118 years.
“There’s always things you think you might have to compromise,” says Jorge Perez, our Iberian Portfolio Director in regards to adding a producer to our portfolio, “but with Santa Eufémia, there was none. They fit with our philosophy perfectly. They’re family owned and farmed sustainably with wines that are a notch above their peers.”
Owned and operated by the brother and sister team Pedro and Lucia Carvalho, Casa Santa Eufémia was once a part of a larger estate that was divided amongst their father and his siblings when their grandfather passed away.
Farming sustainably without herbicides or pesticides, Pedro and Lucia meticulously maintain their 40ha of vineyards, 80% of which are approximately 30 years old. Carved out hillside in terraces of schist at approximately 300m, the vineyards support varietals that are nearing extinction in Portugal, including Bastardo, Mourisco Tinto, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Carvalha, which are planted as field blends, because this is how it was done years ago. With parcels that consist of sub-plots that contain up to 20+ varietals, each sub-plot produces a wine of a specific color, aromatics and structure.
And because of the winery’s longevity, the siblings have access to older ports which they happily blend into their barrels. With ports in house that are approximately 100 years old, they are able to blend 60, 80 and 100 year old wines into their 30 and 40 year Tawny Ports, offering the consumer much more than what’s on the label.
In addition to a fantastic selection of Tawny, Vintage and LBV Ports, Santa Eufémia also offers a 1973 Reserve Especial Blanco Port, which is dwindling in reserves with each year passing. In 1973, before estates could legally bottle their own ports, they were required to sell their wines to the bigger houses. When the “Carnation Revolution” occurred in 1974, the delivery of the family’s wines was interrupted. When the fog of war lifted they delivered the rest, but kept the barrel of vintage 1973 Blanco Port, which is what they bottle and sell today.
Eventually, they’ll start blending this reserve with later vintages, but for now we’re offering this beautiful vintage port while it lasts.