Portugal,  travel

Discovering the Douro with CARM Vinhos

CARM Winery: Douro Superior at its Best

Exploring a wine region is not an easy task, but someone has to do it.  Since I love my friends and fellow winelovers, I was elated to sacrifice and learn more about the Douro Region of Portugal (for them, of course).  As with any wine region, there are usually different sub-zones and territories.  The Douro is no different.  The Douro Region has three sub-regions: Douro Superior, Baixo Corgo and Cima Corgo.  As part of a Team Douro wine tour, I was able to see, discover and taste the best of the Douro.  My visit included a tasting and lunch at CARM in Douro Superior.

CARM, which stands for Casa Agrícola Roboredo Madeira, Lda has been an organic, family-owned and operated business since the middle of the 17th century, producing wine, olive oil and almonds. The winery is located in Douro Superior, which is the largest of the Douro sub-regions and it borders Spain. While not being cliche, three words still come to mind when I think of CARM: location, location, location.  Although they have several other estates, the CARM Winery, which was newly built in 2004, is located in the Douro Superior Region of Portugal at Quinta das Marvalhas, in Almendra.  Here is where they also installed their olive mill.  This location is excellent due to its high elevation and north-facing position.  Bordering the Douro International Natural Park, this estate winery offers some of the most breathtaking and spectacular views of the Douro Valley.  

Check out the scenery in this brief video:

Video: Douro Superior at CARM Vinhos

My tasting and lunch of CARM was preceded by a complete tour of their beautiful, new and state-of-the-art facilities. 
Fermentation room at CARM

Wine Cellars at CARM

Wine Cellars at CARM
I alternated being immersed in the breathtaking views with lunch and tasting CARM’s palate pleasing wines. We began with a tasting of one of CARM’s brands, Vinha daUrze.  Vinha da Urze, which was founded in 1966, is strategically located at the confluence of 3 of Portugal’s iconic natural and historic heritage landmarks: the Archaeological Park of the Côa-Valley, the Natural Park of International Douro and the Douro D.O. Region for Porto and wine.  We enjoyed Vinha da Urze white and rosé wines.  

Vinha da Urze Branco is a white, refreshing blend of Rabigato, Viosinho and Moscatel Galego.  It has bright mineral notes and flavors of peach and white flowers. This branco is crisp and well-balanced with good acidity. 12% ABV

Vinha da Urze Rosé wine was absolutely enjoyable! While I didn’t taste many rosés in the Douro, I really liked this one.  Vinha da Urze Rosé is made from Touriga Nacional.  It’s fruity and floral with aromas of raspberry and grapefruit, with raspberry and red currant on the palate. Dry, crisp and structured. 12.5% ABV

The Wining Hour with the Syrah Queen
Aka Li and Rupal

According to the wine-maker, “Out of respect for nature, due to the way we cultivate our vineyards, my wines reflect my experiences, which smell and taste of my land, of schist, damp granite, rock rose, wild flowers and fruit. It is in my winery that I make wines with the character of our ‘terroir’, expressed through native grape varieties, which I instill with a style of their own and an international profile.”  These wines, Vinhos da Urze, provided a great introduction to CARM.

Here’s what else I tasted with lunch at CARM:

CARM Douro Vinho Branco is a white wine blend of Rabigato, Codega do Larinho (Siria), Verdelho, and other Portuguese traditional varieties. This Portuguese white has intense citrus fruit aromas with elegant oak, as well as mineral notes.  The palate is vibrant, long and complex with balanced acidity. 13.5% ABV
CARM CM Rouge (DOC) is made from 95% Touriga Nacional and 5% Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. It spends 18 months in new, extra fine grain French oak barrels and 30 months in the bottle. This red blend is very aromatic with aromas of wild dark fruit, licorice and coffee.  The palate is smooth with spicy dark fruit and an intense and persistent finish. 14% ABV

CARM Reserva Rouge (DOC) was my favorite!  It is a red wine blend also made from Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. After harvesting, the grapes are de-stemmed and crushed and then undergo a period of cold maceration before fermentation. Then the must is transferred to stainless steel tanks where fermentation continues. CARM Reserva Rouge opens with intense aromas of black cherry, blackberry and wood on the nose.  The palate is concentrated, but smooth, with toasted oak, spicy black cherry and chocolate. The Tinta Roriz adds firm tannins, while the Touriga Franca softens with dark fruits and berries and the Touriga Nacional adds floral notes. 14.5% ABV

CARM wines with a regional dish of Cod fish

CARM wine and a delicious dessert!

The extremely poor soils of schist origin, high slopes and extreme climate, characterized by high thermal amplitudes and low rainfall levels, gave rise to the culture and traditions of our region.” CARM

Celso Madeira, CARM wine producer

CARM Wine Producer, Celso Madiera 

“This is my passion: wines from the great Douro valley.” – Antonio Ribeiro, Winemaker

When seeking wines that represent the terroir of the Douro Valley of Portugal, be sure to taste CARM Vinhos.

For more of the Douro, come back.  But for now, check out:

Discovering the Douro Wines of Portugal

Discovering the Douro Hospitality of Bulas Family Estates

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Planted, harvested and aged in NY. I have a background in education and marketing, with a love and passion for travel...and all things wine. In addition to writing about wine, I also maintain an online wine boutique (thewininghour.com) that caters to the winelover, as well as the weekly vinous winechat (#WiningHourChat) on Twitter (see page for more info).

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