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Terra | Colares

Nestled along the western coast of Portugal, near Sintra, lies the enchanting Colares wine region. Unlike most European vineyards, Colares boasts a remarkable feat – it escaped the devastation of phylloxera, a root-destroying aphid that ravaged vineyards worldwide in the late 19th century. This resilience is thanks to the region's unique geological makeup.

Colares is blessed with sandy soils, unsuitable for the phylloxera to thrive. The insect prefers to burrow into denser, clay-based soils to lay its eggs. This fortunate combination of geography and grape varietals allowed Colares to maintain its pre-phylloxera vines, some of which are over 140 years old. These ancient vines, rooted in their own rootstocks, are a rarity in the world of wine and contribute to the distinct character of Colares wines.

Colares wines are steeped in tradition, and this extends to their production and distribution. Unlike many wine regions, Colares requires producers to belong to a cooperative – the Adega Regional de Colares, established in 1931. This cooperative plays a vital role in ensuring quality control and promoting the Colares Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC), the protected designation of origin for the region's wines.

Imagine rows of vines clinging stubbornly to life amidst a sea of sand dunes. This is the defining image of Colares. The Atlantic winds constantly buffet the vineyards, influencing the grape varieties and viticultural practices. The sandy soil, poor in nutrients but excellent for drainage, forces the vines to dig deep for sustenance, resulting in grapes with intense concentration.

Colares is fiercely traditional. The region primarily cultivates two indigenous grape varieties: red Ramisco and white Malvasia de Colares. These grapes thrive in the harsh conditions and produce wines known for their vibrant acidity, minerality, and subtle salinity – a reflection of the nearby ocean.

Unlike most wine regions where individual estates dominate, Colares functions through a cooperative system. Established in 1931, the Adega Regional de Colares (ARC) plays a crucial role. Individual grape growers throughout the region deliver their harvest to the ARC, which then vinifies and bottles the wines under various brands. This system ensures consistent quality and protects the unique character of Colares wines.

Colares wines are not widely available, but for those seeking a unique and captivating experience, they are a treasure. The combination of Atlantic influence, sandy terroir, and traditional methods results in wines unlike any other in Portugal. With their vibrant acidity, minerality, and subtle salinity, Colares wines offer a taste of the sea and a testament to the enduring spirit of this remarkable wine region. So, next time you're on the hunt for an adventure in a glass, seek out a bottle of Colares – it promises a journey unlike any other.

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Adega Viúva Gomes - 2021 - Pirata Castelão
Adega Viúva Gomes - 2020 - Colares Branco
Adega Regional de Colares - 2017 - Chão Rijo Tinto
Adega Regional de Colares - 2014 - Arenae Tinto
Adega Regional de Colares - 2021 - Chão Rijo Branco
Adega Regional de Colares - 2020 - Arenae Branco
Colares Chitas - 2010 - Branco
Adega Viúva Gomes - 2020- Pirata Tutti Frutti