What am I: COZ’s is a partnership between two Portuguese winemakers, Tiago Teles and Antonio Marques da Cruz, of Quinta da Serradinha, who have become well-known for groundbreaking wines of pure terroir. As the saying goes, the “whole is greater than the sum of its parts,” and there is much more to COZ’s story than just a partnership between two great winemakers.
This brand’s origins are at the Quinta dos Cozinheiros property, 8 km from the sea, in the area of Figueira da Foz, as well as in the much-admired wines of a man named José Mendonça. José Mendonça was well-known and much admired for the wines he produced from old vines of mixed red and white grapes, predominantly Baga for reds, and Maria Gomés for whites. Unfortunately, José was killed suddenly in an auto accident in 2009, and the vineyards were semi-abandoned, while the remaining wines – most famously a treasure called Utopia – was released the bottling ran out in 2011.
In 2015, Tiago had the opportunity to work with the grapes that went into the Utopia wine and the Quinta dos Cozinheiros. Excited and humbled by the possibility of making wines from these hallowed vines, and from a place that was so connected to their friend and mentor José Mendonça, Tiago enlisted the help of his friend, Antonio Marques da Cruz, and the COZ’s partnership was born.
The first two wines were Baga based blends, combining a cornucopia of white and red varieties all planted together at the Quinta, and kissed by a very special maritime influence that could only be found in this place. Seeing their modest success in rehabilitating and reviving the production of a treasured vineyard, Tiago and Antonio decided that the same thing could be done for other endangered, yet extraordinary vineyards under the COZ’s brand.
Today, COZ’s wines are produced from predominantly old vineyards, many on the slopes of the Serra Montejunto, the largest mountain to the immediate north of Lisbon. They represent a broader range of varieties and profiles than just the original Baga from Quinta dos Cozinheiros. The grapes of Cozinheiros and the spirit that animated Tiago and Antonio to want to produce wines from these locations continue to guide them and can be tasted in every COZ’s wine.
COZ's Castelão: The vineyard is about 13 years old, belonging to Quinta do Olival da Murta, farmed according to organic principles, on clay-limestone soils in the Montejunto region. Low intervention vinification, fermentation with the skins in 1000 liter vats for 10 days, then 11 months aging in used barrels.
Region, Sub-region and/or DOC: Lisboa
Grape Varieties: Castelão
Alcohol by volume: 12.5%
Winemaker backgrounds: Tiago Teles was a telecommunications engineer who spent all of his free time drinking wine and writing about it. Fairly well-known as a wine writer of skill, he developed a fortuitous friendship with Carlos Campolargo, one of the largest and best-known wine producers in Bairrada. Taking inspiration from Carlos and all the wines that he had been drinking, Tiago set out to make wines that evoked his love of the maritime spirit of the Portuguese Atlantic coast. Currently, Tiago produces a range of wines from multiple vineyard sources, including the COZ’s wines.
António Marquês da Cruz is the fifth generation to be responsible for Quinta da Serradinha, in the Leiria area, DOC Encostas de Aire, with vineyards dating back to 1957. The climate of the area is rich in Atlantic influence with high rainfall and dry summers, but with morning breezes that give a slow maturation that preserves the aromatic complexity of the wines. Serradinha cultivates 6 hectares of vines on clay-limestone soil on south-facing slopes. Organic since 1994, Serradinha is one of the first organic vineyards in Portugal. In addition to Baga and Tinta Miuda, the varieties Alfrocheiro, Touriga Nacional and Castelão are the red grapes planted, and Arinto, Encruzado, and Fernão Pires represent white grapes.