What am I: Vinho da Ordem, or Vineyard of the Order, is located in the village of Valhelhas, in the Serra da Estrela Natural Park, in a hidden valley on the left bank of the Zêzere River. The region is Beira Interior, between the towns of Belmonte and Guarda.
The vineyard has been in the current family’s hands since 1900, though there is evidence that vines have been on the property since at least 1834. In conjunction with the Portuguese government and research-focused institutions, the Jeronimo family, led by winemaker Pedro Jeronimo, are engaged in cataloging and preserving grape DNA material from this vineyard. This DNA shows the presence of ancient Portuguese grape varietals not seen anywhere in Portugal for many years.
The clarete is a mix of red and white grapes co-fermented to produce a wine that lands somewhere in between a rosé and a light red. Very popular, and well known in certain parts of Portugal during the middle-ages, claretes of this type are often called “medieval” wine in Portugal.
Vinho da Ordem Clarete Medieval 2016 is made from old vines shows cherry and red forest berries on the nose, along with a hint of dried fruit leather and oxygenation from the fermentation in an open tank. The palate is very smooth, with soft tannins and juicy, sweet-tart fruit. This wine is perfect served chilled, but not cold. An ideal aperitif, picnic wine, or accompaniment to grilled fish with stronger flavors, like salmon, or the famous Portuguese bacalhau.
Region, Sub-region and/or DOC: Beira Interior
Grape Varieties: Rufete, Marufo, Siria, Fonte Cal, Folgosão Rosado
Alcohol by volume: 13%