Marta Soares, Casal Figueira: looking forwards, looking backwards
I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Marta Soares of Casal Figueira for my recent feature for Blend, All About Wine. Of necessity, the artist became a winemaker after being widowed. She is as interesting and intense as her wines. I have huge admiration for her desire to preserve Portugal’s viticultural patrimony in the shape of those aged vines which produce Portugal’s one and only 100% Vital.
And vital her first 2009 vintage remained when I tasted it last month. Here are my notes on it and the latest 2013 release. I’m told there will be no 2014 (a tricky year), so snap it up!
Casal Figueira António Vinho Branco 2013 (VR Lisboa)
A really luminous wine with an inner, sustaining glow to its rich pear, quince, candied lemon peel and orange nuances. Lingering, ripe, well integrated pebbly acidity carries a long, long finish. Terrific intensity and balance. Hard to believe that, with such thoroughbred potential, this grape has disappeared into blends and been regarded as the plodder in plonk! 13% It costs around £18 at The Good Wine Shop, The Wright Wine Co (new to me, excellent Portuguese wine list) and Bottle Apostle (all 2012 stock, also very good indeed).
Casal Figueira António Vinho Branco 2009 (VR Lisboa)
Yellow gold with a sapid, subtly nutty, textural palate – lovely mouthfeel, line and length. Shimmers with minerals – again, that inner glow. Intense and expressive; plenty of life in this yet. 12.5%