Friday, February 28, 2014

Visit and Tasting at Porto Cálem in Porto / Vila Nova da Gaia, Portugal

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller in Front of  Porto Cálem in Vila Nova da Gaia

As part of a pre-conference trip (before the 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference in Logroño, Rioja, Spain) up the Douro Valley, from Porto to the Upper Douro Valley, close to the Spanish border, I participated in a tour and tasting at Porto Cálem in Porto / Vila Nova da Gaia.

Porto Cálem has been bought recently by the Sogevinus Fine Wines Group, which also owns other famous Port Houses. The tasting included ports from Kopke, Burmester and Barros.

Sogevinus Fine Wines Group

Sogevinus Fine Wines Group is a Portuguese holding company, owned by the Galicia Bank Nova Galicia, focusing on high quality Port wines and Douro D.O.C wines. Since 1998, Porto Cálem is part of Sogevinus, which also includes the famous brands Kopke, Burmester and Barros. The group also owns some vineyards, Quinta S.Luiz with about 125 ha in central Douro and Quinta da Arnozelo with some 200 ha in the more prestigious and difficult to access Douro Superior. Here, they also grow olives and other crop on the steep slopes of the river. The grapes for the Calem wines come from Quinta da Arnozelo.

Picture: Christian G.E. Schiller in Front of  Porto Burmester in Vila Nova da Gaia

Porto Cálem

António Alves Cálem founded the Port House Cálem in Vila Nova da Gaia in 1859. Cálem is a large producer. Porto Cálem main market has always been Portugal, but exports have maintained a high significance along its history. The brand logotype - the caravel in which Port Cálem was exported to Brazil - show exactly that importance. In 1880, Brazil represented 40% of total exports. Originally, Porto Cálem was exporting 100% of its port wine to Brazil in exchange of exotic woods and by means of its own fleet.

Pictures: Porto Seen from Vila Nova da Gaia

Tour of Cálem Cellars

We took a very interesting tour of the company cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, where, after the winemaking process in Douro, the ageing of Porto Cálem wines takes place. Located next to D. Luiz I bridge, these cellars show perfect conditions to successfully age the Port wines, as per their cool and dry air, and little light.

Pictures: Tour of Porto Cálem

This way, Porto Cálem wines age in oak casks for years and years. It is also in these cellars, that Porto Cálem welcomes every year around 120.000 visitors and from where the Port wines are exported to markets abroad.

Calem Portfolio

White Ports

Velhotes Fine White

Porto Cálem Velhotes Fine White ages in oak casks and in wine vats. With a yellow-straw colour, reveals a floral aroma and a flavour of tropical fruits. It is smooth in the mouth, fruity and elegant.

White and Dry

Porto Cálem White and Dry ages in oak casks and in wine vats. With a green-straw colour, it presents floral and young bouquet. In the mouth it is delicately dry, smooth and balanced.


The name Lágrima evokes the “tears” (or drops) of alcohol that slither around and inside the glass, after drinking the wine. It ages in oak casks and in wine vats. With a golden colour, it presents a bouquet of honey and dry fruits. In the mouth is sweet, intense and complex.

Ruby Ports

Velhotes Fine Ruby

Porto Cálem Fine Ruby is young and full of energy. It is blended with young port wines and kept for little time in wood casks, which enhances the original grapes characteristics and ensures a deep ruby colour and a bouquet of red berries. It ages between 3 and 4 years in oak casks. With a ruby colour, it presents young, fruity aromas. In the mouth is smooth, elegant and balanced.

Late Bottled Vintage

Porto Cálem Late Bottled Vintages are produced from a single year crop, ageing between 4 to 6 years in oak casks and in wine vats. Our LBVs present the same deep, intense ruby colour, the same balance and rich aroma of bush fruits as the Vintage Port Wines. LBVs do not require ageing or decanting and can be enjoyed single or serving with roasted or smoked meat, strong cheese and dry fruits.


Porto Cálem Vintages results from exceptionally good crops from a single year, such as the ones of 1983, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2003, referred as to “Classical Years” due to the high quality grapes obtained in ideal climate conditions.

After 2 years in oak barrels, Vintage Port wines are bottled in our cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia, in the Douro riverside. The Vintage improve and age in the bottle for decades, and should be kept horizontally, in a dark, dry aired place, enhancing its true character through out the times.

Vintage Port should be drunk with a minimum of 8 years old, but it can be appreciated with more than 50.

When recent, Vintage Port is intense, with an impressive deep purple colour and reveals strong aromas of berries (especially, raspberries and blackberries), with firm tannins and a balanced structure. By ageing, it becomes smoother, but more elegant and complex, acquiring softer colours, distinctive aromas and body.

As Vintage Port Wines throw deposit, before decantation the bottle should be kept upright for some hours. It is perfect served with strong cheese.

Quinta da Foz Vintage

Porto Cálem Vintage Port “Single Quinta”: Quinta da Foz Vintage and Quinta do Sagrado Vintage are produced with premium quality grapes exclusively from each one of these “Quintas” (vine estates), located deep in the Douro region.

At present, our Vintages offer include Quinta da Foz 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997 and Quinta do Sagrado 1994 and 1997, produced in years of excellent climate conditions. After 2 years in oak casks, these Vintages were bottled to continue the ageing process lying down in a dark, cooled air place. Such as “Classic” Vintages, the “Single Quinta” start by being intense, strong and full-bodied, ageing to become more elegant, complex and mature.

Before serving, and as per its deposit due to the ageing process, the bottle should be put in the upright position some hours before decantation. It goes splendidly with strong cheese after meals.

Tawny Ports

Velhotes Fine Tawny

Porto Cálem Velhotes Fine Tawny is one of the most popular Port Wines in Portugal. It ages in oak casks for 3 to 4 years. With a brow-tawny colour, it reveals dry fruits and wood aromas. In the mouth is velvety, fruity and balanced.

Reserva Tawny

Porto Cálem Reserva Tawny ages in oak casks for 7 years. With a brown-tawny colour, its aromas are of dried fruits and spice. In the mouth is velvety, balanced and with hints of dry fruits.


Porto Cálem Colheitas or Dated Ports are tawny Ports from a single year high quality crop such as 1961, 1988, 1989 e 1990, 1992 and 1994. Each year reveal special characteristics which are developing whilst ageing in the wood casks for a period not less than 8 years. Colheita presents a tawny colour, smooth touch in the mouth and a bouquet of vanilla, honey and dried fruits. Ready to serve single as the bottle is opened without need for decantation, are also ideal to go along with cakes and deserts.

Old Tawnies

10 Years Old

Porto Cálem 10 Anos results from a thorough selection of Port Wines aged in oak casks and blended to average 10 years old. With a tawny topaz colour, we can sense wood, dry fruits and chocolate aromas. In the mouth it is velvety, intense and with a persistent flavour.

20 Years Old

Porto Cálem 20 Anos is obtained by blending selected aged Port Wines, kept in wood for different periods of time, but that average the age indicated in the label. In orange-green tonalities, it reveals spice, honey and wood aromas. In the mouth is balanced and complex, with persistent and pleasant ending.

30 Years Old

Porto Cálem 30 Anos blends different aged Port Wines that in average reach 30 years. The organoleptic characteristics enhanced in wood casks while ageing, are the ones of the specific age indicated in the label. In a green tawny colour, it presents wood, spice and dry fruit aromas. In the mouth it is velvety, intense and with a persistent ending.

40 Years Old

Porto Cálem 40 Anos results from a careful selection of aged Port Wines, which spent in average 40 years in oak casks. With a tawny-green colour, it reveals hints of dry fruits, spice and honey. In the mouth it is involving, complex and presents a powerful ending.


We tasted 4 Ports.

Picture: Tasting 4 Port Wines

Kopke White 30 Years

The German Family named Kopke came from Hamburg to Lisbon in 1636. Two years later, in 1638, Christiano Kopke established himself in Oporto, as merchant and exporter of Portuguese products, and he started the export of Portuguese wines already produced in the region, as part of his business. When the Wine - then known as Portwine - was recognized, the House of Kopke which is today the eldest Portwine's export firm, was one of the leaders in the field. Through many generations, the company was run by several members of Kopke's family, obtaining an excellent reputation for its wines, especially its vintage tawny.

Toro Wines and Spirits: Amber color with greenish nuances. Intense nose of great complexity, standing-out the dried fruit aromas, harmoniously combined with vanilla and honey touches. In the mouth, it is wonderfully balanced, unctuous and extremely concentrated. Sublime and endless finish.

Burmester Tawny 40 Years

Burmeister: This 40-year-old Tawny is obtained from wines that have been carefully aged in small oak casks and later blended in a small upstanding oak vat dating from 1864. The final mix, in small oak casks, is a vivacious example of the art of "blending", which CASA BURMESTER has perfected over the years.

Pictures: Panos Kakaviatos and Annette Schiller

Barros Vintage 2011

Robert Parker: (88-90) The 2011 Barros has a high-toned, forward bouquet of violets and iodine that is fresh and lively, displaying both lift and a sense of animation. The palate is very smooth on the entry with a core of sweet, spicy black fruit. Granted, it is not the most complex 2011 Vintage Port, although it is nicely balanced and there is a pleasant fieriness towards the finish. Tasted May 2013.

Kopke Colheita 1940

Kopke: The oldest house of Port celebrates its 375 years, with the presentation of a very limited and exclusive edition of Kopke Colheita Port 1940. The company completes almost four centuries of existence in the world of wine, especially Port wine. 375 years of work is an accomplishment of only few companies worlwide. To celebrate, the company launched a very special wine, Kopke 375 - Special Edition Harvest Port 1940.

Picture: Kopke Colheita 1940

The '375' marks not only the anniversary, but also the number of existing bottles. Wine has been produced during World War 2, and has been resting for 73 years in hull No. 10053, inside an oak barrel of 580 litters. Each bottle comes in a wooden case of rosewood, with black on the inside and with golden printing. The package includes the certificate for "The Oldest House of Port Wine". Each 0.75 liter bottle will cost around 680 Euros.

schiller-wine: Related Posting

Meeting Up-and-coming Winemaker Rita Ferreira Marques from the Douro Area in Portugal at Screwtop Winebar in Clarendon, Virginia

Meeting Rupert Symington from the Symington Family - One of the Oldest Families of Port Producers

The 2013 Digital Wine Communications Conference (DWCC) in Logroño, Rioja, Spain

A Douro Valley Tour from Porto Upstream to the Upper Douro Region, Portugal

Food Tour of Porto with André Apolinário from Taste Porto Food Tours, Portugal

Visit and Tasting at Porto Cálem in Porto / Vila Nova da Gaia, Portugal

Wining and Dining at the Reborn Quinta de Covela, Vinho Verde Region in the Douro Valley, with Owner Tony Smith and Winemaker Rui Cunha, Portugal

Tasting 2011 Vintage Port at Quinta da Boavista, Douro Valley, Portugal

Tour and Lunch at Quinta da Léda in the Upper Douro Valley, with Winemaker Luís Sottomayor, Portugal

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