A great wine, one of exceptional quality and premium class is not a mere act of will. There are numerous variants and determining factors that lead to a top result where the demanding standards of producers, winemakers and connoisseurs meet – small parts of a whole that are the fruit of profound knowledge and are seasoned with passion.
Everything begins with the soil
The characteristics of the soil, the climate and the topography of a vineyard are decisive. This fundamental trio, which in broad terms go to make up the so-called ‘terroir’, significantly affect the taste of the wine. The identification of geographical areas more favourable to the vineyard has, over the years, led to wine demarcation for some regions of the globe, one of them being the prestigious and ancestral Dão. Characterized by its rugged relief and extensive thermal amplitude, it is home to rich and quality soils suitable for viticulture, such as those that produce the wines of Julia de Melo Kemper.
In the complex production of premium wines, raw material of superior quality is more than a mere requirement, it is a precondition, indeed a necessity, that must be respected with something approaching religious fervour. It is difficult to reach the top echelons of the elite world of wines without noble grape varieties and proven excellence. Touriga-Nacional might be the most vibrant standard bearer of Dão and one of the grapes – along with Alfrocheiro, Tinta Roriz and Jaen – which ensures superior quality guarantees for Julia Kemper’s red wines. Encruzado, Malvasia-Fina and Verdelho do the same for white wine. The exclusivity of a limited production, in an exceptional year, can also lead to the premium level and rare wines.
What to plant, where and under which climatic conditions is fundamental, but not enough. As is commonly said , it is necessary to know about pruning – but not only – since a good vineyard must be understood and pampered, treated with expert refinements and delicacy, and a premium wine requires deep knowledge, extensive experience and even some secrets – the kind of knowledge that passes from generation to generation, like that transmitted over four centuries in the Melo family. But italso requires a restless and attentive will, always dissatisfied and eager for new learning and ever better techniques. This is a complicated equation where nothing is left to chance, knowledge that honours and brings together ancient and present savoir faire. This is an approach? that Julia Kemper has been able to take to her wines, since she took on the management of the family vineyards.
Alchemy, intuition and passion
A good farmer, it seems to us, is one who understands the soil. He or she knows how to feel and really sees when s/he looks, a person to whom a mere scent, a simple colour is what it takes to know when it is time to prune or reap. A dialogue that is intuitive and reciprocal when one knows how to read Nature. The next step follows all the alchemy involved in the processes of production, conservation and storage of wine, under the wise hand of the winemaker. In this year-round laboratory, where scientific knowledge and traditional techniques are embraced, where the whims of the climate and the knowledge of man come face to face , there is room for the emotions of those who accompany the whole cycle of Nature, all the doubts and certainties of the producer, all the vagaries of wine. Making an exclusive, premium wine of excellence, that truly stands out not only requires technique and wisdom. It requires an artistic touch and that implies sensitivity and commitment, risk and surrender. In a trade like this, above all, there is room for passion. Because without passion, will a truly premium wine be good? In a trade like this, above all, there is room for passion. Because without passion, will a good wine ever be truly premium?