Reynolds Winegrowers, Portugal

The Reynolds family originated from England and have had associations with Portugal since Thomas J. Reynolds arrived in 1820 – attracted by the potential of the wine trade.

Set on the edge of the Parque Natural de Serra de S. Mamede close to the Spanish border – almost parallel with Lisbon – the one-hundred acres of vineyard is surrounded by meadows, oak and cork trees on a soil of mainly shale.

The terrain promotes huge temperate variations from night to date which gives great ripening conditions for the grapes, which are mainly the Alicante Bouschet variation which was introduced to Portugal by the Reynolds family.

Sophie Shepherd paid a visit to this Wright Wine Company favourite in June…

We drove down a long track heading towards the vineyard past fields of cattle, which is the only thing I could see for quite some time, convinced we were heading the wrong way until we saw the gates with ‘Reynolds’ and the little crown like emblem. The whole place had a very tranquil and peaceful feeling. We arrived early to catch the man himself – Julian Reynolds before he had to head to Porto for a big meeting concerning sustainable agriculture with some very important people. He told me that it was a topic very important to him, to keep farming working alongside nature as much as possible, following in the footsteps of his ancestors’, who for generations have also been winegrowers. Wine runs in the blood it would seem. Outside the office there were some work men assembling some kind of structure with wooden poles. They were to serve the purpose of growing a canopy of vines, providing shade from the sun in front of the door, cooling the office down meaning a cut in use of the air conditioning. Julian explained that everything on the farm and in the gardens (which is how he refers to his vineyards) has a purpose in the most natural and basic way possible. Why buy unnecessary materials when you can grow something natural that is giving back to the environment? Bonus – they were also the tasty edible variety, not the ones you use for wine making.

We walked up the gently sloping main vineyard path to the top of the of the hill – at this point I was grateful for the somewhat early start to the day and the cooler temperatures. The 1km pathway was lined with red roses all the way up and the views from the top were amazing as you can imagine. You can now see this view on the new wine labels which are on the Carlos range.

Walking around the winery, we had a nosey in the fermentation rooms at the different shapes and sizes of the various vessels they use for different styles of wine. I love the different smells you get from the wine in making; it makes you feel like you’re getting to the nitty gritty part of wine producing. The ageing cellar, with barrels lining each side and the Reynolds logo and the little crown emblem branded on each, it had a very theatrical look. Floor lights casting shadows around the forms of the barrel onto the ceiling.

I left with a bottle of the Julian Reynolds Reserva and the Carlos Reynolds Rosé – a new addition to the Reynolds collection only having had two vintages bottled. I drank it when I got home in the oddly beautiful summer we seem to be having and it was perfect! Delicate strawberries and raspberries, a hint of floral character with refreshing but gentle, smooth acidity, everything you need from a rosé on a hot summers day. On the trip I went on to drink a ‘few’ more Portuguese rosé wines and they seemed to be bolder with less delicate fruit character (not in a negative way) so it would seem maybe Reynolds are onto something different.

Or possibly I just didn’t sample enough…

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