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Rabo da Rainha 2020 B-Side


Rabo da Rainha 2020 – Lado B is a Grande Reserva red wine aged in French oak barrels for 540 days. A big wine with intense black fruit and cherry aromas, full bodied, dry, with beautiful vibrant tannins, a great mouth and long finish. Perfect companion for anything stewed or braised, red meat, carrots, plums, mushrooms, creamy sauces.

It´s made of four prominent Portuguese grapes, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Castelão hand-harvested at our low-intervention vineyard in Bemposta, Alenquer. The grape bunches were carefully transported to Belém using 20kg boxes and immediately destemmed and crushed. In line with our company practice, no additives, sulfur or other corrections were applied in order to preserve the yeast diversity from the vineyard.

The grapes fermented spontaneously in separate steel tanks whereby the diversity of indigenous yeasts from the vineyard and the cellar would create complex and chemically diverse base wines. We started the fermentation at 22 degrees Celsius, increased to 25 degrees half way through the fermentation and then let the wine go for another couple of days during which it was punched down gently twice a day.

After the end of fermentation, to separate the skins and seeds from the wine, we used our traditional vertical basket press known for its gentle pressure and slow pressuring. The wines then spent the following year in newly refurbished French oak barrels. The very tannin-rich press wines (the last wines from each batch that we got from the press) were mixed together and aged for a year in a clay amphorae, more permeable to air than oak barrels, hence encouraging the tannin to build larger molecules faster.

“B-sides give the artist a chance to create an alternative narrative to the one detailed by their A-sides.”

Pete Paphides, An ode to the joy and madness of the B-side, TheVinylFactory.com

After a year, parts of the Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional were bottled as a first lot, commercialized as Rabo da Rainha 2020. The Lisbon Wine Commission awarded a Grande Reserva certification, which is the highest  interdependently awarded quality level one can achieve in Portugal. Parts of the Castelão were bottled as a beautiful single variety wine, Senhor Rita Castelão 2020. Parts of the press wine aged in the clay amphorae were bottled as our award winning Rabo da Prensa 2020.

We spent a long time testing various blends to get the wine right, and at the end used Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Castelão, together with some of the tannin-rich press wine as a new blend. This went back into the oak barrells for another 10 months to integrate and gain a great structure. In the summer of 2022, we racked the wine off from the barrels and bottled it. It stayed in the bottles for another six months and was released at the end of 2023. Once again, the Lisbon Wine Commission awarded a Grande Reserva certification.

We believe it’s a wonderful full-bodied wine, with an amazingly vivacious fruit concentration, handcrafted at our winery in Belém with meticulous attention to every detail. We hope you will enjoy this wine as much as we do! In Pete Paphides words, it really created a B-Side, um Lado-B, an alternative narrative to our first edition of the Rabo da Rainha, that we feel gives the work a different creative twist, maybe more serious, maybe more frivolous at the same time.

“I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave.”

Diogenes talking to Alexander the Great, while looking attentively at a pile of human bones.

Rabo da Rainha 2020 – Lado B is also stoic manifest about wine and winemaking in more general terms, claiming universal royal happiness through the common human condition of the bum. A common French saying rightfully claims that “no one farts higher than their bum”. Translated into the world of wine, no one can claim dominance or authority over anyone else’ taste buds. Bum and bud work within a similar phenomenological paradigm. Only once the wine drinker frees themself from the corrupting guidelines by wine critics and opens their sensorial sensibility to the very drink in appreciation, he or she will be able to develop appreciative virtues opening a path to happiness.