In 2011, after a period of neglect, Quinta de Covela was brought back to life once more by its two new owners, a Brazilian and a Briton with backgrounds in areas as diverse as finance, agriculture and media. Mindful of the prestige and excellent reputation the Covela wines enjoyed for years among wine lovers, the new partners opted to rebuild the estate's old team, starting with enologist Rui Cunha, who had been involved in the original Covela project since 1992 and was head winemaker from 1998 onward.
The wines will continue to be intriguing assemblages of Portuguese and international grape varieties, with local Avesso and Touriga Nacional continuing to be the cornerstones for Covela blends. Arinto, Chardonnay, Viognier and Gewürztraminer complement Avesso in the whites, while Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot Noir - the three main Bordeaux red grapes - blend with Touriga Nacional for reds of strong personality.
As the last days of summer give way to autumn, grapes are hand-picked, by variety and by estate plot. Minute attention is paid to detail as the grapes are hand-sorted before fermenting in stainless steel, concrete or oak barrels, depending on which wine is being produced: Covela Escolha reds and whites, and Covela Rosé, are unoaked, while Covela Rosé and the rare Covela Fantastico editions, produced only in years of exceptionally good harvests, are aged in French, Austrian or Slavonian oak barrels stacked over 12 metres high above the cool, stone winery floor. All bottling, labelling and storage are carried out on the estate.
With an eye on keeping Quinta de Covela in the vanguard of wine trends and exploiting the estate's unique potential, a new experimental plot is currently being planted with a dozen or so varieties, mostly Portuguese and rarely known beyond our borders. In coming years, the results of such studies and experiments may well be transformed into new Covela wines or updated versions of some of our existing blends.