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Barca Velha has been chosen numerous times by Portuguese bodies for official receptions of civilian, military and religious world dignitaries, including the Pope.
The extreme heat of the Douro Superior, and the fact that there was no electricity in the region at the time, led the creator of Barca Velha to order ice be transported on trucks from Matosinhos to Pocinho, to ensure fermentation occurred at controlled temperatures (a technological innovation at the time).
The name Barca Velha ("Old Boat") is associated with a(n old) boat which in those days crossed the Douro, near the farms where the wine was produced.
There is only one bottle of the first Barca Velha harvest left- a magnum from 1952, of incalculable value today.
In more than half a century of existence, Barca Velha had only 16 harvests and three winemakers: Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, the mythical creator of this precious wine, was able to pass on a deep love of the Douro to José Maria Soares Franco and Luís Sottomayor, the latter now the winemaking director for all Sogrape Vinhos’ Douro region wines.
Barca Velha is the epitome, the pinnacle, the unquestionable symbol of the highest quality of Douro wines.
Classic, intense, complex, elegantand rich it has also been, since its creation in 1952, the most celebrated Portuguese wine. Barca Velha is the basis upon which Casa Ferreirinha´s reputation has grown, the latter
being the quality brand in the Douro and one of its main world-wide standard-bearers. Barca Velha is declared only in truly exceptional years (16 in all).
Barca Velha is vinified at the Quinta da Leda wine centre, where the selected grapes are vinified by variety or in lots, hand-chosen at the vineyard and/or on arrival at the wine centre. The grapes, after full stem-removal and soft crushing are moved into stainless steel vats and/or robot-operated presses, for maceration and alcoholic fermentation, with intense pumping-over, under automatically controlled temperature. A long maceration was performed to allow the quality components of the ripe grape skins to pass into the wine. Finally, and at the moment required by each variety/blend, the wine was stored and the masses pressed, with the wine resulting from pressings kept apart from the remaining yield.