”One of the inside secrets of Portugal’s wine trade was for a long time”, British wine writer Jamie Goode writes, ”the wines of Bussaco [Buçaco].” Commissioned by King Charles I of Portugal as a royal retreat, the Bussaco Palace was built between 1888 and 1907 in Coimbra and remains one of the country’s most historically significant pieces of architecture. In 1917, the palace was turned into a hotel, still owned and run to this day by the family of Alexandre de Almeida. From the beginning, de Almeida wanted to offer only local food and beverages so, with regards to wine, they began to make their own. Created in 1920, the bottle labels have remained the same and wines have always been blends of grapes from Dão and Bairrada. The vintage is indicated by a discrete white sticker on each bottle. Both a red and a white Buçaco were made, and they weren’t your average house wines. A reputation for their quality and ageing potential soon spread, but the catch remained that you could only drink the wines in the hotel dining room. However, as Jamie Goode writes, ”Occasional bottles got out, and they were the source of great excitement.”
The financial crisis in Portugal, that started in 2001 and culminated between 2010 and 2014, left the hotel little choice but to release some wine to the market. As a result, for a while there were older vintages floating around but these soon dried up, and the hotel now only releases a very small amount of current vintage to the market.
The wines of Buçaco are officially part of the GD portfolio and today makes for the maiden offer. We have put together a mixed six-bottle case of the three wines made by the Bussaco Palace Hotel. These are very special wines, and it is a privilege to be able to make them available to wine lovers in South Africa.
017|Buçaco|Tinto Reservado|x 2 bottles (R 1,345 per bottle)
A blend of Baga and Touriga Nacional, fermented and aged in French oak barrels (300L) for twelve months.
2019|Buçaco|Branco Reservado|x 2 bottles (R 1,395 per bottle)
A blend of Encruzado, Maria Gomes and Bical, fermented and aged in French oak barrels (300L) for twelve months.
2020|Buçaco|Rosado Reservado|x 2 bottles (R 1,345 per bottle)
A rosé of 100% Baga, fermented and aged on the lees in French oak barrels (300L) for six months.
Of the Tinto and Branco, we were allocated just a handful of magnums (1.5L) of each. Please ask us for details.
We also received a small amount of the Buçaco Tinto Vinha da Mata 2015. This cuvée is a single vineyard wine from Bairrada and is a blend of Baga and Touriga Nacional. It is one of only two vineyards owned by Buçaco (both in Bairrada; the balance of fruit that goes into the other wines is bought in from long-standing growers). The 2015 is only the third release (the others were the 2001 and 2010). Fermentation takes place with the stems, and the wine was aged for twelve months in 100% new French oak casks.
2015|Buçaco Tinto Vinha da Mata|R 2,195 per bottle *very limited*