Situated in the Estramadura (Lisboa Wines) in the DOC Obidos region, the vineyards are set in Hilly country near to Caldas da Rainha, The climate is temperate to cool, with a strong maritime influence and summer temperatures seldom above 30 degrees. Late harvests lead to well-structured wines with natural acidity but sometimes high alcohol content. Our vines were planted between 2000 and 2005 on cleared fields previously unused for 30 years and have been grown organically from the beginning leading to full certification in 2010. Grapes and wines of this vintage and beyond are organically certified.
Cortém has a very distinctive microclimate which has prompted some people to say that this is not the best place to make red wine. What they mean is that it is not hot enough. But there again the taste of our wines tell a different story. In this area, our maritime climate is much cooler and has an increased rainfall each year making irrigation unnecessary. At night there are often cold sea breezes and fog, even in the summer months. Vines enjoy this cool night air as a contrast to the heat of the day. Our harvest is late compared with the southern part of Portugal and we may have to wait till the middle of October for the last grapes to ripen. At this time the weather can bring rain which if it persists can ruin the grapes, but we have to wait. We harvest each lot according to ripeness, The first to come in is the Jean and the Pinot Noir and the last is the Syrah, taking us well into the second week in October.
The vineyards are situated in a protected valley where the predominant agriculture now is fruit growing. There are no public roads or houses in the valley which makes for a very clean and tranquil environment. Next to the valley there are several sq Km of forest and a large population of wild pig which come down to the vineyards at night! The soil is predominantly alluvial sandy clay but varies from field to field as the geology of the area.
We have planted many different grape varieties in Cortém allowing us to be able to produce wines with very different flavours from them.
© Vinhos Cortem - Chris Price & Helga Wagner