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How we do it
Viticulture

For Miguel Couto Ramos giving land the opportunity to express its full potential means that each terroir has its own history. Miguel is careful to work with the natural cycles and local customs of each one. Customisation and attention to detail are major aspects of the Miguel’s approach to wine-making. They are prerequisites for producing exceptional wines, as their ancestors did for generations

At Tralhão Vineyards, we believe that real wine quality is produced in the vineyard not the winery.

Driven by that belief, each of our fifteen plots of vineyards is managed with a "spare no expense" viticultural approach that is based on organic and Biodynamic farming methods.

Our goal is to naturally balance our vines while cultivating a vibrant and biologically diverse ecosystem in and around each vineyard.

This philosophy of minimal intervention is mirrored in our winemaking. Meanwhile we have conducted extensive blends within last years vinification processes. The results of these trials help us to continue the optimally definition of plots to the diverse geologies, slopes and orientation found in our vineyards.

Vinification

Vinification is consistent with our organic/biodynamic approach to viticulture, we believe that hands-off winemaking provides for enhanced vineyard expression and complexity. After 5 generations of Niepoorts working with 5 generations of Nogueira, the wines of Tralhão reflect this 5 generations partnership being made at Quinta de Nápoles winery of Niepoort in a wine making partnership between Dirk Niepoort and Miguel Couto Ramos.

The gentle nature of foot treading preserves the complex aromas and flavors and allows for an instant tactile assessment of each fermentation.

All fermentations are native, utilizing the natural yeasts present on the incoming grapes without the use of nutrients. We have found that rigorous and conscientious farming that promotes biodiversity in the field produces grapes that have plenty of natural nutrition for fermentation. These native fermentations increase complexity and enhance vineyard expression. By using this natural approach, we have discovered that each of our vineyards has its own fermentation “personality”, where similar fermentation tendencies can be observed over multiple vintages.

Fermentation parameters such as peak temperature, cold soak time and foot treading regime are consistent across all vineyards, producing wines whose differences are predicated on where they are from, not how they were made. In the cellar, we employ barrels built from the finest Portuguese Oak that have been air dried for six full years in our old sawmill in São Félix da Marinha and used for 1 or 2 years on other wines. The capacity varies between 225 and 550 liters.

This expensive program requires that we purchase our oak as uncoopered stave wood six years before the barrels are even made, but accomplishes two primary goals: very consistent barrels year after year, and wines that are differentiated entirely by the vineyard and not by the barrel.

The resulting barrels are extremely gentle and help raise our wine with pure fruit rather than noticeable oak flavor. Our process, from Harvest to bottling, is based on a gentle gravity system and our wines are never pumped, fined, or filtered. This gentle approach is intended to deliver the purest possible reflection of our vineyards’ unique character in each bottle.

Aging, Distilling and Stocking

We believe ageing is one of the most important part of the development process of our products. That's why we age both in inox, barrel and bottle. There is no bottle leaving our premises with less than one year in bottle. We want to deliver to our lovers wines to drink now and which will age well in there own cellars. That's why we give very attention to bottle ageing. We do not sell products only to keep aging on our clients cellar’s. They are to drink now, too!

Within the distillation process we are just beginning. At first we invest in a more than 50 years distillation unit which we convert and modified for our needs. The result is a different distillation process than the ones we could see around. It's a continuous process but which during is "continuation" makes second and third distillations rectifying the distillate. We are distilling wines that were vinified for distillation: no sulfur, no additions, high acidity and very low alcohol levels. 
 
Customisation and attention to detail are major aspects of the Miguel’s approach to wine-making and distillation. They are prerequisites for producing exceptional wines and other products.
 
Making a great wine or distillate requires the precision of a watchmaker and faultless patience. The process of making a great product requires both ambition and humility. Despite past experience, knowledge of the land doesn’t confer unlimited power. Humans have to learn to work with nature, a sometimes unpredictable partner, which has to be tamed, listened to and understood.
 
Wine-making and Distillation requires combining each person’s special knowledge, questioning one’s own convictions and adapting resources to the search for excellence and precision.