Fojo ‘uninterested’ in commercial winesBy Lucy Jenkins
After a 12-year hiatus, Margarida Serôdio Borges of Quinta do Fojo is back but remains loyal to the estate’s traditions of winemaking without bowing to commercial pressures.
Speaking at the recent Adega Royale portfolio tasting in Hong Kong with the showing of her Vinha do Fojo 1999 and 2001 vintages, Serôdio Borges (sister of Jorge Serôdio Borges, winemaker at Wine & Soul and Passadouro), explained that she took time out in 2001 to start her family, and then three children on, decided, “it was time to get out and in touch with the world again.” Her latest vintage, Quinta do Fojo 2013 will be released later this year.
Quinta do Fojo (Fojo meaning ‘wolves’ track’) in the Douro’s Cima Corgo region was traditionally a source of Port grapes for Taylor’s but one of the first estates to champion still Douro wine back in the 1990s just when Serôdio Borges took over the helm from her grandfather, Jorge.
“I was 19 and I carried on making wine in the only style I knew how from watching my grandfather and this has continued. I practice organic viticulture as much as I can, we still do the lagares and I don’t believe in making wine to be ‘commercial’ or to follow too much what critics say.”
Despite this philosophy, Serôdio Borges’ first vintage, the 1996 drew excited reviews from Jancis Robinson and her 2000 was awarded 97 points by Wine Advocate.
Although her second wine, Vinha do Fojo, was made in 2001 and came out in 2004 no wines have been released since, though Serôdio-Borges continued making wine “for fun” while having her “very long holiday without commercial pressure to release any more wine.”
Douro fans are waiting in anticipation for the release of the Fojo 2013, which she deems as one of the best even though it was a notoriously difficult vintage as she chose to pick “at the right time” after a drought-ridden summer but before the second rains fell in late September.
“I do not like overripe wine – some other producers have that style but it’s not for me. With Tinta Roriz [her principal grape variety], if you plant too low, the fruit becomes too jammy and overripe but if you plant too high, the wine loses concentration and balance. We have our 70-year-old vines between 250-350 metres which is at the optimal height.
“All the work is done in the vineyard as opposed to the winery; any more intervention such as over maturation or chemical additions is not for us.”