The 2015 Branco Nossa Calcário is a single-vineyard Bical that looks impressive. It was aged for five months in partly (20%) new French oak and comes in at just 12% alcohol. When I first saw this in Portugal, it seemed nice but mute, not quite as impressive as I hoped it would be in this fine Branco vintage. Retasting it at home a couple of months later showed it blossoming. Now, it was suddenly intense and powerful, not to mention very concentrated for this grape. It simply fills the mouth and takes control of the palate. Laced with stones, steel and a bit of flint, this has a very earthy flavor profile. If you're looking for fruity, this probably won't be it. I was, in fact, a little concerned early on that the flinty notes were a bit too much, but it kept improving while open. With more time in the bottle, it should come into even better balance. It is worth betting on this Branco--complex, rather intense and concentrated. It may yet be entitled to an uptick if it comes around the way I suspect it will. It looks like the best white I've seen here. (MS)
Bical from Ois hills, including some old vines. Fermented in 500-litre oak, mostly used. Deliciously refined citrus but also dry and mineral and almost bony, great freshness and light spice to the fruit purity. Pear and fennel, complexity from clay-limestone soils. Almost a smoky note - and grapefruit. Salty finish even without Arinto -- as if it had something from the ocean. Super-refined. 17/20 points. (JH)
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