IN THE PRESS
Wine and Spirits Magazine, February 2018
Producer: Catarina Vieira and Pedro Ribeiro
Annual Production (of all wines): 120,000 bottles
Farming: Organic, Vegan
Located in the Lower Alentejo region in the southern half of Portugal, between Vidigueira and Cuba, lies the estate of Herdade do Rocim on 100 hectares, 60 of which are under vine. Alentejo is sparsely populated and, in contrast to the rest of Portugal, has many large estates. The climate is continental, with hot summers and cold winters. Having fairly reliable weather combined with the large plots of available land equates to quality at an affordable price. Wheat is the most important crop grown here, but olive trees, cork trees and vineyards are all important agriculture here as well. Wines from Alentejo are becoming popular as consumers realize the great opportunities available here, and quality is improving exponentially. It is thought to be the new world inside the old world, with highly professional wineries using a scientific approach while respecting the terroir.
The Rocim estate was purchased by the late Jose Vieira, founder of the Movicortes group, which is a Portuguese company that specializes in agricultural machinery, but has its roots in farming and vineyards. His daughter, Catarina Vieira, is in charge of the development of the estate and has her degree in Agronomical Engineering and a post-graduate course in Enology. Joining her as General Manager of the estate is Pedro Ribiero, who has studied Enology at the UTAD (University of Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro), and worked with the Hardy’s Wine Company in Australia. He has also worked on such projects as Herdade dos Grous and Quinta do Valbom. He contributes to the winemaking decisions, as well as running the sales and business affairs of the estate. With the birth of their son, Jose, Catarina and Pedro look forward to carrying on the family business into the next generation.
Since purchasing, they have invested greatly in the land by completely regenerating the vineyards and building a new state of the art winery. With a complete overhaul of the vineyards, they were able to plant higher-quality varietals, including international grapes such as Syrah and Cabernet, as well as the indigenous and local varietals. They have also recently started to produce olive oil from 90-year-old trees, with the intention of recapturing the traditions of the region, which is dotted with olive trees.
Located between Vidigueira and Cuba, in the Lower Alentejo region of Portugal, Rocim sits on the Vidigueira fault, a natural landmark which marks the border between the Upper and Lower Alentejo. The East-West facing escarpment of around 50 kilometers in length defines the climate of Vidigueira, and, despite its deep-lying southern location, makes it one of the most temperate sub-regions in the Alentejo. This facitlitates the domaine's goal of showcasing the region´s terroir while producing fresh, elegant, and mineral driven wines.
Outside of the Alentejo, Vale da Mata is the name of a small vineyard located on the slopes of the Serra de Aire hills, in Cortes, where Caterina's grandfather, Manuel believes he produced the best wine of his many years as a winemaker. Vale da Mata thereby recovers a family tradition and celebrates the return of good wines to a very special land.
After the Viera family took over the winery, they made a conscious decision to not only invest in the land and produce higher quality wine, but to also invest and make sustainable contributions to the development of the region. The winery was built with the future in mind, and they have continued to make improvements. Catarina and her team strive to create wines that are elegant, complex and strong. Inspired by her love and respect for her grandparents, her father and her family, her connection with nature, and a true and unwavering passion for wine, Catarina continues to push the limits in what was believed to be possible in Alentejo. She believes that Rocim has great potential in producing high quality wines with worldwide recognition, and has hopes of expanding the brand under the umbrella of quality for the region. She has created a project that gives value not only to Alentejo, but to Portugal as a whole.