Tasting notes: Krohn Lágrima White NV (Sustainable)
An intense yet elegant sweet wine with notes of caramel, honey, and nut – all balanced by fresh acidity and leading to a long and appealing finish.
Food Pairing: Krohn Lágrima White NV (Sustainable)
Drink chilled as an aperitif, or with fruity desserts. It has been filtered, so won’t need decanting – once opened it should ‘keep’ and be enjoyable for a few weeks.
The grapes are grown on the schistous soils of the Douro region. Vinification is in closed fermentation tanks, which is interrupted through the addition of grape brandy to preserve a high degree of natural sweetness. The wine is then aged in wood in Wiese & Krohn’s cellars in Vila Nova de Gaia.
Wiese & Krohn was founded in 1865 by two Norwegians – Theodor Wiese and Dankert Krohn – shipping initially to Scandinavia and Germany. In the century and a half since its foundation, Krohn has built up an outstanding reputation. Long renowned for the quality of their sublime Colheitas (single vintage tawnies), they produce a remarkably complete range for a small house, and each wine excels in its category. Much of the secret lies in the high quality of their vineyards – the magical combination of terroir, locality, aspect, incline and low-yielding vines. Their Quinta do Retiro Novo estate in Sarzedinho, in the Rio Torto valley (where vinification takes place), is all A grade vineyard. Indeed Krohn only work with grapes from A-graded vineyards across all of their ports, and their top wines are still trodden by foot. Since 2013 Krohn has been part of the Fladgate Partnership – alongside Taylor’s, Fonseca and Croft.
The Fladgate Partnership has long been committed to the ecological well-being of their vineyards and the Douro valley. To this aim they have developed a model for sustainable vineyard cultivation designed for the steep hillsides of the Douro, where 28,000ha of vineyard (62% of the vineyard area of the region) is planted on hillsides with a gradient over 30%. This involves the construction of narrow terraces inclined at 3º to the horizontal – to allow the perfect balance between rainwater run-off and its penetration of the soil. This avoids top soil erosion which is a key challenge in mountain viticulture.
These terraces each support just one row of vines, and alongside the vines a temporary carpet of selected plant species is sown. This flourishes between November and late spring, preventing invasive plants from taking hold, and eliminating the need for herbicides to control unwanted vegetation.
The cover crop dies back naturally with the onset of summer, when the vines are active. The terrace system leaves tracks between the single row of vines and the foot of the bank, allowing access for machinery to mow any unwanted vegetation into a natural mulch. The mulch reduces water loss and restores natural organic matter to the soil. The absence of herbicides means that vegetation can regenerate easily and naturally each year. They also work hard to ensure the correct selection of vine varieties and their distribution within the vineyard, so that varieties can thrive naturally in each location, developing their own unassisted natural resistance to drought, disease and vineyard pests.
This vineyard model earned the Partnership the prestigious BES Biodiversity prize in 2009 (recognising achievement in the fields of conservation and environmental sustainability), and since then these practices have been extended to cover the Krohn estate – which became part of the Taylor Fladgate portfolio in 2013