Barca Velha is a mythical wine, the first Portuguese table wine to acquire an international reputation. Fernando Nicolau de Almeida, Casa Ferreirinha’s enologist, adapted the techniques used to produce vintage ports to make superlative table wine. After years of experimentation, he produced the first Barca Velha in 1952 with grapes from a vineyard planted by Dona Antónia Ferreira.
Since then, Barca Velha has been produced only 12 times, when the sun and the clouds joined forces to create exceptional grapes.
How did Nicolau de Almeida decide whether a vintage merited the Barca Velha name? He relied on his wife. He took an unlabeled bottle home to share with her at dinner. If they finished the bottle by the end of the meal, the vintage was a Barca Velha.