Quinta do Vale Meão – one of Portugals best

Once the backbone of Barca Velha – Portugals most famed dry red table wine. But since the 1999 vintage Quinta do Vale Meão has dazzled the wine world with amazing reds in it’s own name. And it is most definately one of the countrys most interesting wines.

It all started way back in 1877 when Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, then owner of the largest wimaking estate in Douro, bought 300 hectares of land in the east of the province at an auction. Her dream was apperently to create a model vinyeard from nothing.

She died in 1896 and could never fullfil her dream but the estate stayed in the Ferreira family. Over the years the port house used the grapes from Quinta do Vale Meão to some of it’s best wines and when the legendary producer decided to make a dry red wine (first vintage 1952) it sourced it’s grapes from here.

In 1994 a new era began. Francisco Javier de Olazabal who had been responsible for the mangement of the Quinta since the 1970s, and his children became sole owners om Vale de Meão. In 1998 he resigned as Maniging Director of A.A. Ferreira S.A. and started to focus 100 percent on his own estate togheter with his oenologist son Francisco de Olazabal y Nicolau de Almeida. Now the wines are produced, aged and marketed through a new company – F. Olazabal & Filhos Lda.

The first vintage was the 1999 and already from the start Quinta do Vale Meao got great reviews and a cult status. It has since established itsef as one of the best wines from Portugal. And for that reason it is aslo quite expensive!

Of the 270 hectares only 65 is under vine and it contains the usual suspects Touriga Nacional, Aragonez, Touriga Franca, Trincadeira, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cão. And some expermients with among others syrah is on the way.

Quinta do Vale Meao 2008 (around €60 on the ferry between Sweden and Finland) is my first experience of the prestige wine. And it is awesome! A mix of 55% Touriga Naçional, 30% Touriga Franca, 10% Tinta Roriz, 5% Tinta Barroca that are vinified seperately. The wine usually gets between 18-24 months on new french barriques and the wine is then bottled without filtration.

Dark red opaque in colour. Already showing quite expressive aromas of dark berries, herbs (fresh mint), oak and chocolate. Almost portlike with dense and young aromas. Full bodied and superconcentrated on the palate with dark berries (black berries), prevencal hergs and new oak. Elements of vanilla, mint and soft enveloped tannins. Long and powerful finish! Will keep for another 5-15 years. 4,5/5p


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