Meandro do Vale Meão 2009

Among the new releases in Sweden this week was Quinta do Vale Meãos second wine – Meandro 2009. And such a great bargain it is at around €18!

I wrote a post on Quinta do Vale Meão 2008 some time ago and it is truly a remarkable wine. The Meandro may lack the longevity and structure of the 1st wine but it does compensate for that with tad more approachability and suppleness. And at a third of the price – you can afford to buy more than one bottle!

It may still be a bit young because it is really serious wine made with the best combination of new and traditional winemaking techniques. The Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barocca and Sousão grapes were foot trodden in granite lagares for four hours before being transferred to temperature regulated stainless steel vats. The different grape varieties were vinified sperately and the final blend was then aged in french Allier Oak (second and third year barrells).

Deep dark red colour. On the nose very young and fresh with juicy black berries, spices and oak dominating the aromas. The taste is medium to full bodied with fresh crushed grape/berry notes in the forefront. I also find elements of spices (mint, pepper), oak and dark chocolate under the layers of fruit. The acids and tannins are already so well integrated that the wine almost feels mellow. But ideally I would give it another 2-5 years in bottle before it reaches its full potential!

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

Douro’s world class reds – Quinta do Vallado 2007

In the last 15 years or so Portugals Douro valley has really become one of the most interesting wine-districts in the world for dry table wine. Sure Douro will always be identified with the sweet fortified port – but they are now joined by some really serious red table wines – and some are among the best in the world.

A lot has changed since the days when it was all about Barca Velha – a unique wine made only in good years (only 16 vintages since the start 1952) from the traditional port grape varietys Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Barca Velha set the standard and showed the way – and it was the Ferreira family (Casa Ferreirinha) that did it!

Some 40 years later the same family started to rebuild Quinta do Vallado – an estate that had been in the family since 1818. Different varietys were replanted seperately and the estate now comprices some 60 hectares of young as well as very old vines (some 60 years plus). There are a multitude of different grape varietys planted on the estate and among them the classic Douro grapes of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca and the lesser known Sousão.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to taste two wines from Quinta do Vallado due to be released in Sweden in september. Both that have gotten +90 points by Wine Spectator (93 respectively 96 points). I don’t usually give much thought to Parker- or WS-points but in this case the high values seems to be warranted. Both were stunning!

Vallado Red 2007
Made from (among others) Tinta Barroca, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional and Sousão. The grapes comes predominently from the younger vines and earlier vintages (could not find any info on the 2007s) has been totally destemmed before maceration and fermentation. 1 weeks fermentation in stainless steel at a temperature of 26-28 degrees celsius. The wine was then aged in stainless steel for 16 months and another 12 months on one year old oak barrels. The result – a wine that is reminiscent of southern Rhône in its character:

Deep dark red/purple colour. Still young nose with hints of smoke, liquorice, game and dark berries. Quite big and concentrated taste of dark berries, smoked sausages, black pepper and game. Still quite firm tannins. Notes of liquorice and tobacco. Long still young aftertaste with good concentration and luscious berry-flavours.

Quinta do Vallado Reserva Field Blend 2007
Made from predominently Tinta Roriz, Tinta Amarela, Toruga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Sousão – the majority coming from old vines. 30 percent came from younger vines (Toruiga Nacional and Sousão) and was foot-trodden in lagares. This wine was aged for 17 months in french barriques.

Dense purple colour with a thin orange rim. Closed nose with hints of garrigues, dark berries and leather. Medium bodied powerful and concentrated taste of dark and red berries, tobacco, provencal herbs, leather and meat. A bit “smokey” with quite pronounced acids/tannins. Long complex finish! A stunning wine!

Read more about Quinta do Vallado here:

Debra MW for an recent interview with the winemaker Joao Ferreira Alvaros Ribeiro

Wine Virtuosity for tasting notes on Vallado 2007 (the price seems to have increased quite a lot since Niklas tasted the wine!)

The Wine Anorak for more on the winery/vineyards (posted back in 2004)