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)