Tag Archives: Quinta do Vallado

Alright, still (Douro Valley, Portugal – Day Two)

The shift of focus from fortified port wines to still wines could not have waited much longer in the Douro. The entire fortified wine market has been diminishing since the 1980s as more people have been drinking dry wines all over the world. The limitations of matching port with food don’t help with the accessibility of these wines as well, as there are only so many styles and they are generally sweeter and all more alcoholic. In the past fortified wines were one of the most popular categories – particularly port and sherry wines – and they were even produced as far away as the USA and Australia. The growth of still wine production of course has been seen all over the world to the unfortunate detriment of fortified wines. Thus in an effort to stay alive it was important for the producers of the Douro to explore the opportunities of still wine production, and in a sense it couldn’t have come at a better time. The climate is one of the biggest influences on the style of wine they can produce which is big, rich and red. This style of wine has been popular for about 20 years in a number of key markets around the world, thanks in part to the influence of US wine critic Robert Parker who loves this style of wine. Thus a confluence of factors has provided them a great opportunity into the future. The producers I visited on my second day are some of the most important producers of still wine in the region.
If it weren’t empty I would be making wine angels

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Quinta do Vallado – 17/07/2012

Branco 2011
Vibrant fresh citrus and apple notes, very tight and direct. Brisk intense acids and quite lean and clean fruit, slightly unripe in a really good way, nice green fruit character.

Moscatel Galego Branco 2011
Lovely musky floral notes, clean minerality. Fresh and quite simple, not sure what’s missing in this wine, needs more character, maybe some texture, really make things crazy like skin contact fermentation…

Branco Reserva 2011
Certainly more barrel and lees notes, some creaminess adding to the citrus and lemongrass elements. Very slight green melon notes. White burgundy style, very young and only seeing the barrel elements. Has the structure and acidity to hold out but somewhat closed now.

Tinto 2010
Nice soft mellow nose of spice and red fruits, very subtle toasty elements, some earth elements as well. Bright fresh red fruits, n and good acids, a little warm on the front of the palate. Very pure and approachable, but lacking a bit of depth.

Souzao 2010
Deeper characters, slightly closed ripe black fruits, very well integrated oak but slightly rustic wild characters. Amazing texture, finesse and structure, not obvious fruit or tannins, not at all sweet or hot, all about mouth-feel. Truly unique wine, but agree that it is a polariser.

Touriga Nacional 2010
Slightly rosy and a little reductive, very classic touriga nacional on the nose. Wonderfully fresh and vibrant, not at all fruit sweet, showing some red fruits, some menthol and eucalypt notes. Wonderful consistency on the palate, but will soften quite nicely picking up some suppleness.

Reserva 2010
Expressive yet complex, bold yet subtle, fruit yet oak, young yet mature. Quite intense but also hinting at some suppleness in the future. Oak quite subtle and not interfering too much. Needs time to be sure, but easy to appreciate now. Layers and layers, more with time.

Adelaide VP 2009
Wonderfully floral, bright purple fruits, maraschino cherries, very subtle choc-mint characters. Bingo-bango-bongo expression of fruit, quite sweet at the moment, but a nice clean finish and some good extension on the back of the palate. Beautifully intense but far too young.

10 year old tawny
Smoky caramel, freshness and liveliness. Complex oxidative notes but also very fresh. Certainly exhibits a little bit of the nut characters, but is more about the freshness and the complexity of the age.

20 year old tawny
A little more aggressive on the nose, smoky and toastier, a little volatile on the nose. Sweetness and complexity comes through, but finding the texture a little too full. It almost distracts from the age and complexity.

Quinta do Vallado uses my favourite cooper, Francois Freres

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