Quinta do Vallado 2012 “Field Blend” Douro Reserva

Posted by Keith Wallace

Quinta Do Vallado 2012 “Field Blend” Douro Reserva
Quinta do Vallado 2012 “Field Blend” Douro Reserva

A top-notch product that is making a name for itself on the international stage. Winemakers Francisco Olazabal & Francisco Ferreira are putting together some of the best dry wines, as well as assembling some seriously legit Porto.

There is no sure-fire way of producing a stellar wine. However, sourcing from a century-old vineyard and employing a combination of old-school harvesting and modern winemaking is a great way to shorten the odds.

This wine is hand-harvested, and field blended, meaning that grape varieties are not harvested and fermented separately (it is standard winery procedure to blend varietals AFTER fermentation and aging, not before). About 65 local varietals are growing in this vineyard, some of which are still unknown, so it’s impossible to list the composition of this wine. However, about 20% of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca are from a younger vineyard.

This wine really needs at least another 3 years in the bottle before opening. If you can’t wait, I strongly suggest decanting this wine at least 3 hours in advance. Otherwise, this is a wall of fruit and tannin, not even the most intrepid wino could scale.

This wine is full-on decadent.  It is as deep as René Descartes and complex as Martin Heidegger, another way of saying it is profound, nearly philosophical. It is a gorgeous melding of velvet tannins and chocolate. It has a framework of deep dark fruit and a core of minerality. This is a tension-filled wine elevated to greatness.

And here is another bottle from this Quinta that is on my permanent wish list:

Quinta do Vallado Adelaide Tributa, a pre-phylloxera (1866) Very Old Port

This pre-phylloxera Very Old Port dates back to the 1850s and was only acquired by the Port shipper from a grower in 2010. João Ferreira Alvares Ribeiro and Francisco Ferreira of Quinta do Vallado continue to invest heavily in the Douro, including a new wine hotel and Adelaide Tributa.

Priced at $3K, Quinta do Vallado Adelaide Tributa is a limited edition. According to the family who have cellared it, Tributa’s two 600 litre barrels represent all that remains of a stash of five chestnut barrels believed to have been produced in 1866.

The name is a tribute to the Douro’s formidably successful 19th century landowner, Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, who owned Vallado and from whom João Ferreira Alvares Ribeiro, Francisco Ferreira and winemaker Francisco Olazabal are descended.

Saying it took a year to unearth the barrels (they were acquired earlier this year), Ferreira explained “it was a big privilege to make Tributa, so it had to be really good.” They talked to lots of producers who had bought grapes from the Baixo Corgo and Cima Corgo (the cooler of the Douro’s three sub-regions) and, he said, it became apparent that not many kept wine for a long time. Moreover, some wines had clearly been “refreshed” and others were not in good condition, “toasted, or with burned rubber.”

In contrast, according to the reports provided, Tributa’s barrels had not undergone any filling or refreshment for at least forty years. Its high degree Baumé (13.7) – it’s sugar concentration – was a clear indication of its old age. Yet the wine had been stored in a “fresh area” of the Cima Corgo, so had good acidity too. According to Olazabal, “it was the easiest wine to make” because, after the first tasting, it was decided that the wine should not undergo any correction or “refreshment.” It was bottled exactly under the same condition as it was in the casks.

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