Quinta do Vallado Part 2: Wine Tourism and Wines
By Olga Antoniadou
This is Part 2 of Olga's exploration at Qunita do Vallado. For part 1 read here .
Wine Tourism and Wines
The buildings are separated into two different types. The old buildings, which are ochre coloured and the new buildings which are covered in schist plates. Although the structure is huge, it is incorporated into the environment so well that you don’t realise the size. The renovation and extension of the winery was undertaken by the architect Francisco Vieira de Campos. In 2013/14 the winery won an architecture award. Apart from the buildings that comprise the winery, cellar, tasting room, shop, they have two buildings that make up the small boutique hotel. The older building is ochre coloured, with pots of geranium and loungers outside (pictured below), and the newer building is in schist. On the lower floor of the schist building is the reception area, the beautiful lounge with furniture that have a colonial air to them, and this opens onto a lovely terrace which is the breakfast/restaurant area. All of what I describe have a view of the river and the surrounding vineyards. There is a pool area, and on the way there are patches planted with vegetables, Mediterranean herbs, fruit trees, lavender, flowers. The fruits, veggies and herbs that are served in the restaurant are grown on the farm, as ‘quinta’ means farm. The bread, marmalades, yoghurt are all home-made. The food served is Portuguese cuisine and is meant to be paired with their wines.
“The area has a lot of tourism. We thought it is important for people who come here to be given a chance to understand our wines better. We have two boutique hotels, one here and one at Quinta do Orgal, near Vila Nova de Foz Coa. We want people to be able to enjoy the landscape, to see how we make port wines and dry wines, to hear the history of the Douro valley and of our family, to eat our food and that way they will understand us and remember us. They will promote our country, our region and our wines.” I liked this idea of offering someone an experience, rather than just a tasting. I also felt a little jealous and sad because I couldn’t think of one place, that I know, in Greece that has tried to set up something which is along these lines.
I have to leave some space for the wines. They grow Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela and Sousao of the red varieties, and Viosinho, Rabigato, Moscatel, Gouveio, Arinto of the white varieties. As usual I will not write separate tasting notes, but my overall impression. Like the man I met the wines had class, elegance, but also a lot of power.
This is a photo of the wines sampled, but for some reason I am missing the Sousao from the picture.
I expected to drink excellent red wines and excellent Port, but I was surprised by the white wines. If I had tasted the wines blind, I would have never guessed the region, as the freshness and elegance was amazing.
Vallado Prima 2018, 100% Muscat was interesting in the contrast between the nose and the mouth. The nose was beguiling, full of sweet aromas, whereas the palate was in sharp contrast. Dry, with high acidity.
Vallado Reserva 2017, 50% Gouveio, 35% Arinto, 15% Rabigato. The varieties are fermented separately, stay on the lees for about 7mths with battonage, and 40% of the wine goes through new oak. A creamy wine with structure and intensity, where the oak is subtly in the background.
Of the red wines I need to make particular reference to:
Vallado Sousao 2016, Almost black in colour, we are told that this variety has colour both in the skin and the pulp. Foot trodden in the lagares. Full bodied, black fruit, tobacco, spice and amazing acidity. A wine that cries for fatty food and not for the faint-hearted.
Vallado Reserva Field Blend 2016, 45 grape varieties of more than 100 years old. Beautiful, concentrated with red and black fruit, fig and tobacco notes. Strong, complex, structured, but with finesse.
Vallado Vinho da Coroa 2016, This wine is made with no crushing. 34 varieties from the highest part of the vineyard, vines over 100 yrs old. Amazing! I found it was so complex that in the end I was left with only the feel of the wine and no descriptors.
Of the Tawny ports I tried the 20, 30, 40 year old. I know I should say the 40 year old was the best, and indeed it was more nutty, beeswaxy, with aromas of dried fruit and tobacco and amazing length, more harmonious and integrated, but I fell in love with the 30 yr old. Intense aromas of citrus and orange rind, honey and dried fruit. Again amazing length. I liked the fact that it was more explosive and refreshing.
A South-African Greek who has practiced psychiatry and analytic therapy for the greater part of her career, but is also in love with wine. She attained the WSET Level 3 qualification and is currently trying to blend these seemingly disparate interests. Writing about the different brews and the people behind them is her newfound enjoyment. She has also recently started oenophilesandfoodies.com, to promote Greek wine, olive oil and honey. You can find more of her writing on the blog she keeps. She will be contributing to the site on a monthly basis.