Quinta do Vale Meão
The Quinta do Vale Meão, as the estate was called, became one of the first to produce unfortified table wines, and its top wine, named after one of the two wineries on the estate, the Adega da Barca Velha, became a legend that started something of a revolution in winemaking in the Upper Douro. Today, it is owned by Francisco Javier de Olazabal, a direct descendant of Dona Antónia’s youngest daughter, and his children. He sold off the Barca Velha and other brand names and began to modernise the estate, replanting the vines in blocks to allow separate vinification of the different varieties and rebuilding the other winery, the Adega dos Novos, while retaining the stone lagares in which the grapes are still trodden by foot.
The 2019 vintage is promising to be one of the finest ever owing to the unusually cool summer, which allowed a slow maturation of the grapes that produced strongly aromatic wines of great elegance and freshness, and we have been fortunate to obtain a tiny allocation of the en primeur release.
Delivery (of the Meandro) is free within England for 12 bottles or more. I don’t have a delivery date for the Vale Meão yet, late autumn I hope.
I only have 24 bottles available at the moment, I have begged for more but such is the demand these days… The top wine of the estate that carries on the long tradition of excellence. Produced from a rigorous selection of grapes from the oldest vineyards of the Quinta that span the three types of soil, granitic, schist and alluvial. Made chiefly from Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional with small amounts of Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz. The grapes are destemmed, trodden and fermented in stainless steel for eight days. One part of the wine underwent malolactic fermentation before the wines were aged for 18 months in 45% new and 55% used oak.
Winemaker Xito Olazabal says:
‘Where normally the Touriga Nacional is dominant in the Quinta do Vale Meão, for the 2019, Touriga Franca makes up 60% in the blend, the largest proportion since the 2016 (55%). This alongside the nature of the vintage gives the 2019 added freshness, balance and purity which make it a very attractive wine now, and will allow it to age well too. The Quinta do Vale Meão wine always comes from the highest quality parcels and vineyards within the Quinta which have a high proportion of two grapes, Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional. Vinified separately, the final blend is crafted from these different lots, so the proportions are determined by yields in the vineyard and the quality of the resulting components.’
2019 Meandro – £131.70 per case 6 x 75cl inclusive of VAT
This is such a bargain! Named after the bend in the river, this is the estate’s second wine, but receives the same amount of care and attention to detail as its big brother. Made from 44% Touriga Nacional, 35 % Touriga Franca, 15% Tinta Roriz, 4% Tinta Barroca and 2% Alicante Bouschet, all trodden by foot and vinified separately before being aged for 14 months in two- and three-year old barriques. Aromas of rose and violet sit on top of ripe red fruit, underpinned by the rich, earthy flavours and velvety tannins of the Upper Douro. Unbelievably good value.