Quinta do Ameal
Visiting Portugal's Vinho Verde region, part 6

Website: www.quintadoameal.com

Ameal vies with Soalheiro for the title of Vinho Verde's top wine producer. Pedro Araújo (above) farms 12 hectares of vines in the Lima district, where Loureiro is the key grape, and these are serious expressions of this variety.

His vineyards were planted 23 years ago by his father, and he's been going for 17 years on his own. 'I don't like to say I am a Vinho Verde producer,' explains Pedro. 'I like to be known as a white wine producer working in Vinho Verde.' It's a region dominated by big companies working with big volumes, he explains, and this is not his approach. While it's possible to take 15 tons/hectare with Loureiro, he takes just five.

He's been organic for the last few years. 'I'm not a fundamentalist: I just want to get better grapes.'

The grapes are picked into small cases, and for the regular Loureiro are fermented cool in stainless steel (10-15 C), while for the Escolha they are fermented in French oak barrels.


Quinta do Ameal Branco Loureiro 2011 Vinho Verde, Portugal
Beautiful aromatics: fresh, lively and herby with citrus and pear fruit. The palate is fresh, full, lively and sweetly fruited with some citrus pith notes. Pure. 92/100

Quinta do Ameal Escolha 2011 Minho, Portual
Vineyard selection of Loureiro fermented in French oak. Fine, fresh, quite nutty, with some citrus precision. Lively herb and grapefruit notes. Great acidity and purity. 93/100

Quinta do Ameal SH (Special Harvest) 2011 Minho
700 bottles made of passito dried grapes, 90% Loureiro, 10% Arinto. Aromatic, apply, apricotty, citrussy nose. Lifted. Beautiful palate is lively and ripe with great concentration and sweetness, with keen balancing acidity. 94/100

Wines tasted March 2013

An older write up from November 2008:

Quinta do Ameal Branco Loureiro Vinho Verde 2007
Lovely aromatics: overtly fruity with subtle herbiness. The palate shows open fruity peach and pear characters. Concentrated and rich yet fresh and intense, with a bright minerally edge. 91/100

Quinta do Ameal Escolha 2007 Minho
Vineyard selection of Loureiro fermented in French oak. Tight, fresh, mineral nose is lemony and bright with some nutty depth. The palate has some breadth to it. Refined and boldly flavoured with concentration and depth. 92/100

Quinta do Ameal Escolha 2001 Minho
An older wine, from a difficult year, but it shows well. Yellow/gold colour. Lovely aromatics: herbs, lemon and toast as well as a hint of petrol. The palate is fresh and herby with lovely focus and freshness. Real interest here. 92/100

Experimental wine: a dried Loureiro sweet wine from 2007 - very intense with a grapey, volatile nose and a fresh, viscous, peachy, apricot-flavoured palate. Stylish, spicy and intense. 92/100

An older write up from 2004:

Pedro Araújo’s Ameal is a fairly serious interpretation of Vinho Verde. His focus is on quality, in a region more commonly associated with cheap and cheerful glugging whites, made with searing acidity in large quantities for washing down food with. His yields are around 6 tons per hectare while the average for the region is closer to 15, and this shows in the added concentration and poise of the wines produced from this estate. These vineyards are in the north of the Minho region in terroirs best suited to the Loureiro grape variety. The Escolha is fermented and aged for 6 months in French oak, while the Louriero is matured in inox vats. The 2002 Escolha wasn’t showing terribly well, but the other three wines were really impressive.  

Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2001 Minho
Expressive fresh lemony nose with a gently herby edge. Good concentration on the palate, with herbal characters and good acidity. Refreshing yet quite serious, in a bold style. Very good+ 89/100

Quinta do Ameal Loureiro 2002 Minho
Expressive, fresh herby nose with some floral notes. Delicate yet concentrated palate is very expressive with crisp pure fruit and high acidity. Very good/excellent 90/100

Quinta do Ameal Escolha 2001 Minho
Lovely fresh nose with subtle herby complexity. Lovely concentration on the palate. Quite structured and mineralic, with the oak hardly obvious. High acidity. Very good/excellent 90/100

Quinta do Ameal Escolha 2002 Minho
Slightly yeasty nose is quite youthful and a bit unusual. Palate shows lovely richness with crisp lemony fruit. Unusual and savoury. Very good+ 86/100


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