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New Douro 2004 tasting
The wines
of Quinta do Vale Dona Maria

Apartado 2508, Afurada, 4400-408 Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Tel +351 22 374 43 20
Website: www.quintadovaledonamaria.com 
E-mail: cvanzeller@mail.telepac.pt

Christiano van Zeller with a plastic model of Jorge Borges' head on his shoulder

After running Quinta do Noval, Christiano Van Zeller purchased Quinta do Vale Dona Maria in 1996. The inaugural wine he made this vintage was one of the first of the New Douro wines I tried, although the first official vintage according to the records was 1997. The vineyard Ė initially 15 hectares, but supplemented with an extra five in recent years Ė is situated in the Rio Torto valley, and has typical mixed varieties with some old vines.

Winemaking is in the hands of Sandra Tavares (of Pintas fame) who works alongside Christiano, and the wines are made in a modern (but not too modern style), with forward fruit, some elegance and good concentration. Compared with many other top Douro wines, they represent very good value for money. In 2003 a new premium wine, CV, was added to the portfolio. Casal de Loivos is a spectacular manor house (now a hotel) high above Pinh„o: Christiano makes the wines from this vineyard.

Quinta do Vale Dona Maria 2004
Open, pure, aromatic nose showing sweet red and black fruits. The palate is concentrated with supple, sweet fruit. Good definition here: a modern style but not overdone. Attractive, soft and forward. Very good/excellent 92

Curriculum Vitae (CV) 2004
Sweet, dark, tarry spicy nose with ripe, slightly chocolatey fruit dominating. The palate is concentrated, rich and quite tannic, with lovely fruit quality. Itís a fruit-driven wine in a modern style, with some oak showing. Very good/excellent 91/100

Casa Casal de Loivos
From a vineyard at 350 m, on top of a hill, which is difficult to ripen in some years (in 2002 they didnít bother picking it). Nicely perfumed nose with bright, open red fruits. Aromatic and quite elegant. Lovely freshness and definition to the red fruits on the palate. Bright and expressive with good acidity. Very good/excellent 93/100

See also: Earlier report on this Quinta

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Wines tasted 05 and 07/06
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