The wines of Quinta da Romaneira, Douro, Portugal
A great Douro estate, recently revived

Quinta da Romaneira is a beautiful property in the Cima Corgo region of Portugal’s Douro. A consortium, including Christian Seely, MD of the AXA wine properties, including nearby Quinta do Noval, bought it in 2004 when it was in a run-down state. The plan was to restore the vineyards, make great wine, and open a super-luxury hotel. This plan is well on its way to fruition.

‘The reason I was driven to this insane enterprise is there were 400 hectares, with 300 hectares of grade A vineyards overlooking the Douro, with the potential to make great wines,’ says Seely. At the moment, 81 hectares are under vine, with a target of at least 200 plantable if things go well.

The hotel is in a beautiful location, near the river. It is as high-end as they come, with room rates of 1000 Euros per night for two people. This is expensive, but everything is included, and there’s no television in the rooms! ‘If we manage to make something great, people will come from afar,’ states Seely, admitting that it had been quite tough to fill the 23 rooms because of the difficult economic times. ‘The target market is time-poor, big budget individuals,’ says Seely. ‘Everyone who comes here is utterly happy.’

Christian Seely

Romaneira was originally created over a 150 year period by swallowing up other estates. In a survey of the property, 20 ruined buildings were found, indicating that these had once been quintas or winery buildings. The vineyards may have been run down, but the originally quality of the terrace walls was excellent, and because this is a conservation area, it is possible to get subsidies to rebuild them; this is one of the projects that has been undertaken. There are teams cleaning up the original vineyards with bulldozers, repairing the walls, and replanting vines.

What about the wines? Seely suggests that if Noval is Bordeaux, Romaneira is Burgundy. The wines so far have been stunningly good: second wine R de Romaneira is a bargain, and the Quinta wine (made since 2004) is beautifully focused and elegant. Vintage Port is also thrilling, so far made in 2004, 2005, 2007 and 2008 – all are excellent.



R de Romaneira 2005
80% Touriga Franca, 20% Tinta Roriz. Lovely focused, sweet pure nose. Lush yet fresh at the same time. The palate shows beautifully expressive bright cherryish fruit with just a hint of grippy, savoury structure. Good acidity and lovely freshness with beautiful purity of fruit. 91/100

R de Romaneira 2006
Open, sweet cherry fruit nose is aromatic and appealing: Douro Beaujolais. Lovely vibrant sweet open cherry fruit palate. Fresh and appealing; much lighter than the 2004 and 2005. 88/100

R de Romaneira 2007
Highly aromatic nose of ripe dark cherry fruit with hints of tar and spice, as well as floral notes. The palate is midweight, juicy and quite spicy with immediate pure berry and cherry fruit as well as some savoury grip. Great balance. 91/100

Quinta de Romaneira 2004
Lovely focused presence on the nose, which shows sweet dark blackberry fruit with some spicy notes. The palate is ripe and well defined with lovely freshness and acidity. Very ripe with a sweet fruit profile but also a nice savouriness. Lovely focus. 93/100

Quinta da Romaneira 2005
Beautifully defined sweet dark cherry and blackberry fruit nose with some floral overtones. Quite elegant. The palate has lovely fruit purity and some complexity with good concentration of pure, focused fruit on the palate. Nice dark cherry and spice notes with some structure under the fruit. A serious wine. 94/100

Quinta da Romaneira 2007
Heavenly aromatics. Floral and perfumed with violets, roses, dark cherries and raspberries. Complex and full. The palate is smooth yet dense with such elegant, pure vibrant cherry, plum and raspberry fruit. Beautiful presence and fruit purity, yet still has structure. 94/100

Quinta da Romaneira 40 Year Old Tawny
Seely got rid about half the stocks of Tawny Port, but found some very good ones. This is amazingly concentrated, bold, spicy and dense with exotic flavours. Beautifully expressive with intense, raisiny notes. Lovely complexity. 94/100

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2004
Fresh, aromatic nose: floral and spicy with some olive notes, and sweet black fruits. The palate has nice structure and focus with lovely tannins and purity of fruit. Brilliant with a savoury, spicy finish. 95/100

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2005
Very sweet lifted, aromatic nose with berry fruits and some warm spicy notes. The palate has firm, spicy structure under the fresh, focused fruit. Spicy, lively, tannic and long. 94/100

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2007
Fantastically focused dark spicy nose with amazing floral aromatics, and blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. The palate is dense with focused dark fruit. Complex with notes of olive and spice, as well as complex herby notes. Delicious, pure and vinous. 95/100

Quinta da Romaneira Vintage Port 2008
Very deep colour. Fresh, vivid sweet blackberry and plum nose is pure and intense. The palate shows lovely fresh, pure fruit: concentrated raspberries and blackberries with nice tannic structure and sweetness. An elegant, almost Burgundian Vintage Port with good structure. Try again in 10 years. 94/100 (06/10)

A short film of the Quinta

See also:

Photographs from Quinta do Romaneira
Quinta do Noval, Douro
Photographs from Quinta do Noval
Quinta do Noval: an incredible vertical Port tasting

Published 02/11
Wines tasted 09/09 unless otherwise indicated  

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