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The new Douro: part 5
Quinta do Vallado

Quinta do Vallado, Vilharinho dos Freires, 5050 Peso da Régua, Portugal
T: +351-254 323 147  F: +351-254 324 326
E-mail: vallado@mail.telepac.pt

Vallado is an old estate, which since the early 19th century has been owned by the Ferreira family. Does the name sound familiar? It’s probably because Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira (1811–1896) is one of the most prominent figures in the history of the Douro . Widowed at an early age, she was evidently shrewd in business: at a time when the Douro was in an economic slump, she bought several Quintas on the cheap and established a Douro wine empire that persists, in modified form, to this day. The sixth generation of the Ferreira family now run Vallado, with the Quinta in the hands of Guilherme Álvares Ribeiro and his wife Maria Antónia Ferreira.

The history of Vallado as a producer of table wines is, however, relatively short. It was as recently as 1995 that the owners decided to vinify their own grapes and market their own wines.

Looking down on Quinta do Vallado from the estate's vinyeards

Christiano Van Zeller (also involved at Valldo, as well as running his own property), standing next to Francisco Ferriera, who manages the estate. 
The vineyards have been renovated and restructured. Francisco Ferreira (working for his uncle Guilherme) is responsible for the overall management of the quinta and viticulture, and winemaking is in the hands of Francisco (‘Xito’) Olazabal Jr. of Quinta do Vale Meão. Xito, by the way, is also related to Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. It’s a bit like the Royal family.

Altogether there are 64 hectares of vines, so this is a sizeable estate. 26 ha are old vines; 38 ha were planted in 1998. A new winery was completed in 1997. These vineyards are located pretty far down river – more Baixo Corgo than Cima Corgo – where the climate is a little cooler and rainier than further upstream.

The wines themselves are made in a modern, powerful style and for the most part they work very well. They still have a bit of Douro wildness to them, but in a pretty sophisticated package.

Vallado Branco 2002
Very fresh, limey, herby nose is bright and fruity. The palate is soft textured with low acidity and a nutty edge. Unusual. Very good 84/100

Vallado Vinha dos Freires 2001
Made from 7 year old vines, this is a mix of Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barocca and a bit of Touriga Nacional. Savoury, spicy edge to the bright berry fruit nose. The palate is quite ripe with nice bright fruit and some richness. Softly structured and juicy. Very good+ 86/100

Quinta do Vallado 2001
A mix of new and old vines. Savoury, herby twist to the bright berry fruit nose. The palate is rich and supple with spicy fruit and good acidity. Nice density here – this is a good drinking wine (it’s priced about £8 in the UK , available from Bibendum). Very good+ 88/100

Quinta do Vallado 2002
Reduced quantities (60 000 bottles; there’s potential for double or triple this) this year because of the difficult vintage. Very bright cherry and blackcurrant fruit nose with a liquoricey edge. Nice supple, vivid berryish fruit on the palate with a pleasing plumy bitterness to the finish. Another nice drinking wine. Very good+ 86/100

Quinta do Vallado Reserva 2000
Quite a powerful, ripe nose with a spicy character, some menthol notes and a tarry quality. The palate is rich, generous and spicy with a deep, rich structure and smooth tannins. A bold, intense wine. Very good+ 89/100

Then it was time for some 2003 cask samples:

1. Old vineyards, middle of slope. Very deep colour. Lovely richness of fruit with soft, supple tannins. High alcohol and very ripe. Potentially 90–92  

2. Top of old vineyards. Lovely spicy, raspberry and blackberry nose: pure and ripe. Lovely supple tannins and some richness. Potentially 91–93  

3. Tinta Roriz from vineyards rented near Vale Meão, in a warmer part of the Douro . Very bright, forward liquoricey, spicy berry fruit. Very sweet and open and quite vivid. Potentially 89–91  

4. A blend of Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional from a rented vineyard. Lovely forward, spicy perfumed fruit on the nose. Open juicy palate with striking floral fruit. Amazingly fruity: Douro Nouveau! Potentially 88–90

It looks like the 2003 wines will be very promising here.

see also: earlier report (June 2002) of Quinta do Vallado

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