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The new Douro: part 7
Quinta do Vale Meo

F. Olazabal & Filhos Lda., Cx. Postal 113, 5150-501 Vila Nova de Foz Ca, Portugal
T: +351-279 762 156, F: +351-279 762 207

Vale Meo is a historic Quinta thats now established as one of the front runners in the Douro table wine revolution. It started life as one of the shrewd acquisitions of the celebrated Dona Antnia Adelaide Ferreira. In 1877 she purchased 270 hectares of land near Vila Nova de Foz Ca in the Douro superior, and established a quinta and vineyards. The Quinta has remained in the family and is owned today by Francisco Olazabal. He was previously president of the A.A. Ferreira enterprise and this is where the grapes went to, forming the bulk of the legendary Barca Velha, which for decades was the only notable table wine to come from the Douro .

In 1998 when Francisco left Ferreira, he decided to go it alone and use the grapes from his estate to make his own wine, together with his son (also called Francisco, but known as Xito, pictured right). The old cellar was renovated and turned into a modern winery, keeping the old granite lagares.

The estate consists of a sizeable 62 hectares of vines, with three different soil types: slate, granite and alluvial gravel. These different terroirs are important for the final wine: for example, the Touriga from granite tastes almost like Do, whereas from schist it is much richer and fuller. The different varieties are planed in blocks, with overall proportions being Touriga Nacional 35%, Tinta Roriz 30%, Touriga Francesa 15%, Tinta Amarela 10%, Tinta Barroca 5% and Tinto Co 5%.

The first release was the 1999, which was met with great critical acclaim.

Meandro 2001
The second wine has a relatively small production: in this vintage it was 37 000 bottles. It is matured in older barrels. This has a ripe, supple nose with red and black fruits. The palate shows nice sweet fruit with some good definition and a liqouricey edge. Tasty stuff thats quite elegant. Very good/excellent 90/100

Quinta do Vale Meo 2001
Fantastic nose: complex black fruits with floral elements and notes of herbs, liquorice and tar. The palate is rich, ripe and concentrated with intense red and black fruits. A powerful, ripe with with lots happening. Excellent 95/100

Touriga Nacional sample 2003
Opaque colour. Thrilling ripe, perfumed nose of sweet black fruits. Very ripe but some freshness to the fruit with good acidity. A brilliant component, potentially excellent.

Quinta do Vale Meo Vintage Port 2001
Knockout open nose of explosive sweet liquoricey, herby fruit: forward and nicely defined. The palate is sweet, ripe and open with amazing fruit quality. Breathtaking. Savoury, spicy, tannic edge. Very forward and appealing. Maybe not a long term wine but fantastic now. Excellent 95/100

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