In the Douro, 1 - Quinta do Vale Meão

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I’m in the Douro. As is common on the road, time for blogging is short, and internet connections are not always guaranteed (although across the world they are so much better than they used to be even five years ago). So, a quick update on day 1. I was at Quinta do Vale Meão, which is in the Douro Superior, not all that far from the Spanish border. This is one of the key estates of the New Douro – it’s historically important (this was the home of Portugal’s first serious table wine, Barca Velha) – and it’s now making some of the best Douro table wines of all.

2013s here are looking very good. It’s turned out to be a better vintage than Xito Olazabal (the winemaker/owner here, along with his father Vito) at first realized. It offers lots of freshness and aromatic interest, with moderate to low alcohols and good potential for ageing.

Unusually for the Douro, there is a range of terroirs here: in addition to schist, there’s some granite and some alluvial influence, and wines from different bits of the vineyard really do taste different. Look out for: the 2013 Baga. Yes, Baga, known in the Douro as Tinto de Bairrada, it does really well, especially on the granitic soils. Elegant, vital, sappy and just 12.5% alcohol. Full write up of visit to come, of course.

Vito Olozabal

Vito Olozabal

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Xito Olazabal

Xito Olazabal

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3 comments to In the Douro, 1 – Quinta do Vale Meão

  • Paul Metman

    Hi Jamie, “de gustibus non est disputandum” as the old Romans used to say, but do you really think this black and white photographs add something special to this post?

  • fatFred

    I agree about the B&W, especially for the landscapes.

  • Dudley Wilson

    I find Jamie’s photography generally pretty good. He has an eye for this style of work. The B&W photos really caught my eye, so much so that I looked at each one rather than browse quickly through them. I was wondering if they had been supplied by the winery. The B&W format lends a timeless air and gravitas to the subjects and stir a contemplative emotion. I would like to see more of this.

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