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.