Quinta do Vale Meao
is one of the great wine estates of the Douro, if not the world. Bought and established by that legendary lady of Port, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, in the early 19th Century, it has been the stage for many pioneering feats of winemaking and viticulture in the Douro. Currently though it is still in family hands, with descendant Francisco Xavier Olazabal (Vito), his winemaker son Francisco and daughter Luísa all devote to the cause. This humorous and relaxed team has, since they started making wine at the quinta in 1999, pushed the boundaries of excellence in Douro reds beyond what was imaginable. Perched on the river’s most dramatic meander, around 70 hectares of vines sweep before your eyes, planted with a host of local varieties. A magnificent granite edifice houses the winery. It is remote and extreme in location but of outstanding beauty and the wines reflect this setting. After being crushed the grapes are cooled down and trodden by foot during four hours in the granite lagares and then transferred to small stainless steel refrigerated vinifying vats. Each variety is vinified separately. When the alcoholic fermentation ends the wine goes through malolactic fermentation part in barriques and part in stainless steel vats. All the wine matures in French Allier oak 225 litres barriques (80% new and 20% second year). 57% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Franca, 5% Tinta Barroca and 3 % Tinta Roriz
Quinta do Vale Meao, based on Touriga Nacional, is huge and intense and surges across the palate a with great power yet is has masterful complexity with elegance of fruit and grace of tannins. Remarkably dark and concentrated wine, with excellent acidity and firm tannin structure and powerful fruit notes.
"The 2009 Tinto, the winery’s flagship label, is a blend of Touriga Nacional (57%), Touriga Franca (35%), with 5% Tinta Barroca and just 3% Tinta Roriz – most of that went into the Meandro this year. Quite powerful, this is more refined than the Meandro; it shows more finesse and elegance in the mid-palate, while remaining intense on the finish. Like the Meandro, it is in a difficult place at the moment and really needs some time to come around, but I think the combination of intensity, structure and finesse are going to make this a big winner as time goes on. This is a powerful wine – let it settle down. It may be approachable sooner, and my drinking windows accounts for that, but I really suspect it won’t get anywhere near peak until about 2016-2019. There were 2,300 cases produced. Drink 2014-2025." Wine Advocate: 94 pts.