At Quinta Vale D. Maria Port wines are made in a traditional way, with foot treading in granite lagares. All Ports are produced with the same care and dedication, in order to create the highest quality wines. We thus maintain the same philosophy for our Ports as for other wines: obtaining a unique character. Since the beginning of the project at Quinta Vale D. Maria, we have been producing Vintage, LBV and Reserve Ports, all from a single harvest.
The selection of vines was based on knowledge of Port wine production over several generations. Each of the plots, planted with various indigenous varieties and mostly exposed to the South, has ages ranging from 25 to 60 years old. These vineyards allow you to create Port Wines with complexity, depth, aroma and structure, which represent a time and a place.
The viticulture year of 2015/2016 was a difficult year. The timing to pick had to be just right, to get the perfect balance in our White, Red and Port Wines. The winter started off warm, but with a lot of precipitation. This was a great start, as we needed to replenish the soil with water, following the very dry 2015 viticulture year. There was more rainfall than the average of the previous 30 years. The unexpected twist to this very welcome rain, was that it continued throughout April and May. This constant rainfall and cool temperatures demanded extra care and attention to all our vines. In the middle of the old plantings, the herb growth, much to our surprise, acted to prevent the spread of mildium, which meant most of our fruit was healthy. We did have a decrease in production; however, this increased the concentration of flavor and aroma in each grape. August saw unusually hot temperatures, which further slowed maturation. Thankfully, some much desired rain fell on the 24th and 26th of August. We started picking the white grapes on the 5th of September. Each picking day was carefully selected, observing the development of the sugar levels and, particularly, taking account acidity levels to maintain the balance in such an atypical year. The rainfall on the 12th and 13th brought the water needed to keep maturation of the berries going and we saw beautiful grapes coming in.
Grape Origins: A blend of more than 25 different traditional Douro grape varieties, predominately Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca, but also Rufete, Tinta Amarela,Tinta Francisca, Sousão, and many others, from older and younger vines of Quinta Vale D. Maria, vineyards ranging from 25 to 60 years old, from South, Southeast, Southwest, East and West facing vineyards. These grapes are the last ones to be picked and averaged above 15,5 Baumé.
Vinification and ageing: Grapes were crushed by foot, before fermentation, together with 15% of the total grape brandy which would be added to the final Port. This allows us to macerate the grapes at cooler temperatures and for a longer period before fermentation. When the must was ready for the addition of the remaining grape brandy, the fortification is made in one single moment, adding all the brandy to the must and skins in the lagar. Then some more treading ensures good homogenization of the whole wine and that the fermentation is stopped. The blend of must and brandy stays in the lagar for some more two to four days, with very slight treading twice a day. It is then racked to the storage vat together with all the press wine (we use traditional basket presses). The wines aged in very ancient wood Port casks and small stainless-steel vats.
Tasting Notes: This wine has a dark color. In the nose, it is very expressive mainly due to the complexity of grape varieties but also due to its ageing in oak barrels. This wine shows notes of black mature fruit, with a dominance of blackberries, black cherries, plums and cassis. Elegant and soft, this Quinta Vale D. Maria LBV Porto 2015 is well-balanced and delicate with a lingering and fruity finish. Ideally paired with chocolate and deserts.