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.
2017 was characterized by an extremely dry and hot year. The vegetative cycle was significantly fast, anticipating the harvest to the earliest date ever in our winemaking memory. We started picking white grapes on the 21st August and on August 26th we picked the first red grapes. In 2017 there was not much precipitation. During the months of June, July and August there were very high temperatures, which led to a hydric thermal and luminous stress, which conditioned the production of the vine. Nonetheless, there was an increase in production compared to 2016. At the sorting table, there was very little fruit rejection, since 2017 was a year of very good phytosanitary conditions. Concentration in the berries, heat and lack of water during the maturation period, accelerated the ripening of the berries, resulting in musts of great complexity and quality.
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, e many other, all proceeding from old vines and more recent plantations of Quinta Vale D. Maria, vineyards ranging from 25 to more than 60 years old, and facing South, Southeast, Southwest, East and West.
Vinification and ageing: Grapes are crushed by foot, before the fermentation, together with 15% of the total grape brandy which would be added to the final Port., allowing for maceration of grapes at cooler temperatures and for a longer period before fermentation. When must is ready for the addition of the remaining grape brandy, the fortification is made in one single moment, adding all brandy to the must and skins in the lagar. Some more treading ensures good homogenization and that the fermentation is stopped. The blend of must and brandy stays in the lagar for some more 2 to 4 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 (more than 100 years old) wood Port casks and small stainless-steel vats up to a month before bottling.
Tasting Notes: This is rather light—it is a Reserva, after all—but the gorgeous fruit this vintage delivered makes this amazingly delicious, nonetheless. Although it is meant to be approachable, it has a fair bit of power, as they tend to do. It is an attractive package overall.