Wines such as Quinta Vale D. Maria Vinha Francisca demonstrate that the Douro is capable of producing wines of exceptional freshness, maintaining body, balance, elegance and intense aromas.
The 2018 viticultural year was out of the ordinary, in comparison with the last five years. Winter was cold and dry and spring was cool and with very high rainfall. The summer was marked by two different stages, first cold and rainy and towards the end, warm and extremely dry. This provoked a later flowering season, however thanks to the rain, the vine found great levels of water to flourish. There was a higher pressure than average for mildium and the climatic instability brought productivity levels down. At Quinta Vale D. Maria (Cima Corgo) we monitored the vineyard carefully to make sure mildium was not very strong. At Quinta Vale do Sabor (Douro Superior), a more consistent climate offered very good conditions for vine development. In August, some dehydration and sun burn occurred, though quite mildly. Therefore, production levels did not fall dramatically at either of our estates. Harvest began on September 12th with white grapes. It ran smoothly, with grape picking occurring at the ideal maturation, and resulting in musts of great quality.
Grape origins: In 2004, the year of our daughter Francisca’s 18th birthday, we planted Vinha da Francisca (Francisca’s Vineyard) with several different grape varieties – Tinta Francisca, Touriga Franca, Sousão, Rufete and Touriga Nacional – in an area of 4,5 hectares.
Vinification and aging: All grapes are hand-picked and carefully selected at the sorting table before being destemmed and placed into the granite stone lagares. All grapes are foot trodden in the granite lagares. They will then ferment in lagares or in stainless steel tanks for 7 to 10 days with a temperature between 22ºC to 27ºC. Wines in lagar will have foot treading every night, whilst the stainless steel tanks will undergo manual pump-overs. We then rack the resulting wines in new Allier French oak 225L casks from various coopers (Seguin Moreau, François Frères, Taransaud, Nadalie and Berthomieu), where they go through malolactic fermentation during 21 months in 50% new French oak barrels. The final selection of barrels and the composition of the blend takes place about a month before bottling.
Tasting notes: With exceptional freshness, Quinta Vale D. Maria Vinha da Francisca 2018 is known for its elegance. With a great depth of color, this wine seduces by the concentration of aroma of ripe red fruits, black cherry, plum and raspberry. Elegance and freshness announce a long and creamy finish.