The winter (December-February) was the driest in the last 40 years. This reflected immediately in the water levels in the soil. April and May brought some precipitation and eased the drought at Quinta Vale D. Maria. Thermometers, however, marked the lowest averages in recent years, particularly the minimum temperatures during the winter, and the average summer temperatures. July and August were relatively fresh, with thermometers recording an average of 23ºC. The average temperatures of the last 21 years have been 25ºC in July and 25.3ºC in August. These lower temperatures in both summer months had a positive impact in the vineyard and on the quality of the grapes. The climatic evolution in August (fresh) and September (hot in the first two weeks and two days of rain towards the end) gave rise to significant variations in the maturation. The harvest began in Quinta Vale D. Maria on September 13th and ran very well. Overall, due to the excellent sanitary conditions of the grapes, resulting in grapes with great balance of their different components, 2012 was a great vintage.
Grape origin: Vinha do Moinho was acquired by Cristiano van Zeller in 2001. Distant from the heart of Quinta Vale D. Maria’s estate, this vineyard is divided in two parts: one, facing west, and the other, located on a small hillside, facing south. It is in the latter, the oldest vineyard with more than 80 years, that we find the birthplace of the wine that bares its name. At an altitude of 260 to 305 meters, Vinha do Moinho, comprises a profusion of grape varieties, with a predominance of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinta Barroca. Harvest after harvest, the fruit of this special vineyard stood out from the other lots at Quinta Vale D. Maria, drawing Cristiano van Zeller’s attention to something that he felt was unique.
Vinification and ageing: Maceration and fermentation in a traditional granite lagar with foot treading, four times a day, until the malolactic fermentation ended. During the fermentation, the temperatures were controlled (±26ºC). This field blend presents a unique elegance, complexity and fruit preservation due to its 18-month ageing period in new extra fine-grain French oak barrels, followed by ageing in bottle.
Tasting notes: The color, with nuances of evolution, introduces a complex aroma, rich in balsamic, smoky and spice notes, with a background of ripe fruit. In the mouth, it is full and fruity at the beginning of the tasting. Very balanced, dense and concentrated, the fine, sweet and firm tannins show an extraordinary ageing capacity. Similarly to the movement of water, used in mills, the movement of time, that cradles Vinha do Moinho 2012, irrigates an unmistakable personality and a unique character. A DNA that is born in the fingerprints of a special terroir, that only time can shape.