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: Made from mainly Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and other grape varieties, grown in the slopes of Sabor River Valley and Douro Valley, in the sub-region of the Douro Superior. The vines are between 20 and 35 years-old.
Vinification and ageing: At Quinta Vale do Sabor, in stainless-steel vats from 7 to 12 days, at controlled temperatures between 22ºC and 27ºC. Aged in French-oak barrels, of 2 or 3 years-old, for 6 months. Ageing in stainless-steel tanks for another 13 months.
Tasting notes: The Vale D. Maria Douro Superior has a brilliant and vivid ruby color. The typical red fruits from the Douro Superior are amazingly present in the nose, where aromas of blackberries, strawberries and black cherries stand out, making this wine very complex and intense. The hints of vanilla are a perfect match to enhance the velvety texture of this wine that slowly ends with a long lasting and deeply fresh finish.
Ideally paired with meat dishes, or even with codfish baked in the oven.