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 with the occurrence of 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 the 12th of September with white grapes. It ran smoothly, with grape picking occurring with the ideal maturation, and resulting in musts of great quality.
Grape origins: The grapes for Vale D. Maria Rufo Douro White come from Sobreda and Candedo (Murça), where the vines are at high altitudes (600 m), allowing the grapes to have good acidity and freshness. This wine is made with Arinto, Códega de Larinho and Rabigato.
Vinification: Grapes are hand-picked and carefully selected at the sorting table and destalked before going into the pneumatic press. Grapes are slightly crushed and fermented in 2,500L to 5,000L stainless steel vats for 25 days at temperatures between 10ºC and 14ºC. It then ages in stainless steel for 9 months, with bâttonage.
Notes de dégustation: With a light yellow colour, this unoaked blend enhances the natural aromas of the three varieties that compose the blend. Arinto brings freshness and a velvety structure to the wine. Rabigato is balanced and presents mineral aromas, of acacia and orange blossom. Códega de Larinho shows more tropical fruit aromas and floral notes. All combined in a crisp and naturally fresh wine.
Ideally, we like pairing Vale D. Maria Rufo White with cheeses (cow or goat milk), white fish and grilled vegetables (particularly eggplant and ball peppers).