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We’ve been holding back the latest vintage of our Exhibition Douro, made for us by Quinta do Vale Meão, to allow it a little more bottle age. A fragrant and well-structured blend of traditional Portuguese grape varieties, all foot-trodden in granite lagares, this will benefit from decanting while still so young, but its succulent fruit is opening up beautifully now alongside clove and cedar spice.
Product Code: PW6551
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The Quinta do Vale Meão estate was the ‘last great achievement’ of Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, the legendary Great Lady of the Douro, and the only property which was totally planted by her, on 300 hectares of barren common land purchased at auction from the town council of Vila Nova de Foz Côa in 1877. The project took eight years to complete and Antónia just saw it come to fruition, dying the following year in 1896. Originally the estate supplied grapes that went into perhaps Portugal's most famous red table to date, Barca Velha. It is now owned by her great-great grandson Francisco Javier de Olazabal. He left the Port and Douro Wine Company A.A. Ferreira in 1998 to develop his own winemaking project with his son, Francisco (Xito) de Olazabal y Nicolau de Almeida, and his sister Luisa now manages sales and marketing of the wines. The century-old winery has subsequently been totally refurbished, adding modern winemaking equipment but retaining the tradition of old granite lagares. 67 hectares of vines are block planted on a variety of soil types, with a particular commitment to the touriga nacional variety. The first wines, of the 1999 vintage, were released in 2001. As well as organic olive oil they make a range of wines from traditional Douro grape varieties, with their reds foot trodden in granite lagares. Our first Exhibition Douro came from the fine 2011 vintage. In 2013 Meandro branco was made for the first time from grapes bought in.
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card. Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced. Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties. Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
2014 was looking full of possibilities after a wet winter replenished water levels. In terms of temperatures throughout the growing season everything was normal with a mild summer and cool night time temperatures leading to a slow, even ripening of the grapes. The fly in the ointment, as it were, was the regular occurrence of rain, even up to and during the harvest. Those growers who spent time in the vineyards ensuring that only healthy bunches made it to the winery were rewarded with a low but very good-quality crop that has translated into some deliciously harmonious wines
"Good quality fruit however this wine needs at least another 5 years in bottle to smooth out the big tannins. Buy now and cellar it, good value. 3 stars as it’s not ready to drink ."
I would recommend this wine
There are no press reviews for this product.
"Alluring nose, expansive body with dark fruits and proper tannins. Not the finest drink I've had, but not unremarkable and very good for what it costs. 3.5+, I'd say."
Mr Nandhan Maniratnam (28-Sep-2017)
"I was rather disappointed with this initially, as it paled beside the Meandro de Vale Meao of the same vintage, admittedly approximately twice the price if I recall correctly, and which I had recently enjoyed twice in Porto recently. Less tannic and somehow rather sweet. However a day after opening the bottle things were much more promising. Now glad I included a few bottles in a mixed case to age in Reserves."
Mr Mark R Hudson (11-Jun-2017)
"Good depth of flavour and balance. Deep colour but not over extracted / ripe. Dark berries compote flavours with some oak and good acidity."
Mr Rafael Goncalves (18-Feb-2017)
"Lush and full with plum and muted tannins"
Mr Duraiswamy S Rajan (27-Oct-2016)
Chase Magazine (2nd Oct 2017)
"Excellent wine that will improve as it ages, and is
best decanted as it is still relatively young. - David Clay"
"A big beast of a wine. Very well made, smooth dark fruity tight structure, a touch velvety, ripe blackcurrants and green peppers. Despite what the "real" wine critics tell us, its a difficult wine to enjoy unless you're very patient. I've got a history in them and I've learnt to open them at least 6hrs before. then you're going to enjoy a very special wine. Selling this as Drink Now is a joke. It took 5hrs in a decanter, aerating it, decanting bottle to decanter, and finally it came out from the Dark ages into a sophisticated Bordeaux like solid red wine. Then i can thoroughly recommend it. With patience you get a fantastic wine for the price."
Mr James Brown (01-Mar-2016)
Sunday Express (6th Aug 2016)
"Made by leading Douro
producer Vale do Meão, this is a beautifully expressive wine with floral black
cherry, violet and blackberry aromas to accompany very fresh black fruits on
the palate. It’s a fine wine that will age well. - Jamie Goode"
Decanter (30th Sep 2015)
granite lagares, fine briary nose. - Stephen Spurrier"
Decanter (26th Aug 2015)
"Made by the esteemed
Quinta do Vale Meão, this is a classic Douro field blend, with all the grapes
foot-trodden in granite lagares. It's packed with bright flavours of ripe red
cherries and spice, with the wonderful perfume heightening the wine's sense of freshness.
Very stylish. - Christelle Guibert"
"Rich, complex and elegant. Well worth the cost."
Mr Jeff Garner (22-Jul-2015)
"This is a quality wine which ever way you approach it, if a tad young and closed at this stage of the proceedings; drinking window given as 2020, so will improve. Lots of soft red fruit with a long after taste. Suggest decant before drinking and it opens up with a steak really well. The full price of £13.50pb smarts a bit, but it's about right. A wine made with great care and attention. Add it to your next mixed case, it will stand out!"
Mr Terence Eastham (26-Mar-2015)
"I have to confess to being rather underwhelmed. Perhaps I expected too much, having read all the press. I let it breathe for a couple of hours to open it up but found it a rather bland experience - certainly nothing special. Simply didn't live up to its billing - nor its price. I've had far better from the Society for almost half the price."
Mr Philip Todd (31-Jan-2015)
"Shame about Mr Smale wifes tax bill. I agree with him about this Druro it really is very good i am buying a case its to good to miss."
Mr Lawrence Marshom (28-Jan-2015)
"This is delicious. It is exactly as The Wine Society's describes - "fragrant, elegant and complex". It is a serious wine, which while delightful now, will certainly continue to improve with further cellaring. I purchased one bottle to try, and would be immediately buying a full case were it not for my wife's tax bill arriving yesterday...
Mr Will Smale (23-Jan-2015)
Decanter (27th May 2015)
"Made at Quinta do
Vale Meão, this wine is foot trodden in the traditional granite lagares used
for Port. The nose is rich and luscious with ripe blackberries and sweet spice.
The tannins are velvety, backed by bright black fruit and a lovely freshness and
structure that will see it age well for another five years. - Weekday Wines"
The Independent on Sunday (31st May 2015)
long-established Douro estate, this red is made with traditional port grapes,
its quality underlined by 2011 being declared a vintage port year. Full-bodied,
deceptively elegant and complex with red fruits and a whisper of oak. A pork,
chorizo and olive casserole or hard cheeses would be a good match. - Terry Kirby"
Sheffield Profile (1st May 2015)
"A red wine of
contrasts, with a fragrant perfume on the nose, then bitter chocolates, cherries
and dark fruit followed by a long, peppery finish. A rare wine in that the
grapes have been foot-trodden in granite lagares before ageing in oak barrels. - Richard Marsden"
The Times (21st Mar 2015)
"Tuck into the latest Exhibition red, a chewy,
bramble-and-sloe-stashed cracker, foot trodden at a historic estate in the
savagely beautiful upper Douro and tailor made for a juicy steak. - Jane MacQuitty"
wineanorak.com (3rd Mar 2015)
"From Quinta do Vale
Meao, foot trodden and aged in French oak. Fresh black cherry fruit nose with
some stony notes. Sweetly fruited palate with supple black fruits and some
spiciness, as well as nice structure and acidity. Supple, interesting and
drinkable. 91/100 - Jamie Goode"
York Press (31st Jan 2015)
"The Wine Society has
just released [this], which is made by Quinta do Vale Meão. It’s not the
cheapest... but it is rich and really rather good. Made from
traditional port grape varieties, it is smooth, long, complex and structured:
touting flavours of Morello cherry, dark chocolate and spice. - Mike Tipping"
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