You know a producer is an iconic winery when they have pulling power. Ok, so what exactly is “pulling power” you might ask? Well, quite simply, pulling power is getting a call on a Thursday afternoon asking if you would like to host Xito Olazabal, the winemaker from Quinta do Vale Meao, at short notice for a small impromptu private client tasting in the cellar the following Monday… then sending out one short email… and filling an entire cellar with 20 blue chip clients. Now that’s what you call pulling power!
Of course I realised Xito was passing through town for the New Douro Tasting and I just thought it would be a crying shame to give a knee jerk trade reaction and say sorry, can’t do an event at such short notice in November, one of the busiest times of year for punters and trade alike. But the speed at which customers replied to the tasting invitation even surprised me.
Enjoying Eben Sadie’s Treinspoor Old Vine Series Tinta Barocca 2015 with Xito at dinner after the tasting.
On the Monday, Xito presented a superb masterclass showing 4 vintages of white and red Meandro do Vale Meao as well as a tantalising mini Quinta do Vale Meao first wine vertical featuring 2000, 2007, 2012 and the pre-release 2015, followed by their single vineyard Tinta Roriz and Touriga Nacional expressions. But it’s the amazing benchmark 2015 Quinta do Vale Meao I want to highlight here and that’s due to arrive in the UK shortly.
Quinta do Vale Meao 2015, Douro Tinto, 14 Abv.
This imposing wine shows impressive mineral aromatics mixing with perfumed cassis leaf, mulberry, blue berry and fragrant black cherry. There are hints of creamy blue berry muffin opulence together with very impressive fruit purity. The palate is fresh, cool and focused with impressive textural polish. The tannins are very sleek and graphitey, balancing a saline liquorice complexity that finishes with great intensity, yet pure harmony. Perhaps an element of slightly earlier picking, this wine is vibrant and intense, showing off the very best the Douro has to offer with its still wines. Not a wine you want to miss out on. Drink this comfortably from 2018 to 2035+
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)