The 2019 Douro vintage was among the longest in recent years, lasting up to six weeks, from the first week of September to mid-October. For many wine producers, yields were closer to average following the exceptionally small years of 2017 and 2018. Few estates in the Douro have managed to build up such an impressive reputation as Quinta do Vale Meao and recent vintages have all been received with high critical acclaim.
The grapes for this immense estate wine come from a vineyard steeped in history and with the blending of only the best Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Barroca, and Tinto Cao, winemaker Xito Olazabal has turned this wine into a flag bearer for the Douro and Portugal. The Olazabal family, proud owners and descendants of the founder, Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, are now writing a significant chapter for this iconic estate and the region. Since 1998, Xito Olazabal has been working hard to understand the estate’s complex palette of grapes and terroirs and with his growing experience, skill, and attention to detail, the best out of the estate-grown grapes planted by soil type – alluvial, granite, and schist – are all fermented and aged separately. The resultant wines are then blended together, with different proportions each year, to best represent the estate’s overall terroir and each vintage’s individual character.
Quinto do Vale Meao Tinto 2019, Douro, 14% Abv.
2019 was a lauded vintage across many regions of Europe and this new resplendent expression of the Vale Meao tinto certainly displays wonderfully complex aromatics of pressed violets, sappy black currant, bramble berry spice, vanilla pod and an imposingly pronounced underlying minerality of graphite and crushed granite. The palate is incredibly focused and pinpoint with firm polished marble tannins, yet also weightless layers of black and blueberry fruit concentration all packaged and presented so meticulously. There is a delicious concentration and certainly no over ripe flavours but also a thrilling freshness to keep the whole palate texture glassy and sleek. The finish is stony, mineral and very serious suggesting that this wine could be one of the estate’s more age worthy examples. Drink from 2024 to 2040+.
(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)