Quinta do Vale Meão is a legendary Douro estate. Fruit from these vineyards was used in the creation of Barca Velha in 1952, the first great red wine of the Douro, by Fernando Nicolau de Almeida
Vale Meão sits snugly on a bend of the meandering Douro River, not far from the village of Pocinho, in the far north of Portugal. The Quinta is the last great achievement of the legendary Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira who acquired and planted the 270 hectare estate of wild Monte Meão land in 1877. Vale Meão has always remained in the hands of Dona Antonia’s descendants. Today the wines from the Quinta are produced, aged and marketed through a new company, F. Olazabal & Filhos Lda. which was formed by Dona Antonia’s great, great grandson Francisco Javier Olazabal and his oenologist son in 1998.
Luisa Olazabal was waiting for us at the entrance to the estate. We left our minibus near the smart new winery and were driven along a rough dirt track to the family chapel at the top of the hill in 4x4s. The view from the terrace in front of the chapel was breath taking. The river, the 85 hectares of vineyards, olive groves and the old Barca Velha cellar – renovated in 2007 to store and age Port, were spread in a wide arc below us. The sun shone and the wind howled.
On the way down to the winery, we stopped to admire Dona Antonia’s manor house.
The old winery, Adegas dos Novos, has been remodelled and updated.
We tasted the Vale Meão range with Luisa Olazabal in the winery.
- Meandro Red Douro – a blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Sausao, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Cao aged in 225 litre French oak barrels of second and third usage
- Monte Meão Red Douro – a new wine launched in 2013 of Touriga Nacional alone from the granite soils of Vinha dos Novos
- Quinta do Vale Meão Red Douro with Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, and Tinto Cao aged in 225 litre French oak barrels, 80% new and 20% second year – rich, concentrated and excellent
- Quinta do Vale Meão Vintage Port – Tinta Barroca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Sausao and Tinto Cao
The wines were clean, well crafted and excellent and it is not surprising that they have received 36 ratings over 90 points from Wine Spectator over the vintages.
As we drove back towards Pocinho, I felt elated. Another old dream had come true.
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