Douro Valley Tastings: Quinta do Infantado

 

Upper valley 'round sun set
Upper valley

After a bumpy ride down to this discretely located Quinta, we were received by Oenologist Fatima Riba and owner/winemaker Joao Roseira at Quinta do Infantado. The cellar was built in 1816, and is stillin-tact. Despite the relatively large size (46ha), this Quinta is still family run. Getting that human dimension was comforting after Sandeman and Portal visits.

The first vintage that was bottled at the estate was 1991. This is significant because most of Douro is still composed of small growers who sell all their production to large négociants. Acorrding to Roseira, of the 30 000 vine growers in the Douro valley, there are only about 500 actually make wine and sell it under their own label.

 Joao Roseira (owner and manager of Quinta do Infantado)

Joao Roseira (owner and manager of Quinta do Infantado)

2006 Douro Dry Red 75% Touriga Nacional, with some Touriga Franca and Touriga Roriz. Tank fermented then in to barrel (part new) for approximately 8 months.

The nose was surprisingly perfumy with lots of heady flowers and rich ripe fruit. The fruits in the mouth were also very ripe with silky smooth tannins. Very pure.  Excellent!

 

Porto Blanc tank made, barrel aged. 25 g RS The nose has honeyed Mirabelle plums and white pepper. A very seductive nose. The mouth also had lots of pepper with pine nuts, spice and candied ginger driving the energy.

Porto Ruby the nose is beautiful roasted quetches and coco dust. The mouth has beautiful salty mineral notes with topographical relief (energy!!) and lots of pepper.

Porto Reserve Special The nose here is a little dusty and smoky. Mouth is denser, more chocolaty than the Ruby. Also has great salt and pepper that makes you salivate.

 

The LBV 2001 (LBV=Late Bottled Vintage)  has charred lavender and quetch-plum skins, peppery flowers. Lots of spice, coffee and chocolate.  The mouth is very chocolately, lots of pepper and chalky notes.

 

Porto Vintage 2003 Very peppery, chalky plums. 15 seconds long, very peppery especially in the mid-mouth. Chocolate and salty caramel notes.

Porto Vintage 2004 Dusty chocolate. Also 15-16 seconds long. It is more complex and more expressive than the 2004.  The spice box has more different kinds of spice in it.

Porto Tawny the nose has heady spices, sandal wood, cinnamon and cloves. The mouth is a white pepper explosion with creamy texture, hints of curry, cinnamon and leather.

Porto Tawny 10 years old Very spicy, mainly curry, leather. Blond tobacco cigar notes. Some carmel but with LOTS of spice.

After tasting through all the Ports, the owner remarked that small Quintas like his tend to be stronger thn the large negociants at making Rubys and Tawnys. And that some times  the small Quintas are less strong on the vintage ports than the large négociants who invest all of their quality efforts and selections to make a great deal of very good vintage wines.

One of the most important things that Joao Roseira said during our tasting with him is how important he thinks that acidification is for Douro wines.  Because of the heat, and the long maturation time required for some of the grape varieties, making balanced wines without acidification is virtually impossible. He acidifies at harvest (which is the best time to acidify because if one acidifies any later in the process, the added acidity does not integrate into the wine the same way and the wine ends up being unbalanced).

Fatima Ribas (oenologist of Quita do Infantado)
Fatima Ribas (oenologist of Quita do Infantado)
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