Quinta do Vale Meao, Portugal, Douro
In 1877, Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, queen of the 19th century Douro Valley and owner of the largest winemaking estate in the Douro, purchased 300 hectares of virgin land at auction from the Vila Nova de Foz Côa municipality. Her dream was to create a model vineyard from nothing, using for this the vast experience she had acquired throughout a lifetime as a Douro landowner. This ambitious project took eight years to complete, from 1887 to 1895. Sadly, this grand lady’s pleasure in her last and most significant enterprise was of short duration as she died in 1896.
Since then, the estate always remained in the hands of her descendants. In the 1970s, her great-great-great-grandson, Francisco Javier de Olazabal became responsible for its management and he began the long and laborious process of acquiring the shares that belonged to his kin and to other co-owners of the property. In 1994, he and his children became the sole owners of the Quinta. Until then, the grapes from the estate were sold to A.A. Ferreira S.A., the company established by Dona Antónia’s descendants, where they formed the basis of some its finest wines. This connection continued until 1998 when Francisco Javier de Olazabal resigned as Managing Director of A.A. Ferreira S.A. to dedicate himself, together with his oenologist son Francisco de Olazabal y Nicolau de Almeida, to producing, ageing and marketing the wines from the Quinta through a new company, F. Olazabal & Filhos Lda.
Since that day Quinta do Vale Meao has continued to build an impressive reputation and set high standards of excellence through out the Douro. Currently the estate is under 62 hectares of vines with plantings of Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Amarela, and Tinta Barro dominating. Soil make-up varies through the vineyard but for the most part are made up of slate, granite and alluvial gravel.
– Xito Olazabal, winemaker at Quinta Do Vale Meao –
Like many great winemakers, Xito is totally consumed by his passion for perfection and continually strives to do better. His hard work has paid substantial dividends, evidenced by Vale Meao’s great popularity with critics and consumers alike. He endorses his father’s policy of two principal wines: the grand vin, Quinta do Vale Meão and a second wine, Meandro. The Olazabals share a view that all good grapes should contribute to their star wines, shunning the notion of a more diverse multi-marque approach – fearing possible dilution of quality. However, this clear focus on Vale Meao’s two wines does not preclude experimentation elsewhere, Xito’s latest white wine is made from grapes grown at altitude on his cousin Luis Bernardo Ferreira’s property at Porrais, near Murca north-west of Vale Meão.
Wine Accolades- Wine Enthusiast
The Quinta do Vale Meao Meandro Douro 2013 is highly rated by Wine Enthusiast, ranking in 21st in the The Enthusiast 100. Rated 93 points, the Meandro Douro is the second wine of the estate, ripe with tannins and packed with black fruits. It has a lively color, coupled with floral scents combined with red fruit aromas. In the mouth, it fills up with intense fruit notes, showing a long, very fresh and complex after taste.
The Quinta do Vale Meao Douro 2013 is another wine that is highly rated by Wine Enthusiast. Ranked 5th in the Wine Enthusiast’s top 100 Cellar Selections 2016, the wine showcases great potential. Dominated by Touriga Nacional, which offers a bacbone of dark tannins, the wine has a firm structure that will allow it to age for many years. Produced in open stone lagares, it has richness and impressive opulence in black fruit tones that are cut by juicy acidity. Drink from 2022.