Delicious, aromatic, peppery and flirtatious Douro red beautifully crafted and exquisitely balanced
Cristiano Van Zeller is a tireless ambassador not only for his own wines but for the Douro Valley in its entirety. We have been working together for a great many years and have witnessed the evolution of Cristiano‟s portfolio first hand, as wine after wine is regaled on the world stage. Dona Maria is the flagship – a property formerly owned by Cristiano‟s wife Joana‟s family. The estate had been let out to the Symington family on an extended lease, much of it destined for Quinta do Vesuvio. This is a wonderful, spectacularly-sited property, overlooking the Rio Torto, a tributary of the Douro. South/southeast facing, there are 17 hectares of vines ranging between 60 and 80 years old, 10 hectares of 30 year old vines and 5 hectares of new plantings. The Quinta has been divided into separate plots, is sustainably farmed and is all handpicked. Grapes are selected before being de-stemmed and foot trodden in granite lagares for one to three days. Each parcel is fermented separately either in the lagares or in stainless steel tanks. The resulting wines are racked into 225l new Allier oak casks, from various coopers. Malolactic fermentation is in oak, followed by 21 months in barriques (60% new, 40% one year old) All of the fermentations are kept separately until the final blending, just one month before bottling.
Location: Above Pinhão in the Douro Valley, Portugal
Size & Average Vine Age: 20 hectares
Grape Variety: Tinta Roriz, Tinta Francesca, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Tinta Barroca & Sousão
Fermentation: Foot trodden and fermented in traditional lagares for seven to ten days with pigeage by hand
Maturation: racked into French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. Aged, the individual fermentations kept apart, until final blending before bottling. Aged for 2 years in wooden vats
Winter began with warm and rainy weather, welcome for replenishing diminished water reserves. 2015 had been very dry. These conditions continued through April and May demanding strict vigilance in the vineyard. The rain encouraged grass growth amongst the vines, inhibiting mildew. The harvest was therefore healthy but, with fewer bunches per vine, quantities were down yet aromas were intensified within the grapes. June and July passed without incident and then August brought in extremely hot weather, causing stress in the vines, slowing down maturation. Thankfully some rain on the 24th and 26th of the month facilitated the final ripening process and the eventual harvest was in peak condition.
Intense plum ruby, a lovely colour, this offers quintessential Vale Dona Maria charm, a harmonious medley of berries and cherries with a sensation of wild herbs and minerals – pepper-spiced. The palate is beguiling in combining generosity with elegance and poise – a truly fine wine, supported by silken tannins and maintaining a sense of direction and focus throughout – rendering it ideal for food-pairing. Bravo to Cristiano and his team – another lovely vintage.
|Drinking Dates||2017 – 2027|