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Magnum of The Society's Exhibition Douro 2014

Red Wine from Portugal
We've been holding back these magnums of our Exhibition Douro, made for us by Quinta do Vale Meão, to allow a little more age. Now's the time to reap the reward! A fragrant, well-structured blend of traditional grapes, all foot-trodden in granite lagares. Decant in advance.
Price: £32.00 Magnum
Price: £32.00 Case of 1
Low stock
Code: PW6554

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Full-bodied
  • 14% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2026
  • 150cl (Magnum)
  • Cork, natural

Portugal

Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the...
Like its neighbour Spain, Portugal has been undergoing something of a quiet revolution over the last twenty years or so. A reluctance to follow trends and plant international grapes is now paying dividends and the new breed of full-blooded, fruit-filled wines are more than able to compete on the world stage. The unique flavours that are the hallmark of Portugal's indigenous grape varieties have become its trump card.

Vinho Verde, sometimes spritzy and youthful and sometimes made with the aim of creating a more serious white wine, is in the verdant north-west, bordering the Spanish province of Galicia. A wet and fertile area, the grapes ripen with moderate sugar levels and refreshing acidity, meaning that the wines are usually lowish in alcohol at about 10-11%. Astringent, low alcohol red Vinho Verde is also produced.

Trás-os-Montes is a remote region of harsh winters and hot, dry summers in the north-east of the country is bound on one side by high mountains and on the other the border with Spain (the name means 'behind the mountains'. The schistous soils and the grapes are similar to those of the Douro. Reds are often lighter and more aromatic than those of neighbouring Douro.

The Douro is one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world, and deservedly Portugal's best known, the Douro has quickly emerged to lead the way as the country's premium wine region and there is a real pioneering spirit amongst the winemakers here, port shippers included. Although there is an enormous variety of different terroirs within the Douro Valley, this is essentially a sparsely populated, hot, arid region where grapes are grown on spectacularly steep terraced slopes. Wine grapes are the same as those that go into Port. Wines tend to be high in tannin and flavour.

Dão is south of the Douro on granite slopes protected by high mountains and pine forests. The region produces one of Portugal's better-known reds of the same name. Once dominated by rather lack-lustre co-operatives, the area now has a whole clutch of dynamic, small producers making elegant, approachable and enjoyable wines.

Between the mountains and the coast, on fertile clay soils, is Bairrada (barro is Portuguese for clay). Better known for red wines, this is one of the only wine regions in Portugal to be dominated by a single grape variety,the tannic, high-acid baga, making wines that can be tough and astringent in their youth but which soften with age, becoming beguilingly perfumed. These days many blend baga with non-indigenous grapes to make a friendlier style, but the greatest are pure baga. The area also benefits from late-afternoon breezes which favour the production of fresh, food-friendly whites and increasingly popular sparkling wines.

Beira Interior is a rather disparate region covering a vast swathe of inland Portugal south of the Douro and east of Dão. Vineyards are grown at altitude on granite soils. In the north, grapes are similar to those of the Douro while the south has a whole mix of varieties.

Lisboa is a large, coastal region that runs north from Lisbon. Atlantic breezes help cool the vineyards and maintain the fresh acidity and aromatics in the mostly white wines. North of Bucelas, on the Atlantic west coast lies the strip of rolling countryside that contains nine separate DOCs under the umbrella name of Lisboa. This is Portugal's largest wine producing region in volume terms.

Bucelas was the first wine The Society ever sold! This tiny DOC is one of the closest to Lisbon. It produces breezy dry whites which are popular locally.

Tejo was formerly known as Ribatejo is known for good, everyday drinking wines in a range of styles from a wide range of permitted grapes. This region lies on either side of the River Tagus

Lying across the mouth of theTagus river, the Península de Setúbal is a flat, sandy region with the exception of the Serra da Arrábida a short chain of mountains with clay and limestone soils. There are two DOCs here, Palmela north-east of the peninsula where the castelão grape is ideally suited to the sandy soils, and Setúbal, where a sweet fortified wine is made primarily from muscat of Alexandria.

The Alentejo province stretches south from the Tagus to the Algarve and east to the border with Spain and covers almost a third of continental Portugal. Divided into seven diverse sub-regions, the undulating hills are home to many crops. Despite the challengingly arid climate here, this is a dynamic region, referred to sometimes as Portugal's 'new world'.
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Quinta do Vale Meão

The Quinta do Vale Meão estate was the ‘last great achievement’ of Antónia Adelaide Ferreira, the legendary Great Lady of the Douro, and the only property which was totally planted by her, on 300 hectares of barren common land purchased at auction from the town council of Vila Nova de Foz Côa in 1877. The project took eight years to complete and Antónia just saw it come to fruition, dying the following year in 1896. Originally the estate supplied grapes that went into perhaps Portugal's most famous red table to date, Barca Velha.

It is now owned by her great-great grandson Francisco Javier de Olazabal. He left the Port and Douro Wine Company A.A. Ferreira in 1998 to develop his own winemaking project with his son, Francisco (Xito) de Olazabal y Nicolau de Almeida, and his sister Luisa now manages sales and marketing of the wines. The century-old winery has subsequently been totally refurbished, adding modern winemaking equipment but retaining the tradition of old granite lagares. 67 hectares of vines are block planted on a variety of soil types, with a particular commitment to the touriga nacional variety. The first wines, of the 1999 vintage, were released in 2001. As well as organic olive oil they make a range of wines from traditional Douro grape varieties, with their reds foot trodden in granite lagares.

Our first Exhibition Douro came from the fine 2011 vintage. In 2013 Meandro branco was made for the first time from grapes bought in.

Portugal Vintage 2014

2014 was looking full of possibilities after a wet winter replenished water levels. In terms of temperatures throughout the growing season everything was normal with a mild summer and cool night time temperatures leading to a slow, even ripening of the grapes. The fly in the ointment, as it were, was the regular occurrence of rain, even up to and during the harvest. Those growers who spent time in the vineyards ensuring that only healthy bunches made it to the winery were rewarded with a low but very good-quality crop that has translated into some deliciously harmonious wines
2014 vintage reviews

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