This historic quinta (estate), one of the finest in the Douro, was founded in 1877 by the legendary Port producer Dona Antónia Adelaide Ferreira. Today it is owned by her great grandson the affable Francisco “Tito” Olazabal, former Managing Director of A.A. Ferreira, which previously bought the grapes from the estate for its wines that include the renown Barca Velha. We had the pleasure of touring the estate with Tito when we traveled throughout the Douro for our Report # 24 The New Wines of Portugal. We climbed with Tito to the chapel high on the hill overlooking the Vale Meão vineyards and the Douro (see photo), and later tasted his wines.
The estate is situated in the wild upper reaches of the sweltering Douro Superior and has consistently produced top quality wines. Vines cover 85 hectares of this property with three distinct soils (alluvial, granite and schist) that offer a uniquely complex terroir for a single estate. Through a new company, F. Olazabal & Filhos, Lda, Francisco Olazabal and his son produce, age and market these magnificent unfortified wines (Quinta do Vale Meão and Meandro de Vale Meão) and a port. Importer: Deutsch Family Wine and Spirits, White Plains, New York, NY
Quinta do Vale Meão 2011 Meandro Douro ($26) 89+ The 2011 Meandro exhibits an opaque ruby purple color and aromas of blackberry fruit with hints of earth, black olive and spice. Aged in French barriques (2nd and 3rd year), it is soft and lush on the palate with medium weight and a rich, full mouth feel. The wine consists of a blend of 35% Touriga Nacional, 30% Touriga Franca, 27% Tinta Roriz and small amounts of other native grapes. It is drinking well now but has some firm tannins that will benefit from aging in the bottle.
Quinta do Vale Meão 2011 Douro ($76) 94-95 The 2011 Quinta do Vale Meão is a magnificent wine with rich aromas of dark berries, earth, charred oak and a hint of violets. Aged in 80% new French barriques and 20% second year, it boasts a core of ripe, dark fruit flavors, a soft velvet texture, great vibrancy, and firm round tannins. Still young and layered with fruit, the wine is awesome in its dimension and presence. A blend of 55% Touriga Nacional, 34% Touriga Franca, 6% Tinta Barocca and 5% Tinta Roriz.
Quinta do Vale Meao 2011 Vintage Porto Douro ($60) 92 This is a lovely vintage port produced from the outstanding vineyards of the Quinta do Vale Meão in the Douro Superior. It exhibits sweet and pure raisin-like black fruit on the nose with hints of charred oak. It is rich and concentrated on the palate with rich, red and black fruit flavors, good texture, round firm tannins, and a long persistent finish. A blend of 60% Touriga Franca, 20% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Barroca, 5% Tinta Roriz, 5% Sousao and 5% of other varieties.
Mike Potashnik and Don Winkler December 2013