Quinta do Vallado
An award-winning family winery that has emerged into the spotlight with their high-quality standards and variety of distinctive, indigenous Portuguese wine styles
The history of the Quinta do Vallado dates back to the year 1716, and makes it one of the oldest and most famous of the Douro Valley’s impressive group of ancient estates. It has remained in the Ferriera Family for more than six generations and lies of the banks of the Corgo River, a tributary of the mighty Douro river that winds through Spain and Portugal. Known for its production of highly-rated Portuguese-owned Ports (as opposed to English-owned Port companies), the company decided in 1993 to extend its business into red wines just as the fledgling Portuguese red wine industry took its first real steps toward international recognition.
Quinta do Vallado is comprised of almost 173 acres, with nearly 50 acres considered old vine (some more than 90 years old) and the rest more recently planted. Some of the acreage is also deemed organic, a positive factor for the company. Planted in steep terraces with south and western facings, these vines are among the most prized in the country.
A new, state-of-the-art winery was built in 2009 and an ultra-modern hotel was added in 2012, making the Quinta one of the most preferred locations for visiting wine enthusiasts in the Douro Valley.
Sixth generation descendants of original owner Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferreira own the Quinta do Vallado and produce some fantastic wines that we are excited to introduce to our International Wine Club members.
Francisco Olazabal - Winemaker
Francisco Olazabal is a direct descendant (4 x great grandson) of legendary winery founder Dona Antonia Adelaide Ferriera and the 2011 recipient of Portugal’s Winemaker of the Year. Olazabel is also part owner as well as one of the ‘Duero Boys,’ a well-known group of winemakers that are blazing new frontiers in the Portuguese wine industry. He is a gifted enologist and a pioneer in the country’s reemergence as one of the world’s leading producers of red wines.
The Douro region of Northern Portugal has long been associated with the making of Port wines that are among the most treasured in the world. During the past two decades, the Douro has joined other Portuguese producers in making outstanding red wines and currently has more than 61,000 acres under vine. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a definite stop on any visit to the country.
It is named for the Douro River that flows eastward from Spain to its mouth at Oporto. The area is extremely mountainous. Vineyards stretch up the steep, dry slopes on both sides of the river and its myriad of tributaries that host the narrow, rocky terraces (that employ the double cordon system of trellising) of the famous growing region. The area allows for the cultivation of more than 80 grape varietals but is led by key varietals such as Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca that are the most well-regarded. Wines from the outstanding 2011 vintage managed three of the four places in the annual Wine Spectator’s Top 100 World Wines ranking, an incredible achievement for the Douro growing region.
Portuguese Wine History
It is safe to say that the tiny country of Portugal has made the most important strides forward of any wine producing country in the entire world during the past decade. Always known for their great Port wines, the country’s red wines have now ascended into the upper galaxy of prestigious wines in both national and international competitions.
This is great news for Portuguese growers and vintners who have always produced exceptional wines only to have them meet little attention internationally. With French and Italian (and also Californian) wine prices skyrocketing to new highs, the Portuguese have taken their opportunity and made the most of it.
The smallish country (about the size of Pennsylvania) is home to only 10.8 million people and agriculture is the country’s main means of survival. Wine has been vinified since the 1st Century BC, when the Romans conquered the lands on the eastern side of the Iberian Peninsula.
It took the emergence of the European Union to provide the Portuguese wine industry with the means of achieving parity with other top wine producing countries around the world. The fact that it took the gentle country less than two decades to achieve success is almost spectacular. Tradition has always been the byword in Portuguese winemaking and the same is true today in its burgeoning array of wine exports.
A recent national magazine (USA TODAY) gave the Portuguese four of the top five places in its annual list of the Top 100 Wines Available for Purchase. This is not news to wine enthusiast around the globe who have enjoyed Portuguese reds for many years.
This interest, in part, was due to the fact that Portuguese reds enjoyed one of the most prominent price/value ratios to be found anywhere. While this still holds true to a great many of Portuguese reds, such incredible success and exposure means this value might not last too long in the future.
Portuguese winemakers have stuck with their traditional wine varietals (Touriga Nacional is the most prominent and highest esteemed grape), which bodes well for the industry. It allows the Portuguese to retain a national identity through their wines, as well as a sense of individualism within the international wine community.
Portugal continues to advance its presence among the world’s top wine-producing countries. It is our pleasure to introduce these amazing wines to our International Wine of the Month Club members!