The Douro Valley, in northern Portugal, is a well-known destination among wine lovers across the world. Though still off the radar of many mainstream oenophiles, being a UNESCO World Heritage Site has helped to bring added visibility to a wine region long sought-after by those in the know.
Douro Valley: Old Vineyards Nestled Between Rivers and Mountains
The Douro wine region is centred along the Douro River, which in Portuguese means “river of gold.” Located in the Trás-os-Montes and Alto Douro, this region has been producing wine for some 2,000 years. Sheltered by mountain ranges and sculpted by the river and its principal tributaries, vineyards here grow in terraces called socalcos or patamares, depending on their structure and technique. They are supported by walls, the more traditional ones made of schistous stone, creating a magnificent stairway to the heavenly vineyards that adorn the Douro Valley slopes with color and texture.
Quinta Vale Dona Maria: The Authentic Douro
In the very heart of the Valley is Quinta Vale Dona Maria. A small quinta, or Douro estate, it has been passed through generations of the same family. This traditional quinta, with typical yellow walls, is located midway up the side of the valley and offers a privileged view over 89 acres of Douro vineyards. From vineyards averaging 80 years old to younger plantings, typical socalcos and patamares, all come together and take advantage of the twists and turns of the slopes that provide perfect exposure.
Each plot has its own story to tell. They communicate Douro’s identity and traditions, and have been capturing the attention of wine lovers across the globe. As Pablo Alvarez of Vega Sicilia says, “No one can imitate your vineyards.”
A Journey Through the History of Wine
The Douro is famous for being the first demarcated wine region in the world and home to one the world’s first luxury drinks, Port wine. It’s natural for a region so deeply connected to the history of wine. It’s a connection experienced in every sip of a Quinta Vale Dona Maria wine, and one that creates something genuine and unique.
Each of these wines come from plots that, due to their specific terroir, create a singular expression of a sense of place. Quinta Vale Dona Maria maintains the traditions and ancestral mastery of regional winemakers by preserving very old vineyards and their original field blends. The vineyards are plowed by horse and the grapes are hand-picked with experience. The wines are trodden by foot in granite lagars, in accordance with the rhythms and chants of ancient times. The pace and rhythm are key, and this traditional technique brings unmatched qualities to the wines.
The Wines That Keep the Essence of Douro
The dramatic landscape is enough to hypnotise anyone who lays eyes in the Douro Valley, but its rich history and long-lasting traditions have produced a cultural landscape of even more outstanding beauty. Nothing reflects this essence more than its wines. Red, white, rosé and the most famous fortified wine in the world, Port wine, make the Douro Valley a paradise for wine in its purest and most refined form. And the among the region’s bottles of liquid history and charm, none have the potential to seduce wine lovers more than Quinta Vale Dona Maria’s wines.
Quinta Vale Dona Maria
The truest expression of the Douro valley, 41 different grape varieties come together here in an old vineyard field blend. Deep, complex, notes of fresh violets elegantly blended together with dark berries and ripe prunes. All the smells and aromas of the deep Douro create a journey waiting to be tasted.
Quinta Vale Dona Maria Vinha da Francisca
A very different expression from the traditional Douro wine, this wine illustrates the promising future of the region—vibrant and fresh—and at the same time reflects a consistency of excellence that Quinta Vale Dona Maria consumers have grown accustomed to, time and again corroborated by the trade and press.
Vale Dona Maria Vinha de Martim
Coming from a very small, old, 2.5 acre vineyard planted more than 80 years ago, this is a typical Douro field blend. Traditional Douro region white grape varieties come together to bring you the best of this terroir with an invigorating freshness and seducing elegance. It’s one of the remaining examples of typical white wines from the Douro.
Quinta Vale Dona Maria Vinha do Rio
The ultimate expression of terroir. Whenever this parcel goes to be vinified, the exuberant smell of fresh berries takes over the winery and it lasts for days. This 80-year-old vineyard is planted to over 29 different grape varieties, and never goes unnoticed. The wines’ power and structure come from proximity to the river, very low yields and the dominance of the Tinta Barroca variety. It’s an adventure to be unlocked by the senses.
The humbling perfection of nature meets the drive and grit of man in the Douro Valley, and Quinta Vale Dona Maria’s wines are the epitome of just that. Uncover this magnetic wine region and feel the true wonders it has to offer. The Douro Valley is just 60 miles from the city of Porto and you can easily reach this paradise by car, train or bus. There’s no excuse not to explore this hidden jewel now that the secret’s out. You can thank us later.
Last Updated: May 8, 2023