Dry wines from the Douro Valley of Portugal are certainly not a new notion. Although in the 1950s, the idea of making any wine in the region other than traditional Port was. Remarkably, it’s been nearly 65 years since the venerable Port lodge of Ferreira released the first table wine from local grape varieties without added grape spirit. For many decades that wine, Barca Velha, was both a pioneering step and a solitary outlier, as it wouldn’t be until the ’90s that other great Port houses in the Douro would embrace the production of unfortified table wines in earnest.
Nowadays it is the concept of not making high-quality dry wines for everyday enjoyment that would seem foreign. Virtually all of the major lodges and boutique quintas deliver wines that can be paired throughout the whole meal versus just dessert; wines that are worthy of praise and are expressive of the Douro’s indigenous varietals and diverse terroir.
Quinta das Tecedeiras is located in the prime Cima Corgo sub-region along the banks of the Douro River, just upstream from the historic town of Pinhão. The estate is a recent purchase for owners Tony Smith and Marcelo Lima who also own Quinta de Covela. The pair oversees 67 hectares of vineyards planted to native varieties Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Amarela, Tinta Barroca and Tinto Roriz. Much of the vineyards at the estate are old-vine, with plantings exceeding 80 years of age.
Tecedeiras means “weavers” and refers to the nuns from São Pedro das Águias Convent who weaved local flax into linen.
Flor das Tecedeiras ($17) is a full-bodied red comprised of all five of the estate’s native grapes. Head winemaker Carlos Lucas ages the wine for 10 months in oak resulting in a heady bouquet of crushed raspberries with hints of violet. Displaying ample black plum, damson fruit and mineral on the palate, it’s very approachable now, especially with grilled meats. The wine’s round, ripe tannins should allow for further development and the wine should gain complexity with short-term cellaring.
Jim Greeley, Wine & Spirits Supervisor, SW Florida
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