The Feitoria stone’s mark on Douro Valley history

April 30, 2015
One of Quinta do Tedo's feitoria stone markers.

One of Quinta do Tedo’s feitoria stone markers.

I wrote last month about Quinta do Tedo’s 4.5 km nature trail that proudly includes feitoria stones.  Think feitoria = fattoria = farm, and in Douro Valley a farm means a vineyard.  What is the reason for these stone markers ?

Strong-fisted Marquês de Pombal, responsible for demarcating Douro wine region.

Strong-fisted Marquês de Pombal, responsible for demarcating Douro wine region in 1755.

As a way to solve rampant over-production of wine in 1755, when growing prosperity had led to corruption and wine adulteration, it was decided by the Marquês de Pombal, Prime Minister of Portugal, to establish a demarcated Douro wine region, the 1st official wine region of the world.  Between 1755 and 1761 a rigorous land survey registered all vineyards in the Douro, an official map  and the A – F vineyard classification system were created, that is still used today. 335 feitoria stones, large rectangular granite markers were erected with the word Feitoria and the year chiseled on the face; the best quality wine was made within these boundaries, destined to the export market.  Made of long-lasting granite as opposed to the softer schist so typical of the Douro region, today 103 are still standing and 2 can be found at Quinta do Tedo.

Statue of strong-fisted Marquês de Pombal, at entrance to Peso da Regua - in granite, of course!

Marquês de Pombal statue at entrance to Peso da Regua – in granite, of course!

Typical Douro Valley schist wall - stones are softer and smaller stones keep soil in place.

Typical Douro Valley schist wall – stones are softer and smaller stones keep soil in place.

Another kind of marker - showing how to arrive to Quinta do Tedo

Another kind of marker – showing how to arrive to Quinta do Tedo.

Always time to enjoy a glass of Quinta do Tedo port or Douro DOC wines - cumprimentos!

Always time to enjoy a glass of Quinta do Tedo port or Douro DOC wine – cumprimentos!

(Français) Les bornes en pierre, la Feitoria, l’histoire de la vallée du Douro

April 29, 2015

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(Français) Chemin de randonnée à Quinta do Tedo

March 31, 2015
Une des nombreuses bornes en pierre de schiste qui balisent le long des 4, 5 km/2, 8 miles notre sentier de nature

Une des nombreuses bornes en pierre de schiste qui balisent le long des 4, 5 km/2, 8 miles notre sentier de nature.

Nous sommes fières d’annoncer une nouveauté à Quinta do Tedo : un sentier de pleine nature sur 4, 5 km/2, 8 miles presque terminé ! En fait, pour la commune, ou le chef lieu d’Armarmar, où est située Quinta do Tedo, c’est le premier de la sorte. C’est un chemin de randonnée officiellement reconnu, clairement balisé de bornes en pierre de schiste, qui possède 2 observatoires d’oiseaux, formule idéale pour voir l’oiseau migratoire, mascotte de notre Quinta, « l’oenanthe leucurus » et aussi de nombreux autres oiseaux.

Le sentier longe le Tedo et surplombe les vignobles.

Un sentier parallèle avec des bornes feitoria.

Un sentier parallèle avec des bornes feitoria.

Un chemin parallèle à notre sentier de pleine nature recèle 2 fameuses bornes feitoria (sujet traité dans le blog du mois prochain) implantées dans les années 1700, lorsque le Marquis de Pombal délimita la Vallée du Douro comme la première appellation viticole du monde. Nos invités et visiteurs B&B (Agritourisme) de la Quinta sont les bienvenus pour une randonnée qui les fera suivre la rivière Tedo, serpenter à travers les vignobles et flâner dans la garigue méditerranéenne ; des panonceaux fournissent des informations sur la flore, la faune et notre domaine. En chemin, il peut arriver que vous soyez rejoints par nos chiens qui sont amicaux et qui connaissent la configuration des lieux.

Nos chiens sont des compagnons idéaux pour la randonnée.

Nos chiens sont des compagnons idéaux pour la randonnée.

Pour les amoureux du vin tout comme pour ceux de la nature, quelle meilleure façon de comprendre le « terroir » que de le parcourir à pied. Je suis fière que la Quinta do Tedo contribue à la promotion de la Vallée du Douro, non seulement pour sa richesse viticole mais également pour la beauté de sa nature

De minuscules fougères poussant dans les murs de pierres sèches le long du sentier.

De minuscules fougères poussant dans les murs de pierres sèches le long du sentier.

Euphorbes en fleurs ; fleurs jaunes premiers signes majeurs du printemps.

Euphorbes en fleurs ; fleurs jaunes premiers signes majeurs du printemps.

Le printemps est là.

Le printemps est là.

Pâques est bientôt là – célébrer avec les Portos et les vins Douro DOC de Quinta do Tedo!

Pâques est bientôt là – célébrer avec les Portos et les vins Douro DOC de Quinta do Tedo!

Hiking Trail at Quinta do Tedo

March 30, 2015
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One of many schist markers along our 4.5 km/2.8 mile nature trail.

We are proud to announce an addition to Quinta do Tedo: a 4.5 km/2.8 mile nature trail, almost complete!  In fact, for the Armarmar concelho, or county, where Quinta do Tedo is located, this is the first of its kind.   This is an officially approved trail clearly marked with shist posts, and includes 2 stations for bird watching, a perfect way to view our Quinta’s mascot migratorial bird oenanthe leucurus, in addition to many other birds.

The trail follows the Tedo and climbs in elevation through the vineyards.

The trail follows the Tedo and climbs in elevation through the vineyards.

Alternate route includes feitoria stones.

Alternate route includes feitoria stones.

An alternate route of our nature trail includes 2 famous feitoria stones (to be discussed in next month’s blog), put into place in the 1700s when the Marquis de Pombal demarcated Douro Valley as the first viticultural appellation of the world. Our B&B (agroturismo) guests and visitors to the quinta are welcome to walk the trail, that will follow the Tedo river and meander through the vineyards and traverse the Mediterranean scrub; markers will provide information regarding the flora, fauna and our estate.  While hiking the trail you may be joined by our dogs, they are friendly and know the lay of the land.

Our dogs are perfect companions for the trail.

Our dogs are perfect companions for the trail.

For the wine lover and nature lover alike, what better way to understand the “terroir” than to walk it.  I am proud that Quinta do Tedo is promoting Douro Valley, not only in her viticultural richness but also in her natural beauty.

Ferns growing in vineyard terraced wall

Tiny ferns growing in dry rock walls along the trail.

Euphorbia in bloom; yellow flowers dominates the first sign of Spring.

Euphorbia in bloom; yellow flowers dominates Spring’s first signs.

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

Easter is around the corner - time for Quinta do Tedo port and Douro DOC.

Easter is around the corner – time for Quinta do Tedo port and Douro DOC.

The Douro Valley – Burgundy Connection

February 28, 2015
King Afonso, 1st King of Portugal in the 1100s, from the Duchy of Burgundy lineage.

King Afonso, 1st King of Portugal in the 1100s, from the Duchy of Burgundy lineage.

There is a historic and present day connection between Douro Valley and Burgundy; let me recount the historic connection, according partly to Vincent and partly to legitimate sources.

It was during the Moorish invasion (back in the 1000s) when more muscle was needed to fight, that the Duchy of Burgundy, more powerful at the time than the Kingdom of France, was asked to help Spain.

Sao Pedro das Águias, once a Cistercian monastery in the what is today Douro Valley.

Sao Pedro das Águias, once a Cistercian monastery, in the what is today Douro Valley.

Thanks to Spain’s and the Duchy of Burgundy’s bravura, the Moors were defeated and indebted King Alfonso of Spain strategically gave his daughter, Teresa, in marriage to Henry, the younger son of Henry of Burgundy, (native of Dijon!).  As part of her dowry was included the northwest of Spain that became part of Portugal.  Their son, Afonso I, became the first King of Portugal. The House of Burgundy, or Afonsine Dynasty, ruled the Kingdom of Portugal from 1143-1383, and it was during this time that the region’s vineyards, to include what is today Douro Valley, were further developed by Cistercian monks, most probably Burgundian!

Douro View from Maramalal - Version 3

Douro Valley, UNESCO World Heritage, Quinta do Tedo in the foreground.

The Douro Valley – Burgundy connection surfaces again in this century, with regards to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Douro Valley received UNESCO status in 2001, based on the criteria of human influence on its development over the last 2000 years of winemaking that have shaped it into a terraced, vine-covered, wine-producing destination.  Burgundy awaits UNESCO World Heritage status to be decided in June 2015, with criteria majorly based on the “climats”, or individual vineyard parcels, that differentiate Burgundy from other viticultural regions in the world.  It is the “terroir” that Burgundy is famous for; the differences from one row to the next can be so acute. The area lies roughly between Dijon and Beaune.

In Burgundy the history of climats dates back to the monks at the Cluny and Citeaux Abbeys in the 1000s, who began the culture of vineyard delineation. This is roughly the same time that the Cistercian monks brought their knowledge of the vine to what become Portugal.  Small world, even back then.

Fingers crossed and long live the Douro Valley – Burgundy connection.

(Français) La parenté Vallée du Douro – Bourgogne

February 27, 2015

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(Français) Principaux Salons et Dégustations de l’année 2015

January 29, 2015

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Important 2015 Fairs and Tastings

January 26, 2015

The dead of winter, after the holiday season, is when the quinta is “quiet”. Our 2014 port, wine and olive oil are all resting for further evaluation. Ongoing work in the cellars continues, that never stops. The grapevines are dormant, pruning, burning vineyard debris and manually tilling the soil around the trunk are underway.  The tourist season is very slow, a contrast from the intense “other” 9 months of the year. Days are short, leafless trees allow to see details usually covered up, green ground cover is a pleasant change from the usual brown.  The mind is more reflective, yet plotting out strategy for 2015!

We are proud of our achievements in 2014, especially the prestigious Best of Wine Tourism for Wine Tourism Services www.greatwinecapitals.com, the Gold Medal for our Vintage 2011 at Vinidivio in Dijon, France www.foirededijon.com and the ongoing high ratings and impressive medals for our ports and red wines.  There is always room for improvement.

This year we will be present at the following key tastings:

-Essencia do Vinho: Porto, Portugal 26 Feb  1 March www.essenciadovinhoporto.com/en/

-Prowein: Dusseldorf, Germany from March 15  to 17 www.prowein.com

-Vinitaly: Verona, Italy  from March 22 to  25  www.vinitaly.com/EN

-Vinexpo: Bordeaux, France from June 14 to 18 www.bordeaux.vinexpo.com/en/

Please contact us to set up a visit and tasting if you attend.  As always, we appreciate your preference for Quinta do Tedo.

Here are some winter photos from our property, a lovely time for breathing more deeply.

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Crystal clear winter day.

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Dormant vine.

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Green ground cover a pleasant change from the usual brown.

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Tangerines bursting with flavor.

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Cleaning around each trunk of a parcel planted in 2012.

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To keep the body warm while outside.

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We always find yet another place to plant cabbage!

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We await you at any time of the year~ Kay

Wishes for the holidays

December 22, 2014

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Gold for our Vintage 2011 at Vinidivio – Dijon, France

November 30, 2014
Gold Medal for Quinta do Tedo's Vintage 2011.

Gold Medal for Quinta do Tedo’s Vintage 2011.

Not just because Vincent is Burgundian do I applaude the professional, warm and generous reception of Douro Valley producers at Vinidivio during Dijon’s 84th International Gastronomic Fair, that took place from  30 October to 4 November. Each year a non-French viticultural region is chosen to be at the “table of honor”, and during 5 days we proudly showcased our wines and ports along with 20+/- selected Douro Valley wineries.

Port style differences tasted.

Port style differences tasted.

Tasting the public, private collectors, trade and wine professionals and sharing our knowledge of port style differences, of Douro Valley with her beautiful traditions and dynamic innovations was our grand honneur.  Vinidivio’s additional seminars/group tastings/professional days were well-received  and impressively organized.  Not to mention the apéritifs, dinners, visits to Burgundy’s prestigious wineries and the unforgettable participation at the Paulée de Dijon organized with Douro Valley wineries that created a great sense of camaraderie between the 2 wine regions, such is the wine world!

!st prize Dijon

Awards handed out at la Paulée de Dijon.

Proud to share with you that Quinta do Tedo received the Gold for our Vintage 2011 handed out during the Paulée.  A big thanks to all organizers to include the sommeliers present, especially to Florence Zito and Manuel Cabral.  Merci bien~

NB For a food and wine lover to have “experienced” a gastronomic fair in France with close to 600 exhibitors of véritable French cuisine and wine where I lunched sur place for 5 days is equivalent to having been “at large” in a 5-story candy store for a young child! In addition, the Paulée de Dijon, with over 150 attendants to include Burgundy and Douro Valley wine producers, with bottles of  prestigious wines shared at tables with a pairing menu catered by Michelin-rated group Bernard Loiseau was icing on top of the cake! ~ Kay