“How long will a bottle of Porto last once opened?”

November 30, 2016
Porto line-up at a recent Quinta do Tedo tasting.

Porto line-up at a recent Quinta do Tedo tasting.

“How long will a Porto last once opened?” is a recurring question from our customers.  My answer depends on my subsequent question “What kind of Porto?”

Why? There are 2 main Porto categories – Ruby to include our Ruby, Finest Reserve, LBV and Vintage and Tawny, to include our Fine Tawny, 10 Year and 20 Year Tawny. Ruby Portos are aged in large neutral wooden tanks (exception LBV) to preserve the intense dark red fruit as the name implies, and are  to be enjoyed young or evolved with age (Vintage). Tawny Portos are aged in much smaller neutral wooden casks for many more years to result in an oxidized style, as the name implies, with completely different complexities of nuts and dried fruits, and does not need further bottle aging.  Oxidation is an enemy to any bottle of opened wine, and Porto is no exception. However, the higher levels of alcohol and sugar in the fortified Porto better protects from oxidation once opened.  Tawny, already oxidized from extended aging in wood, lasts even longer once opened.

Here is Quinta do Tedo’s guideline for how long our Portos will last once opened, given that they are recorked and refrigerated.

Fine Tawny, 10 YR Tawny and 20 Yr Tawny: 1 – 2 months. Already with a naturally oxidized and more concentrated style, the younger the Tawny the longer it will stay in the refrigerator after opened.  Is there a reason why Tawny Portos are always the most popular choice on wine/glass program in a restaurant?   Serve slightly chilled.

Ruby: 2 weeks. Our young Ruby, a blend of 3 harvests aged 3 years average in wood, is made from younger and less tannic vines. Best chilled.

Finest Reserve: 3 – 4 weeks. Our “Vintage Character” (aka “Poor Man’s Vintage”) Ruby, selected from older parcels yielding grapes with more complexity, a blend of 3 harvests aged 4 to 6 years in large wood tanks, has firmer tannins and more grip.  Take out of the refrigerator before serving slightly cooler than room temperature.

LBV:  1 – 2 weeks. Husband Vincent refers to as a “good digestive”, aged in 500L pipas for 5 years, larger than traditional barrels, this Porto is a “pre-aged” vintage ready to enjoy. Take out of the refrigerator before serving slightly cooler than room temperature.

Vintage: +1  week. Such a cherished celebratory Porto, to share with another/others, as you would a bottle of a Grand Cru or a wine you have been aging in the cellar for that very special occasion. Take out of the refrigerator before serving slightly cooler than room temperature.

Our experience is the following:  Portos disappear from our refrigerator at a much faster rate.  Let us know if this has been helpful and cheers to the holiday season!

Echantillons à tester

Long live cork!

October 31, 2016
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Slabs of cork off to be made into wine stoppers.

At Quinta do Tedo we use cork for our wine stoppers.  They come from the Quercus suber – aka cork oak, growing in southern Mediterranean countries.  This tree has a uniquely thicker outer layer of bark, made of water-resistant cells, that separate the outer bark from the delicate interior bark.  Rot, fire, temperature and water resistant, the outer cork layer survives temperature fluctuations, frequent droughts and fires and is also a material that ideally stops wine bottles.

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A tree recently “harvested” of the cork layer, at Faia Brava Reserve in Northeastern Portugal.

Harvested by hand using a long-handled hatchet, the cork layer is pried away from the tree and stripped off.  This is done during the time of year when the weather transitions from colder to warmer temperatures – usually between late spring and early summer.  At this time the trees “sweat” and the outer layer can be pried off.

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The tree’s cork was harvested in a previous year; the cork layer is growing back and no longer rust red.

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Each line represents a year of growth.

The thicker the bark the higher the quality the cork.  Stripped of its bark, the slabs of cork are boiled in vats of hot water to soften, and cork stoppers are mechanically punched out.

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An end product – cork wine stoppers.

Portugal produces about 75% of the world’s cork and is completely sustainable, as the cork layer naturally grows back every 8 – 13 years. The majority of cork forests in Portugal are located in the southern Alentejo region.  A much smaller amount of cork trees are found in Douro Valley, to include along river Tedo.  Today cork is fashioned into many design items, as anyone can see when visiting Portugal.  From purses, to shoes and even to underwear (!),  as well as flooring and wall covering that provide effective acoustics, cork provides countless applications.

(Français) Vive le liège!

October 30, 2016
Planches de liège destinées à être transformées en bouchons à vin.

Planches de liège destinées à être transformées en bouchons à vin.

A Quinta do Tedo, nous utilisons des bouchons en liège. Ils proviennent du Quercus subir - chêne-liège – qui pousse dans les pays du sud du bassin méditerranéen.

Cet arbre possède une unique couche d’écorce externe plus épaisse, constituée de cellules résistantes à l’eau qui séparent l’écorce externe de la délicate couche interne. Rouge-feu, résistante à la temperature et à l’eau, la couche externe résiste aux fluctuations de températures, aux fréquentes sécheresses et aux incendies; elle est aussi un matériaux qui bouche idéalement les bouteilles de vin.

Un arbre récemment “démasclé” de sa couche de liège, dans la réserve Faia Brava dans le nord-est du Portugal.

Un arbre récemment “démasclé” de sa couche de liège, dans la réserve Faia Brava dans le nord-est du Portugal.

La levée du liège (démasclage) du tronc de l’arbre, sous forme de planches, est effectuée manuellement à l’aide d’une hache à long manche. Cette opération d’écorchage se déroule à l’époque de l’année pendant laquelle la température se réchauffe, habituellement entre la fin du printemps et le début de l’été. A cette époque, les arbres “transpirent” et la couche externe peut être levée.

Le liège de l’arbre a été levé l’année précédente ; la couche de liège continue sa croissance et perd de sa couleur rouge-rouille.

Le liège de l’arbre a été levé l’année précédente ; la couche de liège continue sa croissance et perd de sa couleur rouge-rouille.

Chaque strie représente une année de croissance.

Chaque strie représente une année de croissance.

Plus la couche est épaisse, meilleure est la qualité du liège. Débarrassées de leur écorce, les planches de liège sont bouillies dans de l’eau chaude afin de ranimer l’élasticité des fibres, et les bouchons de liège sont découpés à la forme mécaniquement.

Un produit fini – bouchons en liège.

Un produit fini – bouchons en liège.

Le Portugal produit environ 75% du liège mondial, entièrement durable, car la couche de liège se reconstitue naturellement tous les 8 à 13 ans. La majorité des suberaies (forêts de chênes-lièges) au Portugal est située dans la partie méridionale de la région Alentejo. Une plus petite partie de chênes-lièges se trouve dans la vallée du Douro, ainsi qu’en bordure de la rivière Tedo.

Aujourd’hui, le liège est façonné en de nombreux objets design, comme chacun peut le voir lors d’une visite au Portugal. Depuis des sacs à main, jusqu’aux chaussures et même des sous-vêtements ! Aussi bien que des revêtements de sol et de paroies qui procurent une isolation phonique, le liège a d’innombrables applications.

(Français) Vendanges 2016!

September 30, 2016

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Harvest 2016!

September 30, 2016

Harvest 2016 ENG

Harvest started later this year, due to late Spring rains with cooler temperatures, resulting in a later fruit set. Even with summer temperatures above average (the hottest July on record!) the harvest started 7 September.  Some parcels, notably Vallongo, were slow to reach the desirable sugar level for picking.  Last lagar was emptied today!  About 30% less in quantity this year, the berries are compact and tasty.  The Quinta becomes a beehive of activity during harvest; grape arrivals throughout the day, the vineyard workers swell in size from 6 to 18 persons to pick the grapes, and for those who work in the cellar sleep is sometimes an after thought, especially when it is time to fortify the fermenting must into Porto!  Visitors to our quinta peak during harvest, keen to watch first hand the steps in port making; there is always a request to participate in foot treading in the late afternoon. Another year of the grape vine’s cycle comes to an end and Port and our Douro DOC red wines are the result!

Picking at sunrise.

Picking at sunrise.

Onward to the next parcel.

Onward to the next parcel.

Preparing to bring grapes down steep terraces.

Preparing to bring grapes down steep terraces.

Grapes bursting with flavor.

Grapes bursting with flavor.

Our dogs are always part of the action.

Our dogs are always part of the action.

Hours of foot treading for optimal extraction, colors and flavor.

Hours of foot treading for optimal extraction, colors and flavor.

Examining Porto:

Examining Porto: “look at those legs”!

Getting ready for Harvest 2016

August 29, 2016
Refractometer sugar readings.

A refractometer measures sugar levels in grapes.

Juice samples to determine sugar, acid and ph levels.

Juice samples to determine sugar, acid and ph levels, indicators of when to start the harvest.

Small, loose clustered Touriga Nacional, conisidered Portugal's finest grape variety - when will the harvest begin?

Small, loose-clustered Touriga Nacional, considered Portugal’s finest grape variety – when will the harvest begin?

Harvest anticipation! Refractometer measurements and juice samples are mandatory as well as a careful eye on the vineyard, as we wait to start.  When the perfect balance between sugar and acid is met, the harvest kicks in.  The shift in weather can already be felt that I associate with harvest time, and the crisp and cooler mornings will soon be the norm.  The fact that July and August were torrid months would lead one to think that the harvest would start earlier, but the cooler-than-normal months of April, May and June result in a week’s delay.  Also, the heavy and consistent rain of April and May promoted a poor fruit set – an average 35% less in the entire Douro Valley region.

Calm today, this area will become a beehive of activity  in September.

Calm today, this area will become a beehive of activity in September.

Wooden macacos will be used to push down the cap during fermentation.

Wooden macacos waiting to punch down the cap during fermentation to add richness and color to the Porto and red wine.

Our harvest at Quinta do Tedo will start the  2nd week of September. Even with the above challenges faced during growing season, the quality looks great; the grapes are healthy, small berries packed with concentrated fruit and very tasty.

Pouring our 10-year Tawny and

Pouring our 10-year Tawny and 20-year Tawny Portos.

Open for business - the added harvest movement adds for first-hand information of how our Portos and Douro DOCs are made.

Open for business as usual – visit us during harvest for “hands-on” information of how our Portos and Douro DOCs are made.  Stock up!

Once again the unique Portuguese grapes with their interesting flavors, deep colors, tannic structure and good acidity will be crafted into beautiful Portos and Douro DOC red wines at Quinta do Tedo.

Our dogs await you!

Our dogs are awaiting harvest, and you.

(Français) Etre prêt pour la récolte 2016

August 28, 2016

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Open for business – Bistro Terrace!

July 29, 2016

We are thrilled to have Bistro Terrace  - our tours and tastings visitors have asked us for years “why not have a little something to pair with Quinta do Tedo Portos and Douro DOC red wines”?!  The idea gained steam when 22-yr-old Odile and 24-yr-old Paolo pushed for the venture, and our doors are open since mid-July!  The dedicated team, with culinary, restaurant and people talents have added a modern and international twist to classic Portuguese dishes - mais bien sûr! Open until the end of September…

Photos to tickle your taste buds…

Bolinhos bacalhau

Bolinhos de bacalhau with piri-piri aioli.

Bacalhau

Bacalhau salad with soft-boiled egg and fried chick peas.

Duck RIce

Arroz de pato – rice with duck – with seared duck magret and apricot puree accent.

Chocolate cake

Flourless chocolate cake with our quinta’s candied orange strips.

Porto Rose on the Rocks

Porto Rosé cocktail – refreshing in the 40 C /100 F heat!

Squadra BT

Bistro Terrace Team – Niko Delios, Odile Bouchard, Marina Budrys, Colin Cronin and Paolo Bouchard.

BT with guests

Fun with customers.

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Overlooking the Douro, a perfect place to come, enjoy and dream.

We await you at Bistro Terrace!

(Français) Ouverture du Bistro Terrace

July 29, 2016

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(Français) Les dernières recompenses de Quinta do Tedo

June 30, 2016

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