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

Our sublime Portos: Vintage 2011 and Vintage 2011 Savedra

October 30, 2014
Sublime Vintage 2011

Our sublime Vintage 2011 Savedra

Last week at our Dutch importer Okhuysen’s annual warehouse pre-holiday tasting our 2011 Vintage Porto and 2011 Vintage Porto Savedra attracted serious attention.  For obvious reason: Vintage Port (or Porto) 2011 is considered the best since 20 years by many Port authorities.  Tasters held their glass for a small pour, eyes lit up in delight over the dark purple inky color and upon tasting their eyes gazed upward to the left, a sign of processing information and, in this case, of our Vintage 2011 or Vintage 2011 Savedra’s sublime qualities.

Judging by the intense color in the glass, one knows that the mouth feel will have weight and rich flavor. Blackberry and black cherry jam flavors together with the Douro soil’s schist minerality and rich tannins in the mouth, and native wild rockrose cistus in the nose are the initial descriptors for this young fortified wine. Powerful, complex and gripping, yet with balance and length, these are beautiful Vintage Ports.

Bloomberg’s wine writer Ellin McCoy wrote in 2013 that “collectors whining about Bordeaux prices have an excellent alternative: the 2011 Vintage Ports”.

Highly respected Port expert Mark Squire from The Wine Advocate, wrote recently  about our Vintage Port 2011 Savedra “10% Touriga Nacional together with its old vines field blend (65+ years) … built for the long haul, with concentration and structure (and) beautiful fruit, but also the potential to age well.”  93 points!

Question: when to drink this Vintage?  According to Vincent “enjoy when young after 5 years (2016) to 105 years (2116), avoiding “Vintage Port’s “awkward adolescence” from 10 – 17 years (2021-2028).  Human aging studies point out that we will live longer, up to 120 years, so here is a wine that can accompany your for years to come”.

Oh, that French humor…~

(Français) Vendanges 2014

September 30, 2014
Annual harvest foot treading at Quinta do Tedo

La foulage au pied annuelle à Quinta do Tedo

Des trombes d’eau qui alternent avec de magnifiques journées ensoleillées compliquent la tâche d’une récolte qui a commencé en avance par rapport à la date habituelle du 5 septembre. Même si la région du Douro, au niveau des précipitations et des températures, reste dans la moyenne des 30 dernières années, les mois de juillet et d’août légèrement plus frais ont entraîné un retard de maturation par rapport aux années précédentes.

Inépuisable et dédié Alvaro.

Inépuisable et dédié Alvaro.

Notre fils Joe et son ami d'enfance Peter McElearney au travail!

Notre fils Joe et son ami d’enfance Peter McElearney au travail!

Des sourires dans la pluie.

Des sourires dans la pluie.

Notre fille Odile âgée de 20 ans et moi-même avons ouvert les portes du « Bistro O.K. », capacité 15 couverts, pendant la période des vendanges, sous une pergola dominant la rivière Tedo. Quelle meilleure manière de passer la journée, après un tour du domaine et une dégustation de nos Portos, vins rouges Douro DOC et d’huile d’olive. La cuisine est un mélange de la portugaise, la californienne et la française (qu’attendiez-vous !) et ainsi nos clients sont enchantés de pouvoir déjeuner sur place pendant que les vendanges ont lieu. Peut-être l’offrirons-nous aussi l’année prochaine ?

Opening day at Bistro O.K.
Le jour d’ouverture pour Bistro O.K.
University friend Ariana even got into
Odile, copine d’université Arianna au travail avec guide touristique Monia.
Fantastic view of Tedo while pairing food to our Porto and wine.
Splendide vue sur le Tedo avec un verre de notre Porto – la vie est rose!

Le dernier jour des vendanges est toujours émouvant , quand selon la tradition du Douro, l’équipe des vendangeurs, de la cuisine, et d’autres travailleurs se rassemblent pour une petite fête – beignets faites maison saupoudrées de sucre-cannelle, des bolo – gâteau à l’orange, des bola – pain brioché rempli d’une savoureuse farce, accompagnés bien-sûr d’un verre de Porto Quinta do Tedo. Les employés préparent un chant retraçant la récolte et offrent un bouquet de fleurs aux propriétaires et nous en retour, offrons un ban bourguignon et un pourboire. Quelle merveilleuse tradition pour tous.

Last truckload of grapes ready to go!
Dernière livraison de raisins prêt à aller.
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Cuisiniere Adelaide propose un bouquet de fleurs avec un poème de récolte. 
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Vincent et je les remercie pour leur superbe travail.
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Vive vendanges 2014!

Cumprimentos ~ Kay

 

Harvest 2014

September 30, 2014
Annual harvest foot treading at Quinta do Tedo
Annual harvest foot treading at Quinta do Tedo.

Patches of rainfall interrupting gorgeous days of Douro sun add challenges to a harvest that started ahead of usual 5 September harvest date and ended later on 26 September.  Even though the Douro region remains within the 30-yr average of both precipitation and temperature, slightly cooler July and August resulted in grapes ripening later than in the past several years.  The quality looks very good. This year the landscape has remained greener and no one has heard about the terrible Portuguese wildfires that normally plague the hills during the very hot and dry summer months!

Inexhaustable and dedicated Alvaro.
Inexhaustible and dedicated Alvaro.
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Son Joe and Peter McElearney (childhood friend from Napa Valley) both worked harvest, super hard-working cellar rats.
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Cracking smiles even in the rain!

20 yr-old daughter Odile and I opened doors during the harvest period to a 15-seat “Bistro O.K.” (Bistro Odile and Kay !) under a pergola overlooking our scenic Tedo river.  What better way to spend the day after a tour of our property and a tasting of our ports, Douro DOC red wines and olive oil.  The Portuguese/Californian/French fusion cuisine (what would you expect ?!) was a novidade for the quinta and our guests were thrilled to dine sur place while the harvest was underway.  Perhaps to offer as well next year ?

Opening day at Bistro O.K.

Opening day at Bistro O.K.

University friend Ariana even got into
University friend Arianna working at Bistro O.K., here together with tour guide Monia.
Fantastic view of Tedo while pairing food to our Porto and wine.
Fantastic view of Tedo while pairing food to our Porto and wine.

Harvest’s last day is always touching, when according to Douro tradition,  the harvest crew, cook, and other workers gather for a little party- with homemade cinnamon-sugar dusted fritas, orange cake bolo and savory meat bolas enjoyed  together with, of course, a glass of Quinta do Tedo Porto.  The workers prepare a song recounting the harvest and offer a bouquet of flowers to the owners and Vincent and I sing back to them, and in turn, offer a tip !  What a wonderful tradition for all.

Last truckload of grapes ready to go!

Last truckload of grapes ready to go!

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Cook Adelaide offering bouquet, a Douro tradition.
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Vincent and I returning their song with our song to thank them for their hard work.
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Long live harvest 2014 (with Italian friends Silvia Lastri and Ricardo Soldani).

Cumprimentos!

 

Our core work force at Quinta do Tedo

August 31, 2014

Last month I wrote about rebuilding parts of our 4 km/2.5 miles of dry stone walls that were originally built in the 1800s, with photos of our vineyard workers in action.  Thanks to this team our terraced vineyards stand solid.   These exemplary multi-taskers are the quinta’s backbone and an integral part of our success.  As we are minimally mechanized, because of the sheer steepness of our terraced vineyards, we depend on this workforce – to work the vineyard in the winter months with our horse Tedo and  to ensure throughout the year the best viticultural conditions possible to have an excellent grape quality at harvest and, among other duties, to build and rebuild dry stone walls.  In order to work so hard it is essential that they are provided decent working conditions.

Heading off for break for 9:30 meal.

Heading off for 9:30 meal.

A well-deserved break.

A well-deserved break.

Arriving in the summer at 6 :30 as the sky lightens and the temperature is cool,  they work until 9 :30, come in for a light meal to refuel, head back to the vineyards and return at 1 PM for a hot lunch.  A break follows and then back to the vineyard, finishing around 4 PM.  Long, hot hours under the sun with sweat and fine schist dust; we are indebted to them.

Green bean and potato soup and fried fish…..mmmmm….

Green bean and potato soup and fried fish…mmmmm…

Delicious!

…delicious!

Proud to be a « traditional quinta » we serve hot meals to our workers, thanks to our cook Adelaide’s delicious food.  The morning « snack » includes a delicious soup (Adelaide is a pro at this) and a protein and carbohydrate – grilled sardines,  big slabs of bacon or codfish cakes aka « bolinhos de bacalhau » with potatoes and watered-down wine.  At 1 PM a more substantial meal is prepared, with soup again, meat or fish, potatoes, rice or beans, and homegrown vegetables, all prepared in a myriad of ways.  Adelaide cooks not only for the vineyard workers but also for our winemaking and tasting room/agroturismo teams, and V and me.  One day I will put up a plack outside her kitchen « Adelaide’s Place » – but there are only 24 hours in a day, as I remind myself.

Conviviality is ever so important for all work.

Conviviality and sharing a meal is ever so important for all work.

Harvest starts next month and our vineyard workers swell in number from 6 to around 25, women with more hand dexterity for cutting our delicious and ripe grapes and men to carry the grape-filled baskets down the steep terraces  for loading in our trucks.  The sooner the grapes come in to press the better and our quinta becomes a beehive of activity, to be reported on next month.

(Français) Notre principale force de travail à Quinta do Tedo

August 29, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Français.

(Français) « Un cycle normal du climat » = 3 mois d’hiver et 9 mois d’enfer !

July 30, 2014

Sorry, this entry is only available in Français.

“Weather cycle normal” = 3 months of winter and 9 months of inferno!

July 29, 2014
Parcel Frente da Quinta with thriving Touriga Nacional,   Touriga Franca, Sousão vines.

Parcel Frente da Quinta with thriving 2-year-old Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Sousão vines.

According to winemaker Jorge “weather cycle normal” so far for 2014, as I inquired about the 3 July rainfall of a whopping 4.3 cm/1.75 in when the average for July is 1.2 cm/½ in for the whole month.  Could this support the climatic changes in the Douro region, as in the rest of the world?  Perhaps the extreme rain on this one day, but so far precipitation and temperature are within 30-year average parameters.

Hard work to repair walls.

Hard work to repair walls.

Filling in with smaller rocks for strengthening walls.

Filling in with smaller rocks to strengthen walls.

Our walls average 1 m deep x 2 m high.

Our walls average 1.5 m to 2.5 m high x 1 m deep/5 – 8 ft x 3 ft.

All the same, there are walls to repair; impossible to hold the rain’s hammering intensity on 1 day.  Portuguese tradition says “the more you lose walls the more wine you will make”, at least that is comforting.  Every year there are walls to repair, we have 4 km/2.4 miles total of traditional dry walls on our property of 14 hectares/34 acres, and this is a good time to repair.  The soil is dry and light and consequently easier to work.  The jugs of fresh diluted wine,  nestled in the soil, are always helpful to the workers.

2012 - before planting.

2012 – before planting.

2014 = 2 years after planting.

2014 – 2 years after planting.

The 3.22 hectares/8 acres of replanted vineyards are thriving after the 2012 planting.  Here are photos of  2012 and 2014.  As much as we wanted to maintain the old vines, they were just not producing – due to age and the more rock vs less soil in thèse terraced vineyards.

Tinta Franca - photo taken 20 July

Tinta Franca – photo taken 20 July.

Too early to predict 2014’s quality, the grapes are turning color and are healthy and following the normal ripening phase.  Vincent tells me that according to vigneron tradition “the hidden quality of the coming harvest is always better than the previous one” – is that a Burgundian saying?  Towards the end of August, when we sample on a daily basis for sugar content, is when we can confidently predict the quality of the approaching harvest.

All roads lead to Quinta do Tedo!

All roads lead to Quinta do Tedo!

This marks the first year that I can spend more time at the quinta, instead of a month here and there. I am now an “empty nester”, as my 3 children are off to their post-highschool studies. The Quinta, the Douro region and Portugal continue to captivate me.  Seems to captivate others as well, as evidenced by the visitors at the quinta, enjoying the dramatic beauty and traditions of the Douro and, of course, the quality port, Douro Doc wine and olive oil that Quinta do Tedo produces.

Summertime with Quinta do Tedo Porto Rosé

June 29, 2014

Summer is here and I would like to share 1 cocktail and 1 apéritif with you: refreshing, eye catching and thirst quenching and with our Porto Rosé!

The cocktail Vincent “discovered” while dining at Roka Akor http://www.rokaakor.com/san-francisco/ - a Quinta do Tedo account in San Francisco.  Porto and sake – why not?  By the way, the restaurant was a gem of a find for Vincent in the Bay area and the dishes were presented with honorable aesthetics.

Porto Rose' Cocktail

“Decoding Annie Parker” from Roka Akor in San Francisco

1.5 oz/ 44 ml Eiko Fiji Dry Sake

1.5 oz/44 ml Quinta do Tedo Rosé  Porto

.25 oz/7.5 ml fresh squeezed lemon juice

Mash 2 raspberries with a whole strawberry and simple syrup.

Add Sake and  Quinta do Tedo Porto Rosé

Hand shake with ice cubes and double strain.

Serve in a glass, such as a Riedel Cognac glass.

Bamboo pick with 2 raspberries as garnish.

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This apéritif Vincent devised some time ago.  It is imperative that the Porto Rosé’s temperature is that of a very cold champagne. The addition of  frozen red fruit acts like an ice cube (clever husband Vincent!).

Vincent’s Quinta do Tedo’s Porto Rosé Apéritif

Fill 1/2 full Quinta do Tedo Porto Rosé  in a frozen sugar-rimmed champagne flute.

Add 2 or 3 frozen red fruits (raspberry, strawberry, currant and/or blueberry) in the bottom of the glass to act like an ice cube.

Garnish with a torn piece of a mint leaf, the size of a finger nail.

Discover our cocktails and let us know what you think….

Nos idées sur l’évolution dans la commercialisation du Porto

May 30, 2014

La très complète e-newsletter du Porto et des vins du Douro et Madère For the Love of Port (pour l’amour du Porto) http://www.fortheloveofport.com fait un excellent travail pour la promotion et l’enseignement du vin de Porto et de la vallée du Douro. Au début de cette année, la publication posait la question quant au commerce du porto :

« Nous avons observé beaucoup de changements depuis le passage du millénaire, que prévoyez-vous comme évolution pour la prochaine décade et demie dans la commercialisation du Porto ? »

La réponse des autorités du Porto a été très forte et Vincent a été le porte-parole des réponses émises par la Quinta do Tedo, que je voudrais vous faire partager. Bien que sa réponse ait pris en compte le marché français, elle démontre nos ressentis sur la tendance générale du commerce du Porto et du tourisme dans la vallée du Douro.

« Le premier point est que le Porto, avec une consommation de 40 à 50% dans les pays francophones, perd des parts de marché. D’autres vins doux internationaux à des prix compétitifs ont été introduits et des vins rouges de meilleure qualité pénètrent les pays de l’ancien et du nouveau monde vinicole. Le fort impact des lois de plus en plus sévères sur l’alcool au volant a réduit la consommation et la crise économique a diminué le pouvoir d’achat des individus. Cependant, grâce aux efforts de promotion consentis par le Portugal, le Douro est entrain d’attirer de plus en plus de touristes prenant les vols à bas prix (low-cost) pour atterrir à Oporto, distant du Douro d’une heure et demie en voiture ; de plus les Portugais très hospitaliers sont polyglottes, le Français étant souvent la deuxième langue parlée et les prix pour se loger et se restaurer sont généralement moins chers que dans beaucoup d’autres pays européens. De plus en plus de Français viennent dans le Douro découvrir la qualité de ses vins et du Porto. Les Francophones découvrent d’autres produits que les Ruby et Tawny qu’ils consomment énormément dans leurs pays d’origine, France, Belgique et Luxembourg. Le Porto est un produit unique avec sa propre appellation et la gamme des produits est très diversifiée : Ruby, Tawny, LBV, Vintage etc. La composition du sol et le climat en font certainement un des vins qui peut vieillir plus longtemps que d’autres.

Celui qui n’aurait pas visité le Douro depuis les années 1900, verrait un changement incroyable avec une bien plus importante offre de Portos, vins, hôtels, restaurants, musées et destinations touristiques qui contribuent au développement. L’esprit du Douro est de plus en plus ouvert d’où plus d’hôtels, de restaurants, de locations de voitures, de tours œnologiques internationaux, Great Wine Capitals, etc. l’investissement dans la région et cette dimension internationale toujours en progression verront une progression qualitative du tourisme dans le Douro. Ceci servira l’image internationale du Porto et des vins du Douro, aux cépages spécifiques, comme le Touriga, le Nacional, le Tinta Roriz, le Touriga Franca ayant des caractéristiques uniques qui se suffisent à elles-mêmes, sans avoir à les couper avec du Cabernet Sauvignon et du Merlot pour les rouges, ou du Chardonnay et du Sauvignon blanc pour les blancs. Les particularités de ces cépages portugais produisent grâce à d’excellents œnologues doués de solides bases, beaucoup de produits exceptionnels. Cependant pour accroître sa reconnaissance internationale, celle d’une destination des amoureux du vin, du maintien de la part de marché des vins de desserts et de table, la collaboration des domaines, du gouvernement portugais et des autorités du tourisme n’a jamais eu un rôle aussi important.

Aerial #2 of Quinta

Au confluent des rivières Douro et Tedo, dans une région viticole d’une beauté et d’un dynamisme exceptionnels…

 

Indigenous grapes of excellent quality, at Quinta do Tedo ours are grown according to strict organic guidelines….

…des cépages indigènes d’une excellente qualité sont plantés, à Quinta do Tedo, les nôtres sont cultivés en pur respect des règles biologiques.

 

We await you to discover this unique region...

Nous vous attendons pour découvrir cette région unique…

 

…and to enjoy a glass of Quinta do Tedo.

…et savourer un verre de Quinta do Tedo, le résultat de notre passion chevillée au corps, pour produire du Porto et des vins rouges du Douro d’une exceptionnelle qualité. 

A votre santé !