Quinta Vale D. Maria ranks 4th at The Judgement of Hong Kong

The Sovereign Art Foundation organised a blind tasting with French and Portuguese wines based on the famous blind tasting held in Paris in 1976, (now the subject of a hollywood movie called “Bottleshock”) where a panel of top French wine experts rated largely unknown Californian wines higher than France’s best – an event that will forever be remembered for changing the wine world.

On the 24th of May 2011, The Judgement of Hong Kong tasting was held to taste the best of Portugal and the best of France. The judging panel was chaired by Hong Kong’s leading wine critic, Simon Tam, by Charles Curtis MW, head of Asia wine sale’s for Christie’s, by Nigel Bruce, member of The Hong Kong wine society and writer of many wine books, Filipe Santos, the President of Macau’s Wine Society, Paulo Pong from Atalaya Wines and last but not least, the head sommelier from L’Atelier de Joeal Robuchon in Hong Kong, Benoit Allauzen.

With wines flowing around, alot of chattering and a friendly environment, all wines were tasted and scores were given out of 20 – as in the original Paris tasting.

Quinta Vale D. Maria 2007 Douro came in 4th place with Chateau Leoville Barton 2007, and first of all Portuguese wines at the tasting. All scores were very close, particularly the first 6 wines. Details of the ranking may be seen below:

1. Chateau Mouton Rothschild 2007 AND Chateau Lynch Bages 2007: 18.33 points

2. Chateau La Mission Haut Brion 2007: 17.83 points

3. Chateau Latour 2007: 17.75 points

4. Quinta Vale D. Maria 2007 Douro AND Chateau Leoville Barton 2007: 17.67 points

5. Chateau Beychevelle 2007: 17.50 points

6. Quinta da Leda 2007 Douro: 17.00 points

7. Quinta do Noval 2007 Douro: 16.83 points

8. Pintas 2007 Douro: 16.75 points

9. Chryseia 2007 Douro: 16.58 points

10. Batuta (Niepoort) 2007 Douro: 16.33 points

11. Esporão Garrafeira 2007 Alentejo: 16.17 points

This shows a very close result between the top 6 wines. The judges gave the winning wine an average of 18.33 points but the best Portuguese wine, Quinta Vale D. Maria 2007 Douro Red, which ranked fourth place with another wine, received a very close average of 17.67 points from the judges. Even the lowest ranked wine received an average of 16.17 points from each judge attesting to the quality of all the wines tasted.

The tasting showed that Portuguese red wines can compare favourably to 1st class French wines. Portuguese wines have fantastic aging potential and show real depth of flavour and character with unique grape varieties.

These excellent results for Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Red follows and reinforces the wine’s international recognition by the most important wine critics. In fact the scores given by both Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate and The Wine Spectator classify Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Red as one of the best and most consistent wines in the world.

Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro Red Wine Spectator Robert Parker
2001 90 90
2002  —
2003 94 91
2004 92 93
2005 92 92
2006 90 92
2007 93 93
2008 90 93

This event was held in aid of The Sovereign Art Foundation to raise money for programmes in Cambodia, India and other countries where art is used as a form of education and rehabilitation for disadvantaged children.

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Robert Parker awards 95 points and 93 points to our 2008 Douro reds!

Robert Parker awarded 95 points to CV – Curriculum Vitae 2008 Douro red! This is the highest score for all Portuguese wines for the 2008 harvest on Robert Parker’s list.

Quinta Vale D. Maria 2008 Douro red featured also on the top of the list with 93 points.

Below are the notes from RP’s wine critic for Portuguese wines, Mark Squires on CV – Curriculum Vitae:

The 2008 CV is one of this winery’s prestige offerings, not cheap and in short supply usually, which is one reason for the price spike. It is usually one of my favorites, although not always the right bang-for-the-buck choice from Cristiano van Zeller’s team. This year’s version is potentially brilliant, not quite as rich and sexy as the ’07, but perhaps better structured and more ageworthy. I loved the integration of its parts, the steel underlying the velvet, the ripe, full fruit and the balance. It is rich enough –while remaining elegant in the mid-palate, hardly jammy–so that you don’t at first notice the tannic hit and its bright demeanor. Indeed, it is bright and fresh, not even close to jammy. Make no mistake, too, despite the initial hit of fruit—this has a very serious backbone. As always with wines from this vintage, the ultimate proof may really be a decade or so down the road, when I would expect this old vines bottling to show more complexity and elegance as well, but this is an early wine-of-the-vintage candidate. It drank brilliantly the next day, too, still tight and still evolving. If the price tag is a little too rich for your blood, Cristiano’s ’08 Vale D. Maria is a lot cheaper and awfully fine as well. Drink 2013-2030.”

And for Quinta Vale D. Maria Mark Squires wrote:

The 2008 TINTO (QUINTA VALE D. MARIA), a Douro blend, is quite a mouthful. Full and mouthcoating, this powerful wine is a worthy successor to the ’07, bursting with what I call “controlled flavor”—meaning, it is neither candied nor cloying and very much seems like real wine with some character. It still makes you say “this is delicious!” The underlying power lurking here is formidable. The longer it was open, the more powerful it became and it seems like a Vale D. Maria built for the long haul. I imagine debates on the ’07 vs. ’08 will go on for some time and the answer probably will not come until they are both a decade or so down the road. It drank beautifully, and perhaps better, the next day after refrigeration overnight, showing much better balance, and a little more character (although it did not drink as well on Day 2 as its sibling, the CV, reviewed this issue). Although it may be approachable earlier, I’d say it will not likely round into form until about 2014-2015. Drink-2013-2027.”

With our best seasoned greetings to al our friends!

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An idea for a Christmas gift…

A gift for yourself or to offer to others…

Who doesn’t enjoy a delicious wine to match all the mouth-watering dishes carefully confectioned for christmas?

A special assortment edition of CV red and VZ white - in a beautiful wooden box

Have a great start to December!

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Van Zellers & Co. Goes to Hong Kong

Van Zellers and co. at Hong Kong

Joana Pinhão's view of Hong Kong

Our winemaker, Joana Pinhão, visited Hong Kong to present some of our new wines: Van Zellers 2009 white, Van Zellers Rufo 2008 red, Van Zellers Reserve 2008 red, Quinta Vale D. Maria 2002 red and the Quinta Vale D. Maria LBV 2006 Port. For many people, it was the first time that they tried a Portuguese wine and the reactions were extremely encouraging. All our wines were a success!

On the evening of the 3rd of November, the Club Lusitano organised a fantastic dinner. For starters, there was a Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Roll served with Van Zellers 2009 white, followed by a hot appetiser of Portuguese Suckling Pig with Salad accompanied by Van Zellers Rufo 2008 red. The main courses followed with African Chicken with Tomato Rice (served with Van Zellers Reserva 2006 red) and a Pan-fried Sirloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce savoured with a glass of Quinta Vale D. Maria 2002 red. To finish off this succulent meal, a Mixed Portuguese Cheese Platter with Condiment was brought around topped with a sweet glass of Quinta Vale D. Maria LBV 2006 Port.

We thank all our friends at Club Lusitano and our distributors at Saveurs International Ltd. for such a warm welcome! We’re looking forward to return soon.

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Quinta Vale D. Maria – Top 100 Cellars Selection

Quinta Vale D. Maria Tinto

Quinta Vale D. Maria 2007 Red

The team at Quinta Vale D. Maria proudly announces that our 2007 red has been selected by the Wine Enthusiast magazine, in their latest edition (November 2010), as part of their Top 100 Cellars Selection (Cave) list.

This list includes wines that have been rated according to their individuality and ageing potential.


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The Wine harvest 2010 in pictures

Here are some pictures of the harvest… we miss it already!!
Mariana a apanhar uvas no Esteveirão Sul

Wine maker Mariana grape picking at Esteveirão Sul

Selecting grapes

Careful grape selection at the winery


Men led by Sr. João, treading the grapes in a granite lagar

Working late at Quinta Vale D. Maria

Working into the late hours

Oscar and Beatriz

A special selection by Oscar Garrote and Beatriz from Terra D'Uro, Toro, Spain

Cristiano with friends

Cristiano with friends, Luis, Teresa, Filipa and Luis after a delicious lunch

View from the house

Mid-afternoon view from the terrace at the house

That’s all for now!

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A summary of the 2010 Harvest

Our Wine making team at Quinta Vale D. Maria

Our Wine making team at Quinta Vale D. Maria

It’s been a while since this blog has been updated, due to the writer being off on holiday. So to resume the news at Quinta Vale D. Maria, we could not go without summarising this year’s eventful harvest. Every year is a challenge and that is also what makes winemaking so special. And 2010 is certainly a special year. Cristiano’s predictions is that these wines will come out somewhere between those of 2007 and 2008: a balanced acidity, making for elegant and full-bodied wines –  we’re all looking forward to tasting the delicious reds, whites and ports in about two years!

This was a harvest that demanded patience and persistence. It was a long harvest and somewhat irregular, with a few stops in the grape picking. The various grape varieties had different maturation periods and so had to be picked ad different times. The whites are balanced wines, with great acidity and very fruity. Our winemaker, Joana says, “We were very anxious to see the post-fermentation result. It turns out that the reds have beautiful colours, a strong aromatic expression, a wonderful freshness and are very elegant.”

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