and Quinta da Roêda
Visiting the one of the leading Port companies in the beautiful
Douro region of Portugal, part 4
Taylor, Fladgate & Yeatman group purchased Croft and Delaforce
together in 2001. Croft owns the spectacular Quinta da Roêda,
located in the Cima Corgo a short distance from Pinhão. It’s a
sizeable 80 hectare property in a prime location, but a lot of work
has taken place in the last decade to renovate the rather run-down
visited this impressive vineyard, just up river from Pinhão, with
viticulturalist Antonio Maghaeles (above), who is responsible
for all the farms and dealing with all the growers (72 of them).
Antonio works closely with David Guimaerens, who is the head
winemaker. In all, there are five winemakers in the Taylor group.
old part of the vineyard at Roêda has 70 year old vines. Antonio
explained that 40% of all the Douro is planted with Touriga Francesa
(aka Touriga Franca), but this isn’t an old variety. Before
phylloxera, the two most important varieties in the Douro were
Touriga (just plain Touriga, not T. Nacional) and Mourisco. These
two were crossed to get T. Francesa.
vines with big yellowish leaves are Tinto Cão. This is less than 5%
of all vineyards in the Douro, but it’s important in blends, with
its high acidity. Just a small amount is needed, but it’s vital in
a hot harvest. This variety will become more important with climate
change because it resists heat well and doesn’t stress with direct
Barocca is 5–8% of the blend. It ripens early and is well adapted
to heat stress and dry conditions.
Roriz has very low tolerance to disease, so it is planted in more
windy spots. Apart from this, it’s easy to work with.
very little Touriga Nacional in the old vineyards (there’s
actually relatively little of it in the Douro overall, you may be
surprised to learn). It’s very hard to work with. Winemakers love
it but viticulturalists hate it.
well as the old vineyards, Roêda has new vineyards, and Antonio
explained that there are two methods for planting new vineyards:
vertical planting, and narrow terraces. In mountain conditions it is
very important to protect against erosion, so they seed with a grass
cover crop. Vertical planting is used when the slope is less than 35°.
the slope is steeper, the terraces are used. These are carved out by
bulldozers using a laser guidance system so that the slope is
exactly 3°. This allows natural run-off of rain and protects
against erosion. These terraces are less than 2.5 m wide, and are
planted with just a single row of vines. This allows mechanical weed
control, something that is not possible with the patamares that have
two rows in each terrace.
Pink NV Vivid pink colour. Some spiciness on the sweet fruity nose. The
palate is rich and full, sweet and spicy with nice strawberry fruit.
Delicious but odd. 86/100
Distinction NV Soft, sweet and spicy with vibrant fruit. Quite rich and
10 Year Old Tawny Attractive warmly spiced nose. Nice cedary, spicy complexity.
Really satisfying and quite complex. 88/100
Quinta do Roêda 1997 Very warm cedary, spicy nose is quite evolved. The palate is
soft, herby and spicy. Nice. 89/100
Quinta do Roêda 2005 Vibrant colour. Very fruity, floral nose with a spicy edge.
Deliciously vibrant fruit here. Aromatic, floral and focused. 91/100
Vintage Port 2003 Concentrated. Lovely bright fruit here with a cedary edge. Lush,
smooth fruit with a herby, spicy, evolved undercurrent and good
structure. Starting to show some more tertiary notes. 91/100
Vintage Port 2007 Lovely floral aromatics to the fruit. Vibrant and intense. Quite
forward. The palate is brightly fruited and focused with some
earthy, spicy structure. Quite attractive. 92/100