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The Douro wine revolution
Part 9: Quinta do Infantado

5085-217 Covas de Douro, Portugal
Phone: +351 254 738 020 Fax: +351 254 731 586

After touring the vineyards at Crasto, and visiting Quinta do Vale D. Maria and Quinta do Vallado, I was pretty tired as I checked into my room at the wonderful Casa do Visconde de Chanceleiros.  It was already past seven, but faced with the choice of another winery visit, or a nice relaxing meal, what would you do? It's obvious -- the winery visit wins hands down. I leapt at the opportunity to visit Quinta do Infantado, and so Joćo Roseira picked me up and drove me the short distance to the winery in Covas de Douro. 

Infantado has a traditional, almost run down appearance, with lots of ancient barrels, but the Ports produced here are impressive. Joćo, and his winemaker Luis Soares Duarte, also produce a range of table wines under the Bago de Touriga name, but these are not made here. Joćo is currently hard at work developing a visitor centre at the winery so that he can offer a cellar door facility to tourists. This is still relatively rare in the Douro.  

Joćo thinks that it's important to make the full range of ports in lagares, not just the vintage. They give elegance, which he claims that tanks can never give. In lagares there's a very high ratio of skins to must, but you do need a lot of people to tread them regularly or else you don't get the advantage. At Infantado the brandy addition is a partial process that takes place in the lagar. In the absence of any cooling, doing it bit by bit prevents the temperature rising and damaging the fruit. It also causes the yeast to work more slowly and facilitates an enhanced extraction from the skins. 

Joćo Roseira

Joćo very kindly invited me to his home for dinner. While he cooked, I worked my way through several wines that he had opened, taking notes of course (for a full write up of the Bago de Touriga wines, you'll have to wait for the write-up of the grand Douro tasting and dinner in Chanceleiros). I was very impressed by the 1999 Infantado Vintage port, which recently came joint first in a blind tasting of 1999 ports put on by Portugal's leading wine magazine.

Bago de Touriga Montevalle 1999, Douro
10 000 bottles of Montevalle are made. 84% is fermented in stainless steel, 16% in lagar, and it spends 12 months in Portuguese, French or Russian oak barrels. Very deep purple/black colour. Savoury, spicy nose. Palate is firm with a dense herbal character, spicy, dusty tannins and good acidity. Tight and concentrated, with just a hint of rusticity. Very good+

Inside the winery

Chāteau de Tours Reserve 1999, Cōtes du Rhōne
Lovely savoury spicy palate with dusty, firm tannins and some warm southern character. The nose is a little closed. A very savoury, authentic style of wine -- even a little old fashioned. Lovely structure and mouthfeel. Very good/excellent

Vinha do Fojo 1996, Douro
This is the second wine of Fojo, an estate that became famous for the staggeringly high prices it asked for its first release (the 1996). This wine is a deep red/black colour and has quite an open herby nose with black fruits and a tarry edge. The palate is quite herby and savoury with firm tannins and a spicy finish. A nice food wine. Very good+ 

Bago de Touriga Gouvyas 1999, Douro
From vineyards in the Cima and Baixa Corgo, and matured in French and Portuguese oak. Savoury, spicy nose is a little shy. Palate is taut, dense, concentrated and spicy. There's lots of savoury character here, and dry, grippy tannins with high acidity. It's almost austere, but is a lovely food wine. Very savoury and firm in style. Very good/excellent

Quinta do Infantado Vintage Port 1999
Deep red/black colour. Intense spicy, herby nose with complex liquorice and caramel notes. Wonderfully focused vivid spicy/herby palate showing lots of savoury, spicy, tannic structure. This is superbly structured, although there's something a little unusual about the nose: a lifted, almost minty note. Lots of potential here for development. Very good/excellent