Visiting Quinta do Infantado: a leading producer of Port and table wines from Portugal’s Douro


I first visited Quinta do Infantado 20 years ago, in May 2002 when I toured the Douro for the first time, visiting producers who were making table wines. The table wine revolution had just begun then, and Infantado were making some really nice wines.

João Roseira, Quints do Infantado

This is a family-owned Quinta dating back to 1816, and Infantado were famous for being the first quinta to bottle Port wines in the Douro region in 1979, rather than sending the wine to Vila Nova de Gaia. Until 1986 when the laws changed, Port producers weren’t allowed to export wine that didn’t go through Gaia, which created a financial hurdle that ended up keeping small players out of the game. So for a number of years, Infantado made Ports and sold them domestically, before they were allowed to export. Infantado were also among the first in the region to farm organically, starting back in 1990.

Old schist dry-stone walls are found throughout the region

Infantado are based in a privileged part of the valley, in Covas de Douro in the Cima Corgo, not far from Pinhão. They have 46 hectares of vineyards, and farm 12 of these organically. I visited some of the old vineyards with João Roseira, who has been running things here for a long time – I had dinner at his home in Covas back on my first visit.

Later, we were joined by João’s cousing Álvaro Roseira, who is in charge of winemaking. He began in 2015, and in 2019 he began making white wines, to accompany the reds, including a skin-fermented ‘curtimento’.

Álvaro and João

Recently they have started a negociant arm, with the wines bottled Infantado as opposed to Quinta do Infantado.

The Ports are aged in the old cellar, which is quite beautiful, and even has some resident bats. Usually about 60% of the Infantado production is Port.

Infantado Junior Pet Nat 2021 Douro
‘We like the idea of one fermentation with adding nothing,’ says Joao. However, this is disgorged because they didn’t want the debut to be too funky. Grapes are from altitude from the Douro superior. Very lively and textural with bold, slightly pithy pear, peach and melon note with a lovely emphasis on the fruit. It’s juicy and focused with nice depth and a dry finish. 90/100

Infantado Junior Rabigato 2021 Douro (tank sample)
Rabigato is one of the varieties that can reach phenolic ripeness and hold its acidity. Most of this is from Foz Coa with 13.7% alcohol and pH 3.3. Stainless steel fermentation. It’s really vital and fresh with nice acidity and a lemony core. Very powerful with a saline twist and some pithiness. This is linear and stony with lovely acidity. Potentially serious. 92-94/100

Infantado Branco 2020 Douro
14.5% alcohol. Field blend, from Baixo Corgo. This is stony and quite mineral with a savoury, mineral edge to the citrus fruit, as well as some pithiness. Really distinctive with this stony, slightly attenuated character. 88/100

Quinta do Infantado Branco de Curtimenta 2019 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. Viosinho, Rabigato and Gouveio, co-planted and cofermented. This was made in two small lagares, with skin fermentation for 12-13 days, with gentle hand work. Debut vintage. When fermentation finished it was pressed to 700 litre tank and then bottles. Complex, fresh and detailed with lovely orange peel and lime notes, as well as a touch of honey and mint. There’s a real sense of freshness here with some grippy tannins that don’t intrude too much. A good starting point: it has some richness but there’s also restraint. 91/100

Infantado Junior Palhete 2021 Douro, Portugal
The law is that you can use the name Palhete if you co-ferment 0-15% white grapes with red. This is made from red and white grapes fermented together from a high-altitude 40 year old vineyard. Destemmed. Pink/red colour. This is beautiful textured with sweet red cherries and plums, and some strawberry fruit. It’s so sweet (but there’s no sugar) with freshness and elegance, and just a little tannic bite. Very impressive for a debut. 91/100

Quinta do Infantado Organic (Green Label) 2016 Douro, Portugal
12% alcohol. Vineyard planted in Covas in 1998, and a part of it is a field blend. It faces slightly north and doesn’t have all that much schist. It’s harvested late and has low alcohol. Lovely aromatics here: black cherries, some dried herbs, floral notes, some fine green hints and a touch of blackcurrant. The palate is fresh and fruit driven with nice acidity, as well as some salty hints, a twist of nice green, and some drying tannins. The fruit is all still there. This is a distinctive, fresh expression of the Douro, low in alcohol but not lacking flavour. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Organic (Green Label) 2017 Douro, Portugal
This has freshness with sweet cherry and blackberry fruit, as well as some drying tannins. It’s quite spicy and dusty on the palate with some firmness to the tannins, but also fresh cherry and blackberry fruit. Lovely fruit definition and finishes bright, with a savoury twist. 92/100

Quinta do Infantado 2017 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. A blend of different vineyards. This is ripe, floral and beautifully defined with fresh black cherry and blackberry fruit, showing some grip but also lovely flesh to the fruit. This has some grip and finishes dry, showing lovely concentration of black fruits. So supple: this really tastes of the Douro, with ripe fruit but also a touch of wildness. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Reserva 2016 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. Powerful and intense with great concentration of sweet blackcurrant, blackberry and cherry fruit. There’s a wall of tannin here, but it’s sitting beautifully with the sweet black fruits and good acidity. There’s a drying, savoury edge to the sweet fruit: has weight, flesh and power, with a touch of nice bitterness on the finish. Combines density with finesse. 95/100

Roseira 2013 Douro, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. Touriga Nacional and Touriga Francesa (aka Franca) from a vineyard planted in 1987. The idea here was to make a wine that was more modern. Now at almost 9 years old this has lost its violet aromatics, but has nice freshness and balance with direct black fruits as well as some green hints and a bit of savoury grip. This shows bright raspberry and blackberry fruit with some crunch and also some wild Mediterranean herb notes. 91/100

Roseira 2015 Douro, Portugal
This will be the next release. Supple, bright and taut with some good acidity and bright cherry and plum fruit with some raspberry. There’s a touch of mint too, and a juicy citrus edge. Some raspberry notes, too. Lean and direct, and a little stern at the moment, but really good. 92/100

Quinta do Infantado White Port NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. Wonderful golden bronze colour. An orange wine! It’s fermented in lagar on skins. Lovely aromatics. Grapes, honey, barley sugar and almond. The palate is powerful and not overly sweet (44 g/l rs) with some richness from the alcohol and notes of almonds, pear, apricot and honey. Really lovely. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Ruby Reserva Organic NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. Beautiful sweet black fruits here: pure, luscious and sweet, but not overly so (just 44 g/l rs, less than half of normal), with some marzipan and black cherry and blackberry, with a slight salty edge. This has a sort of dryness on the finish and some structure that really works well. So lovely. This is so impressive. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Late Bottled Vintage Unfiltered 2015 Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. Bottled in 2019. The soul of this wine is an old north-facing vineyard. Lovely complexity on the nose with notes of leather, herbs, sweet black cherries and lanolin. The palate is fresh and supple with sweet black fruits, a touch of plum, and even some mint. It’s lush and fruit driven with good structure. Drier in style (65 g/l rs) with some freshness and fruit purity. Very expressive. 94/100

‘To make vintage you need concentration, but you don’t need overripe grapes,’ says Álvaro. ‘They make wines that are impressive but which then fall apart. They turn to fig aromas and lose the freshness.’

Quinta do Infantado Vintage Port 2014 Douro, Portugal
Complex and taut with a savoury, mineral, peppery edge to the structured berry and black fruits. This was a perfect vintage until it started to rain: the vintage Port was harvested after just a little rain, but it carried on and this is the only wine they bottled from that year. It shows great concentration and also lovely freshness, with good structure to the fresh cherry and plum notes. Brooding and expressive with nice freshness and purity. Grippy on the finish. 94/100

Quinta do Infantado Vintage Port 2016 Douro, Portugal
Amazing aromatics here: so floral and fresh with lovely red cherries, some dried herbs, fine green notes and heady violet characters. The palate has lovely flesh and freshness with juicy cherry and plum notes, with a bit of grip, and a sense of elegance. But there’s also concentration. Still has amazing freshness, and the tannins are approachable. 96/100

Quinta do Infantado Vintage Port 2017 Douro, Portugal
Driest vintage ever with 56 g/l rs. They could write ‘Dry’ on the label, legally! This has a floral black fruits nose with some dusty hints, and a slightly rusted edge. This has a lush sweet palate with berry fruits, some cherry, and then some firm, dry tannins. It’s really distinctive with a dry, dusty mouthfeel, but you feel the sweetness on the finish. Shows a lot of concentration but needs time to settle down, with the dryness and savouriness quite distinct now. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Vintage Port 2020 Douro, Portugal
79 g/l rs. Great concentration and intensity here: this is powerful but fresh with a nice green edge to the sweet black cherry and blackberry fruit. It’s really floral but there are also some cured meat notes here and also a hint of coffee, but the main thread is really sweet, fresh black cherry fruit with a slight saltiness on the finish. Superb stuff with a long life ahead of it. 95/100

Quinta do Infantado Tawny Reserva Organic NV Douro, Portugal
2012 and 2013, bottled in 2020. Concentrated, rich and spicy with some raisin and old furniture notes as well as nice sweetness (again, not too much) as well as some fine spiciness, finishing long, spicy and sweet. Really impressive with nice intensity. 93/100

Quinta do Infantado Tawny Reserva Organic NV Douro, Portugal
This the new version, which is waiting for approval. It’s mainly 2014 and 2015, but some of the wines were pre-blended with older vintages in the mix. Fresh, supple, elegant and sweetly fruited with some raisin and herb notes as well as a touch of red cherry. Has nice freshness and complexity. 94/100

Quinta do Infantado 10 Years Old Tawny NV Douro, Portugal
This is fresh and quite exotic with some raisin and marmalade character as well as some dried herbs and wood spice. Complex and rich with lovely elegance and focus, as well as a bit of grunt. 94/100

Quinta do Infantado Colheita 2011 Douro, Portugal
Lovely freshness here: mint and spice with a hint of pepper with some berry fruits. The palate is bright and vivid with nice intensity, showing some grip and density. This is lovely. 94/100

Quinta do Infantado 20 Years Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
Very rich, warm and spicy with some raisiny richness and great concentration, with some toffee and plum notes, as well as some old cask character. Broad and expansive, with nice complexity, in a very rich style. Long warm finish. 94/100

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See also: visiting Folios de Baco, a natural wine producer in the Douro