Quinta de Pedra Alta, a relatively new project making some lovely wines in Portugal’s Douro

Website: https://www.qpa.pt/

Quinta da Pedra Alta is an interesting wine estate located in the Cima Corgo of the Douro, but it’s not close to the river. Instead, the vineyards are in the higher part of the Douro, and range from 230 and 550 metres in Favaois, near Alijo. There are 35 hectares of vines here, and one of the claims to fame is that this is the only estate in the Douro to have three Feitoria (these were the stones demarcating the region placed by the Marques de Pombal in the late 1750s and early 1760s).

Winemaker João Pires

Table wines have been made here since the early 2000s, but the current project began in 2018 when the Quinta was purchased by Isabelle and Ed Woodward (he was chief executive of Manchester United for a decade until 2022, but I forgive him), and Isabelle has assembled a team including winemaker Matt Gant from the Barossa in Australia (his label is First Drop) and João Pires, who has been making the wines here since 2009. The commercial director is Andy Brown, ex-Liberty Wine, and there is a dedicated website selling the wines directly to the UK (https://qpawines.co.uk/)

The genesis if the current range was a series of wine projects called Prova, a numbered series of wines that were also tasted here. The range is solid all the way through, and gets geunuinely exciting at the top end.


Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Alta Branco 2020 Douro, Portugal
Linear with nice pithy notes, as well as some liqourice and nuts. Citrus and pear fruit dominate, showing nice purity. 89/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Alta Branco 2018 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. 52% Rabigato, 48% Gouveio. This is bright and fruity, with a lovely citrus core and some stony, savoury notes as well as focused, bright fruity characters. There’s nice pear and citrus fruit, but it also has fresh acidity and a mineral, savoury finish. 91/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 5 Branco 2020 Douro, Portugal
Lively, intense and mineral with a juicy quality to the citrus fruit. Taut and compact, with some energy. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Branco Reserva 2019 Douro, Portugal
Fermented in puncheon. This is concentrated and nicely poised with some nuts, spice and citrus. Very refined with well integrated oak. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Reserva Branco 2018 Douro, Portugal
12.5% alcohol. Viosinho in new French oak, Fernao Pires in old French oak, and Rabigato and Gouveio in stainless steel. This is complex and layered with grapefruit and lemon notes, as well as some crystalline character. This reminds me a bit of a very fine white Bordeaux, with well-integrated oak. Such a multidimensional white with really good balance. Finishes with fine spices. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 6 Rosé 2021 Douro, Portugal (tank sample)
Fresh and linear with lovely citrus drive. Has redcurrant and raspberry character too: really lovely focus with a juicy watermelon finish. 90/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Clarete 2020 Douro, Portugal
Tinta Barocca co-fermented with Rabigato, whole bunch, plus Touriga Nacional fermented with pressings of Donzelino. Lighter-style red with supple, juicy cherry and raspberry fruit. Shows good acid and a bit of structure, but also some peachy richness. Lovely balance here. 93/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Alta Tinto 2019 Douro, Portugal
Fresh, juicy, supple and expressive with lovely weight. Juicy and fine showing cherries and plums, with a stony edge. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Tinto 2018 Douro, Portugal
14% alcohol. This is a blend of 42% Touriga Nacional, 31% Touriga Franca, 22% Tinta Barocca and 5% Sousão. It is aromatic with floral black cherry fruit as well as some blackberry and a stony edge, with some gravel and dried herbs. The palate is supple and bright with fresh cherry notes and a grainy structure, finishing dry but with some supple green notes complementing the fruit. 91/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Pedra a Pedra Alta Tinto 2017 Douro, Portugal
50% Touriga Franca, 44% Touriga Nacional, 5% Tinta Barocca, 1% Fernão Pires. 13.5% alcohol. This is a fruit-driven, balanced expression of the Douro with supple black cherry and blackberry fruit. There are some fine herbal notes here with a bit of tarry, tannic grip. There’s a citrus note, with some orange peel and grapefruit pith, as well as juicy red cherry and berry fruits. It’s fresh and quite elegant with massive drinkability. Holds up really well on day two and even improves a little. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Reserva Tinto 2018 Douro, Portugal
Nice concentration here: sweet blackberry and cherry fruit with a bit of spicy structure and well integrated oak. Quite polished with nice fruit concentration. 93/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Reserva Tinto 2017 Douro, Portugal
13.5% alcohol. This is 74% Touriga Nacional, 13% Sousao, 13% Touriga Franca. This shows lovely concentration with dense black cherry and blackberry fruit, as well as some amazing floral overtones. Concentrated and textural with subtle green hints (a Touriga character) with some olive and spice, as well as a touch of tar and spice, as well as sleek black cherry fruit. This is an impressive Douro red, with lots of Touriga character and nice weight and texture. Modern-styled but balanced and delicious. 93/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Rio 2018 Douro, Portugal
This is Touriga Franca grown by the river. Lovely concentration here: ripe fruit with nice weight. Ripe, spice-laden and lush cherry and plum fruit with some blackberry and a stony, mineral undercurrent. Generous and ripe with nice balance and a hint of iodine. 94/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Alto 2018 Douro, Portugal
92% Touriga Nacional, 7% Sousão and 1% Fernão Pires, from a high-up north-facing plot. Concentrated, generous, ripe black cherry and blackcurrant fruit with nice freshness and detail. Grainy structure and a mineral streak present. 95/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Melhor Tinto 2018 Douro, Portugal
Great concentration here: vivid, intense, sweet blackcurrant and black cherry fruit. Massive fruit intensity and good structure. Very stylish. 95/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 5 Tinto 2015 Douro, Portugal
Very supple and fine. Elegant and effortless with juicy red cherry fruit, a hint of pepper, and real restraint. Shows focus and purity. 95/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 4 Tinto 2016 Douro, Portugal
Supple, juicy and linear with nice freshness. Mineral and stony with cherries, plums and good weight and structure. Shows sweet fruit but also superb balance. 94/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 1 Tinto 2015 Douro, Portugal
Floral and expressive with juicy red cherry fruit on the nose. The palate is supple, ripe and linear with some polish and gloss, but also some freshness. 93/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Prova No 3 Tinto 2016 Douro, Portugal
Ripe and sweetly fruited with nice lushness as well as notes of tar, minerals and spice. Pretty black friuits here, finishing strongly. 93/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta White Port Pedra No 3 NV Douro, Portugal
18% alcohol. Nicely packaged in a 500 ml bottle with a Vino-Lok closure. This is a very fresh, pure expression of white Port. It’s bright with nice sweet lemon, pear and melon notes, as well as a touch of waxiness. There’s also some orange peel character, and a touch of almond, too. A really nice example of white Port. 91/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Alta No 10 Ten Year Old Tawny Port NV Douro, Portugal
19.5% alcohol. Nicely packaged in a modern bottle, this is sweet, soft and mellow with raisin, red cherry and strawberry fruit as well as some melon notes. Sweet and generous with nice depth, and some woody complexity on the finish. An elegant style. 92/100

Quinta da Pedra Alta Vintage Port 2018 Douro, Portugal
Very ripe fruit style that’s rich and berryish with the focus on sweet fruit. Pure and appealing. 92/100

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