Quinta do Zimbro

Revisiting Portugal's Douro Valley, part 3


Zimbro is a beautiful – if as yet unfinished project – based in Portugal's Douro region. I visited with Ana Hespanhol.

ana hespanhol
Ana Hespanhol

Her father, Manuel Pinto Hespanhol, bought the quinta in 2003, and also a large 2000 ton winery in Regua. In 2015 he died, and she has scaled the operation back to focus on just making estate wines from Zimbro. She now shares the large winery with other small producers.

Ana was born in Regua and originally studied economics, moving back to the Douro in 2011. She's moving towards working organically in the vineyards, and production has been scaled back to 35 000 bottles.

A short video with Ana explaining the project:

Her grandfather, father and uncle had a wine brand that was important in the 1990s, called Calços de Tanha which they made near Regua in an old winery with granite lagares. They decided to grow the quantity at just the wrong time, in 2007 before the financial crash.

As well as making the Zimbro wines, Ana is also involved in a micronegociant project called Grau Baumé with her partner Hugo Mateus and her sister. This began in 2008.

We spent some time looking around the Quinta. Its buildings are in need of repairing, and she's looking to start a crowd funding project to help with this. The main job is fixing the roof. It's a really nice property and it will be lovely once it is finished.


Grau Baumé Viosinho 2016 Douro, Portugal
14.5% alcohol. Very fresh and linear but with nice pear, citrus and spice flavours. Lively with a little warmth from the alcohol. Has a nice mineral dimension. 90/100

Grau Baumé Viosinho 2017 Douro, Portugal (barrel sample)
Lovely bright citrus an pear fruit with nice freshness and subtle fine herby notes. Steely and focused but with nice fruit too. 92/100

Zimbro Branco Reserva 2010 Douro, Portugal
Grapes from Murça. Five varieties: Gouveio, Malvasina, Codega, Rabigato and Cercial. Some nut and toast notes with subtle cabbage and herbs. Developing nicely into a savoury maturity. 90/100

Grau Baumé Rosé 2017 Douro, Portugal
From one barrel, 400 bottles. Very pale with just a hint of salmon. Nicely savoury with some citrus and pear characters. Linear, fresh and a bit stony. 90/100

Quinta do Zimbro 2013 Douro, Portugal
Made from Quinta-grown grapes. Spends 9 months in used barrels, a mix of French and American. Sweet, floral and attractive with chocolate hints on the berry fruits nose. This is fresh, pure and direct with nice vivid black cherry fruit and fine spiciness. 91/100

Quinta do Zimbro 5 Marias 2014 Douro, Portugal
The five sisters, Ana included, all have Maria in their names. This is supple, fresh and attractive with a grainy, chalky edge to the supple cherry and berry fruits. There's a nice savoury twist to the appealing fruit, as well as an attractive mineral dimension. Carries its 15% alcohol well. 91/100

Quinta do Zimbro Grande Reserva 2009 Douro, Portugal
Sweetly aromatic on the nose with a savoury, slightly earthy, spicy underpinning. This is juicy and supple with a grainy, savoury twist to the sleek black fruits and it is maturing well. 92/100

Grau Baumé 2014 Douro, Portugal
Made with Zimbro grapes. Aged 24 months in barrel in a mix of French and American oak, 14.5% alcohol. Sweetly aromatic with some vanilla oak meshing well with floral cherry fruit. The palate is opulent with spicy oak and some richness, yet there's also a bit of restraint. Needs time to absorb the oak. 91/100

Quinta do Zimbro 2015 Douro, Portugal
Fresh, vivid floral nose with bright berry and cherry fruit, as well as some woody, spicy notes. Supple direct palate with nice grainy structure and sleek berry fruits. Chunky and direct with good structure. 92/100

Calços de Tanha 2014 Douro, Portugal
Retails at just €6.5. From the Baixo Corgo. Fresh, floral and supple with nice pure raspberry and cherry fruit with good acidity and some direct fruitiness. Juicy, lively and delicious. 89/100

Calços de Tanha 2008 Douro, Portugal
Light herbal and fresh with floral overtones and nice cherry and berry fruits. Has hints of tar and high acidity. Lean and spicy. 87/100

Calços de Tanha 2005 Douro, Portugal
Juicy and a bit herby with nice subtle herb and earth notes. Showing some development with nice acidity and some savoury characters. 89/100

See also:

Part 1, Quinta do Infantado
Part 2, Bago de Touriga
Part 3, Quinta do Zimrbo

Wines tasted 02/18  
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