Grape(s): Touriga Francesa, Touriga Nacional
Localization: Douro, Portugal
Tasting Notes: Elegant and rich, this dark, juicy port has an excellent balance of fruit, acid, sugar, and tannin. Not too sweet, not too big, and all-round easy to drink and enjoy.
The Domain: Quinta do Infantado, based in Pinhão, has been a leader in estate-bottled Ports since 1979. Prior to 1986, the British monopoly on Port required that all exported Ports be sent in bulk to Vila Nova de Gaia, 60 miles west of the Douro Valley, where they were bottled and shipped. This practice effectively prevented small private producers from exporting their wines, since the cost of running an operation in another town was prohibitive for these vineyard owners. In 1986 the laws were changed and Quinta do Infantado, who were already making their own wines, were amongst the first to begin exporting their wines. The estate, run by the brother and sister team of João and Catherine Roseira., is famous for producing ports that are “meio-seco” or medium-dry in style. • Infantado’s wines have more natural alcohol and less sugar than other ports, meaning that less “aguardente” or grape brandy has to be added. The wines are therefore more vinous (still wine-like), more balanced and drier than most ports. • The wines are made exclusively from their own vineyards and are bottled at the estate—every cuvée they produce is from Class A vineyards. • The vineyards (terraced, very steep, with densely packed soil) are worked in traditional methods: all elaboration is done by hand. • The hand-picked grapes ferment long and slowly in lagares (2-foot high stone tanks) and are still foot “trodden”. Less than 2% of Port is still made by this century old, labor-intensive method.