Unique, award-winning Douro wines
“Our efforts are about innovation. Our wines are about personality, character, excitement, pleasure, fun, reliability, innovation, people, and life.” - Cristiano Van Zeller
A Unique Location
The majority of Quinta Vale D. Maria’s vineyards are located in the Torto river valley of the Cima Corgo. This affluent of the Douro river is sharply curved making the valley unique in terms of its constant changes in sun exposures and altitudes over a small space. The estate’s vineyards face 5 points of the compass (S, SE, SW, E, W) and vary in altitude from 150 to 250 meters. Since 2017, following the merge with Aveleda, 45 hectares in the Douro Superior are added. These grapes are the base fruit for our aged tawny Ports, and for our Rufo and VVV Valleys Douro reds.
Diversity & Tradition
The vineyards of Quinta Vale D. Maria are planted according to centuries’ old, traditional custom. A wide variety of indigenous grapes are co-planted in the same vineyards. The mixture of 41 different varieties creates an impressive diversity of aromas and textures. High density planting is also employed to reduce yields and increase complexity and concentration of flavours.
The vineyards of the estate are principally treated with natural, organic compounds like Seaweed, Great Horsetail, and Stinging Nettle. Horse-drawn ploughs are used through-out the wet winter months. The grapes are hand harvested, and all red wines and Port wines are foot trodden in traditional granite lagares (shallow stone tanks).
A Wintry Hunter’s Stew
Cristiano Van Zeller is an avid hunter, shooting only what he eats. His main prey is small birds. Cristiano’s daughter Francisca recalls regularly seeing him bring in partridges to be plucked and prepared by the cook. The meat was then simmered for many hours in Port wine. Francisca recommends pairing this flavourful dish with Quinta Vale D. Maria Douro red. The rich structure, spicy aromas, and fine tannins of this full-bodied red harmonize perfectly with the succulent partridge.