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Wine Spectator pays homage to Portugal

The Douro Boys are the standard-bearers

13.07.2015

A group of five highly regarded producers of red, white and port wines from the Douro Valley has campaigned tirelessly since its founding to improve the quality of Portuguese wines, and to spread awareness about them throughout the entire world. The five families (Roquette/Quinta do Crasto, Olazabal/Quinta do Vale Meão, van Zeller/Quinta do Vale D. Maria, Niepoort/Niepoort and Ferreira/Quinta do Vallado) were the first to travel the world in a concerted effort as ambassadors for Portuguese wine.

Douro Boys Logo © Douro Boys

‘The clash of tradition and modernity, amid an amazing array of grape varieties, terroirs and winemaking cultures makes Portugal one of the most dynamic wine-producing nations in the world today’, is how Kim Marcus opened his stirring article in the Wine Spectator (July 31, 2015), in which he described the multifaceted development of Portugal as a wine-producing country. Mr Marcus goes on to declare, ‘The breakout has centered on the Douro River Valley’.

Douro Boys = Douro = Portugal

Among the thirty top-ranked wines from Portugal, twenty-three come from the Douro Valley. Furthermore, six of the top ten were produced by members of the Douro Boys. And wines from Cristiano van Zeller come up with particular frequency in the top rankings (two of the best reds, and the highest rating among the whites).

Kim Marcus writes, with regard to ‘Douro Boy’ Cristiano van Zeller: ‘He has been one of the key players helping to catapult Portugal to the top tier of the world’s red wine hierarchy’.Statements like this, coupled with the Wine Spectator’s ratings, attest to the realised ambitions of these five exceptional producers.

97 Points       Quinta do Vale Meão        Douro 2011
96 Points       Quinta do Crasto               Douro Vinha da Ponte 2012
94 Points       Quinta do Crasto               Douro Reserva Old Vines 2012
94 Points       Quinta Vale D. Maria         Douro Vinha da Francisca 2012
93 Points       Quinta Vale D. Maria         Douro Van Zellers Red 2012
93 Points       Quinta do Noval                 Douro 2011

Douro Boys Christiano van Zeller Tomas Roquette Francisco Olazabal Francisco Ferreira Dirk van der Niepoort 2016 © Jorge Simao
Christiano van Zeller Tomas Roquette Francisco Olazabal Francisco Ferreira Dirk van der Niepoort © Jorge Simao

The Douro Boys: Pioneers & Promoters

Many other top-ranked Portuguese wine estates have close relationships with the Douro Boys. For example, Sandra Tavares (former oenologist at Vale D. Maria) and Jorge Borges (former oenologist at Niepoort) of Wine & Soul are currently vinifying wines in the Douro, as well as in regions Dão and Lisboa. Luis Seabra (former oenologist at Niepoort) is now producing white wines in the Douro and in Vinho Verde. Susana Esteban (formerly the oenologist at Quinta do Crasto) is making her name known for wines from the Alentejo.

The Wine Spectator summarises: ‘The future is now’, and Kim Marcus concludes his report by writing: ‘Friendships have proven to be the ties that bind, helping to build the new wines of Portugal and portending many more exciting bottlings to come’.

Douro Boys Douro Tal ©Douro Boys
The Douro Valley © Niepoort Vinhos

The Douro Boys also subscribe happily to these findings, being aware of the role they play as standard-bearers for their fascinating homeland. The Douro Valley (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a region that’s somewhat difficult to approach – but along with this extraordinarily beautiful – offering other splendid products as well as its wine. The Douro Boys would like to bring the valley’s artisans and producers to centre-stage – and so they are organising an event featuring authentic regional products, the Feira do Douro, on 19–20 September. More than twenty manufacturers will be on hand to present their gourmet comestibles, fruit, vegetables, olive oils, cheeses, sausages, desserts – and much more. Tickets to the Feira (10 €) can now be ordered at feira@douroboys.pt

Feira do Douro

Saturday 19 September 2015 (15.00–20.00) and
Sunday 20 September 2015 (11.00–18.00)

Quinta do Vallado
Vilarinho dos Freires
5050-364 – Peso da Régua | Portugal
GPS: 041º09’44.5’’N 07º45’58.2’’W
T: +351 254 318 081

Contribution toward expenses: 10,00 EUR per person per day; includes a Riedel tasting glass. The event will take place rain or shine!

PICTURES (downloadable)