QUINTA DAS CARVALHAS

 

DOURO VALLEY, PORTUGAL

 

 

If you love Port as much as we do, get ready for Christmas morning. If you're not (yet), this is the time to take the plunge. I'm bringing you five of the best Ports you can find in the world right now.

 

All hail from Quinta das Carvalhas, flagship estate of one of Portugal's oldest wine companies, Real Companhia Velha, and arguably its most distinguished. Consider: its Douro Valley vineyards were established before the U.S. was born—1759—and the company has been producing Port, without interruption, since Mozart was composing his masterworks.

 

And these vineyards are more than mere legacy plots; the vines, some more than 100 years old, stretch in perfect rows across steeply banked terraces, making for some of the most striking—and vertiginous—vistas in the world of wine. 

 

It’s an enduring truth of winemaking that the more difficult the growing conditions, the better the grapes, and this steep and rocky elevation—together with the long, uninterrupted days of dry heat that marks the Douro in season—is vital to the quality of these Ports, stressing the grapes and concentrating their essence. After picking, production on the estate follows a methodical, time-honored tradition: the grapes are de-stemmed, crushed by foot, fermented in traditional cement lagares, and aged in oak.

 

In these fortified wines, you will find all the beauty, character, and history of a singular place crystalized into a luxurious drinking experience. 

 

Here’s Wine Spectator, in a 94-point rave about the 2000 Colheita: "This combines cherry and peach, green and white tea notes, for an alluring contrast throughout, with a succulent date note along the edges that is offset in turn by a racy hazelnut spine on the finish." It was equally enthusiastic about the Colheita 2002, writing: "Alluring, with dark tea and walnut notes leading off that suggest it will be rustic, but the texture is sublime and the notes of toffee, toasted black sesame, buckwheat and roasted plum are lovely. Long, seductive finish has a curl of woodsmoke around it."

 

With the trio of tawny Ports, the older the year, the deeper and more complex the pleasures. Wine Enthusiast awarded the 20-year Tawny 94 points, noting that it was "at the perfect moment of aging...smoothly textured and rich in dried fruits that are balanced by wood and spice flavors." Of the 30-year Tawny, Wine Spectator relished the richer character on offer, writing that it was "broad and welcoming in feel, with toasted sesame, warmed pistachio, membrillo and baklava notes rolling through in waves, backed by a long, date-filled finish." Last, but certainly not least—the granddaddy of the five, the 40-year Tawny, which Wine Enthusiast called a "stunner," astutely noting the "core of date, cherry, fig and peach flavors that are by turns youthfully vibrant and gently mulled, while notes of green tea, persimmon and bergamot skitter about. A live wire of acidity pierces through, with a hint of ginger ganache echoing at the very end."

 

The cooler months are coming. Stock up now, and, ahem, fortify yourself for the dark, barren days of winter.

 

 

*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Fall 2021. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in MI, NY, or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Monday, September 13, 2021.