Quinta de Macedos – Douro Heritage
Quinta de Macedos is a Douro Wine Estate located in the heart of the Rio Torto Valley (a tributary of the Douro). Owner Paul Reynolds bought this 7 hectare vineyard in 1998 and built a new main House, Winery and Wine Lodge which was completed in 2002. Prior to 2000 the grapes from this estate were sold to the large Port Wine Houses but , since 2000, Paul has been making Quinta do Macedos wines at the new winery using only grapes sourced from the estate.
The oldest parts of the vineyard were planted between 1920 and 1945 and the old, low-yielding vines are maintained organically without the use of artificial pesticides or fertilisers. Very steep terraces mean that horse and plough are used to till organic material back into the schistous soil every fourth year. Grape pomace is also returned to the vineyards. The natural wild flowers that cover the terraces are controlled through repeated trimming.
The vineyards are located at between 100m and 200m above sea level and have a variety of aspects facing north, west and east thus giving a broad, complex maturation profile. This varied aspect allows different parcels to be separated and harvested and vinified in small batches when they are deemed ready. This in turn allows Macedos more control of the fermentation process and more control of the final blends.
Quinta de Macedos is undergoing a renewal process which started almost as soon as the new winery was finished and various sections of vineyard have been replanted where vines have died or stopped producing fruit. In keeping with the sustainable and natural approach at Quinta de Macedos, only naturally occurring indigenous yeasts are used. Low levels of sulphur are maintained and the wines are bottled unfiltered.
There are three wines made at Quinta de Macedos, Quinta de Macedos itself, made from the oldest vines (1926), Lagar de Macedos from the younger vines (1946 plantings) and Pinga which is a blend from all the vineyards plus some grapes from neighbouring vineyards.
The total vineyard area is now 10 hectares (2 hectares were planted with traditional Douro grapes in 2000) and there are 16 grape varieties, some 45000 vines, planted on dry stone terraces.
Quinta de Macedos 2005
2005 was another dry vintage at Quinta de Macedos and saw the early maturation of grapes with the berries showing wonderful concentration of flavour and ripeness. The grapes were initially roller crushed and then foot trodden for a total of 20 man hours in granite lagares. The wine is run off, pressed and blended in steel vats for prolonged residual fermentation and malolactic. The wine was then racked into new Allier oak barriques in February 2006 for 22 months. Bottled unfiltered in April 2008 and release to market 10 months later. Production is only 2300 bottles.
Quinta de Macedos shows great balance and freshness with aromas of dark, black fruits (blackcurrant), cedar-y, spicy, dried fruits, prune and garrigue. The palate is bold, well-structured and very complex with more black fruit and spice (pepper) and a good, long finish.
“An intense, very port-like dark, schist-dusted nose heralds a heavyweight wine with a heft of fruit and tannins, velcro tannins at that. While Pinga, the junior wine, is just starting to open up, this remains firmly off limits at the moment. But there’s a magnificence to its uncompromising form and a lively pulse of red and black fruits to come back to once the tannins recede.” Sarah Ahmed, The Wine Detective
Lagar de Macedos 2003
A very hot August 2003 saw the vines shut down until the last week when the weather cooled and the vines came out of dormancy, this meant a relatively late harvest (September 18th) was required to attain good phenolic maturity. The grapes were picked in the cool early morning, into ventilated boxes with a rigorous triage. The grapes were crushed and trodden over 9 days in lagares. Fermentation and malolactic occurs in stainless steel vats over 40 days. The wine is racked into new Allier oak barrels in January 2004 and aged for 15 months. Bottled unfiltered in 2006 with a limited production of just 2000 bottles.
Lagar de Macedos is a full and rich wine. The wine is packed full of ripe black fruits, dried fruit, cedar-y pencil box and balsamic notes. The palate is big and rich but not over-ripe with a good degree of freshness for such a hot year and full tannins, with firm structure and good length. Drink 10 – 15 years from vintage.