Last night we indulged (alongside our customers) into a superb tasting hosted at The Kensington Arms, Redland featuring some fantastic wines from Quinta do Vale Meao.The tasting was presented by Francisco Javier de Olazabal , winemaker at this esteemed estate that sits atop a granite outcrop in the Douro Superior region of Portugal.
We started the evening with a vertical tasting of 3 vintages of the Quinta do Vale Meao , 2002, 2007 and 2012. Jumping 5 years apart , the wines showed not only the potential of aging such beautifully crafted wine but also the minute differences in how the field blends were selected. The 2007 vintage was yours truly’s favourite, showing some great elements of the Douro reds (spicy and minty dark cherry and bramble ) alongside game, leather, pepper and a good solid structure. 2002 was the more developed vintage, showing some exquisite soft tannin and a very vibrant fresh fruit, still a young wine I would say, capable of aging much more. The 2012 was a rich and full bodied , still young vintage that was just peeking through the vibrant tannin and fruit structure.
Following up to the vertical tasting we had a food and wine pairing that featured Meandro Branco, a fresh and juicy white Douro style with 2 distinct vineyards blended, one planted with Arinto and the other with Rabigato. This was paired with a starter of Beetroot Cured Salmon and Salmon Mousse, and it proved to be a great match. The main course of Braised Short Rib, Onion and Carrot was accompanied by 2 different reds , Meandro Tinto, a typical Douro red with a much younger vine in its makeup, showing lots of freshness, red cherry fruit and velvety tannin (this was served slightly chilled) and also Monte Meao, a single vineyard and single grape variety (Touriga National ), style, that was elegant, poised, mineral and full to the brim of the classic dark cherry and mulberry with a hint of mint that Touriga is known for. The eagerly awaited dessert was accompanied by Vale de Meao 2001 Vintage Port, served around the table in a typical portuguese manner, where each participant would pour for themselves and then pass along the bottle/carafe. The Port was a stunner, aromatic, almost juicy but showing some great structure of fruit and spicy tones. A young Vintage port still, that can continue to develop for a couple of decades.
Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the tasting and we wish to thank Francisco, Raymond from RaymondReynolds and all the staff at The Kensington Arms for a wonderful evening !