Portugal and Field Blends

A few years ago I called Bartholomew Broadbent to ask him about Quinta do Crasto, one of the finest Port houses as well as producer of excellent Portuguese red wine. Bartholomew is like a master som specializing in all wine from Portugal. Here is what he related to me:

The vines of Quinta do Crasto (and most of Portugal’s vineyards) consist of a field blend. Some of their vines are as old as 110 years but most of them date from the early 1900’s. There are about 40 varieties planted at various sites. Back when their vineyard was being planted, the farmers did now know one vine variety from another. When Bartholomew started working in the Port business in 1985 only 28 varieties were known, including 6 white wine producing grapes. DNA testing and Jancis Robinson’s studies on grape varieties lead to the recent discovery of over 100 types in the Douro, possibly 160 at this point.

When Crasto and other producers replant these days, they focus on half a dozen varieties. However, the treasured old vineyards remain field blends and cannot be identified without a lot of research.

Fun facts beyond the wine:

  • Miguel Roquette, owner of Quinta do Crasto, was the first wine personality to be selected as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world by People Magazine. He turned it down so as not to be ridiculed by his friends!
  • Quinta do Crasto has its’ own train station. It is also the only Quinta (winery) featured on the famous blue and white tiles of the Pinhao train station.
  • They are the 7th largest land owners in the Douro.
  • Crasto uses the best cuvees for their own Port and sells the leftovers to Taylor who bottles it under their premium vintage label.
  • It was established as Quinta do Crasto in 1615 but has Roman ruins on the property indicating a history dating back another thousand years.

Qunito 2 

suggested retail: $45.00

Cantina Sociale

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