After three very dry years, the Douro had an absolute deluge during the winter of 2009/2010 . Near perfect weather throughout the harvest. Some excellent quinta vintage ports were bottled in 2010.
It appears at this early stage (some tanks are still fermenting) that the Touriga Franca, always a late ripener, has performed less well in some vineyards this year. Franca did not like the conditions in some areas, but in others it was very fine. But the excellence of the Nacional has more than made up for this. Charles wrote ‘the wait was well worthwhile, the Nacional musts being well balanced with good colour, producing wines with very elegant aromas’. Our winemaking teams have made some very good Ports this year.
The only thing better than our beautiful vineyards is our beautiful vineyards bottled as wine. This is a wine made to show off our greatest treasure: Quinta dos Canais. We make this wine in exactly the same way as our ‘declared’ Vintage Port. ‘Declared’ Vintage Ports are made in a year when all other producers make a Vintage Port from a blend of their best properties and it is officially ‘declared’ by the whole region. In between these years, the best properties are usually so good that they deserve to be bottled independently.
Our vineyards are spread across the mountainous north bank of the Douro River. The bend in the river forms a natural amphitheatre with an ideal south-facing aspect. It’s a great view and it’s great for the vines too, which can ripen perfectly in the hot summer sun.
Our vineyards are planted with many different grape varieties. There are two that are particularly special though. The Touriga Nacional gives our wines their rich, ripe, red fruit flavours, minty aromas and peppery tannins; while, the Touriga Franca, adds more elegance and the floral dimension. There are a lot of old vines at Canais too, which give a depth and complexity to the wine that can only be found in wines made from beautifully mature vineyards.
Quinta dos Canais Vintage Port should be stored and served in the same way as Cockburn’s Vintage Port. Store it lying down, in a cool, dark, dry place. Decant before serving to remove the natural sediment. And drink from generous glasses to appreciate it at its best. And drink it up within 4 or 5 days.