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Producer Focus: Quinta do Ameal
29 Jun 2016

Producer Focus: Quinta do Ameal

 

Located in the heart of the Minho region, close to Portugal’s Northern border with Spain, Quinta do Ameal sits on the bank of the river Lima, taking advantage of a beautiful south-facing valley exposure.

The estate was originally built in 1710 but required extensive renovation in the late 1980’s. Planting of 12 Hectares of mainly Loureiro vines was completed in 1990, and the property remains the same today.

Pedro Araujo (pictured above) has been responsible for Quinta do Ameal since 1995, after taking over from his father. Pedro oversees everything at Ameal with meticulous attention to detail, including the conversion to organic viticulture in 2005.

The Loureiro grape variety is one that would ordinarily constitute part of a Vinho Verde blend with, for example, Alvarinho. Here at Ameal, Pedro strives to explore the potential of Loureiro as a single variety, though sometimes using small proportions of Arinto to boost acidity.

The Minho region provides a great environment; plenty of sunshine combined with Portugal’s highest levels of rainfall. The soils at Ameal are mainly granite, typical for the region. Pedro captures this terroir perfectly in his wines.

TASTING NOTES

Quinta do Ameal Loureiro (DOC Vinho Verde)

This unoaked expression of Loureiro is packed with citrus and green apple acidity, notes of herbs and flowers, a steely minerality and great texture from a touch of lees, and a refreshing, long, dry finish. A perfect aperitif when young, but also has body and acidity for 5 years of bottle-age, if you can wait that long.

Quinta do Ameal Escolha (VR Minho)

Treatment of the Loureiro grape with a hint of oak transforms the resultant wine. Fermentation in quality French Nevers oak (seasoned 225 Litre barriques) leaves the Escolha with increased intensity and richness. Vanilla joins orange-blossom floral notes, which go alongside citrus and stonefruit character. 6 months of lees aging, with batonnage, adds complexity, and only enhances this wine’s propensity for cellaring.

Quinta do Ameal Special Harvest (VR Minho)

The 'SH' is an unexpected gem from Quinta do Ameal. Produced only in the best vintages, when perfect ripeness can be achieved, this sweet dessert wine combines concentration of flavour with fresh acidity, to rival the best Sauternes or Auslese. Made using dried, specially selected Loureiro grapes, the resulting wine shows orange peel and candied fruit, mixed with honey and blossom, with hints of cedar wood added through slow fermentation in used barriques. A fabulous treat!

 

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