Quinta das Carvalhas

Quinta das Carvalhas is one of the most emblematic and spectacular properties in the Douro Valley. Written references regarding this magnificent vineyard can be traced back to 1759.
Enjoying a prominent position on the left bank of the Douro river, in Pinhão, the estate covers the entire hillside facing the Douro river and occupies part of the slopes of the right bank of the tributary Torto river.
Carvalhas’ Old Vines, are a post-phylloxera plantation, which have reached the respectful age of a century old and represent one of the richest selection of ancient indigenous Douro varieties.

The Quinta dates back to the beginning of the 18th Century as property of the influential Castro and Sande family from São João da Pesqueira. In the following years, Carvalhas sees an exchange of proprietorship up until 1881 when it is bought by Migual de Sousa Guedes. As one of the most important Port bottlers of his time, Sousa Guedes, began a rescue program to replant the vineyards and reinstate the Quinta’s reputation, after the philoxera ravages that left the Estate in a truly decadant form.

In 1959, Real Companhia Velha purchase Miguel Sousa Guedes & Filhos Lda (company name) through the hand of Manuel da Silva Reis, making Carvalhas one of the most emblematic estates in the Douro and the most important in the Company.

Characterization, Location and Ecology.

Quinta das Carvalhas is characterized by very particular edaphoclimatic conditions. Its vines are located at various altitudes- extending from river border to the top of the slope. The largest vine surface of the Quinta faces a northern sun exposure, yet, another fraction of the vineyard, on the other side of the mountain, faces a southen exposure. Most of the parcels are planted in areas of deep inclination, with only a small fraction planted at a less inclined location, at the top of the hill. The viticultural heritage is constituted of almost-centennial vines of field blend, in which rare indigenous varieties are considered interesting respositories for an ampelographic variation. Younger vines are composed by distinguished varieties and benefit from a modern viticultural approach.

Quinta das Carvalhas benefits from an admirable diversity of ecological situations that make it an ideal location for viticultural activity, which is historically connected to the production of Port Wine. The Company’s best Ports are made from the oldest and most noble vines at this Quinta. The enormous diversity of grape varieties, together with their low yield, make these vines the ideal supplier for top quality Ports.

The Quinta’s potential for the production of great wines was highly increased in the 90’s, with the relentless traceability of all parcels. Following this process, some areas of the vineyard became destined to the production of top quality DOC Douro’s.

The Quinta borders the River Douro for a distance superior to 3km and is located on the left bank of the River Douro, facing the village of Pinhão, in the heart of the Cima Corgo sub-region.

This Quinta stands out in the landscape for it’s characteristical mountain viticulture. The vineyard, planted in terraces, or modern microterraces, finds itself between 40% and 70% steepness.

Quinta das Carvalhas’ total area is located at different altitudes, varying from 80 to 500 metres above sea level, with vineyards exposed to both northern and southern qudrants. From the total 134,5ha of vineyards, 74,5ha are planted in the north quadrant, facing north-east and 60ha are planted facing south. This diversity offers the conditions to make wines of great complexity and originality.

CLIMATE

Meteorological data:

• Annual average temperature: 17,7ºC

• Average Temperature from April to September: 22,7ªC

• Annual Rainfall (last 30 years): 658 mm

• Sum of all temperatures superior to 10ºC from April to September: 2.268ºC

 

Quinta das Carvalhas’ climate shows a lower aridity index than Quinta dos Aciprestes, as its exposure/location are less severe.

SOIL TYPE

Soils are characterized for their medium texture, a pleasing amount of fine elements (limo), low/medium fertility levels, low levels of organic matter (inferior to 1%) and acidic reaction.

Although these shortages, the soil is ideal for the culture of the vine, as it cohabits well in these consitions, producing high quality grapes with great oenological potential.

THE VINEYARD

The Quinta’s singularity results from a conjuction of diverse climatic events, combined with other variables: age of the vine, altitude, varieties, plant density, types of systemization, conduction system, amongst others.

The property, since the decade of the 80’s in the XX Century, has seen a conversion of its vines. Respecting the traditions and particularities of mountain viticulture, the vineyard has benefitted from a technological evolution in terms of modern viticuture by installing a solid terrace and micro-terrace system and high-density plantations.

Total Vineyard Area – 134,5 Hectars

• Traditional Old Vines – 37,7 ha (complex field blend of indigenous varieties)

These are vineyards with ages between 50 and just over 100 years. There is no dominant variety, therefore resulting in a very rich diversity, offering each vine a particular style. In this way, the Field Blend may offer many different varieties in one parcel: Tinta Roriz, Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Amarela, Rufete, Sousão, Preto Martinho, Cornifesto, Tinto Cão, Tinta Francisca, Touriga Brasileira, Tinta Barroca, Moreto, Bastardo, Tinta Roseira, Tinta de Rei, Tinta Carvalha, Malvasia Preta, Pinot Noir, Alicante Bouschet, Mondet, Tinta Bastardinha, Donzelinho Tinto, Casculho, amongst others.

• New vines – 10 ha (Field Blend of T. Franca, Tinta Roriz & Tinta Barroca)

The new field blends were planted in the 80’s up until 1996. The purpose of these vineyards were to stabilize yields per hectar and focus on the production of prime DOC Douro wines.

• Single Varietal plots – 86,8 ha

SThese vineyards represent the new era, with the first plantation in 1996 up until today. For these plots we implemented modern techniques with a purpose of ensuring sustainable production and the biodiversity in our ecosystem. On the other hand, grapes were not planted in a field blend, but instead in individual parcels, allowing us to recover some of the oldest varietals found in the field blends which were close to extinction. These vineyards allow a more clear understanding of our terroir as they perfectly combine the three pilars of quality: Place (climate, soil and topography), Viticultural/oenological technique and grape varietal.

Vineyard area per grape varietal (excl. Old Vines Field Blend) (B= White | T= Red)

• Touriga Nacional (T) 25,2 ha

• Sousão (T) 13,8 ha

• Touriga Franca (T) 16,5 ha

• Tinto Cão (T) 7 ha

• Tinta Barroca (T) 6,97 ha

• Tinta Roriz (T) 2,5 ha

• Rufete (T) 2,2 ha

• Tinta Francisca (T) 2,1 ha

• Bastardo (T) 0,7 ha

• Viosinho (B) 3,1 ha

• Gouveio (B) 0,8 ha

• Baga (T) 1,4 ha

• Arinto (B) 1,6 ha

• Samarrinho (B) 2,1 ha

• Tinta da Barca (T) 0,3 ha

• Malvasia Preta (T) 0.25 ha

• Cornifesto (T) 0,25 ha