Like its wines, the Douro is serene. From its peaceful river to its vines that gently pass through the eras, the famous Portuguese appellation is rooted in a timeless terroir cultivated by passionate winegrowers.
Although the history of Douro wines goes back to time immemorial, it was only very recently, in 1982, that the Douro DOC appellation was established. Fernando Nicolau de Almaida sketched out the beginnings of the first Douro DOC when he visited the Bordeaux region. Fascinated by the precision it takes to produce the great wines of Bordeaux, he returned to Portugal with a new dream: to develop fine and serene red wines from the typical Portuguese grape varieties.
In 1952, this oenologist at Ferreira Port made the first Barca Velha by cooling the vats with ice from the Matosinhos fish market. After extensive research into the nuances between grape varieties, types of container and types of wood, Fernando Nicolau de Almaida chose Tinta Roriz for his blend. The wine was not immediately successful, but later became one of the most prestigious Douro wines.
If today Douro wines are renowned throughout the world and have been for centuries, it is because this appellation, anchored in the north of Portugal, benefits from the richness of a terroir that is among the oldest and most prestigious. Here, century-old terraced vineyards follow the winding course of the Douro River on perfectly sloping hillsides.
Three sub-regions make up the Douro: Baixo Corgo, Cima Corgo and Douro Superior. The first is temperate and humid, even slightly oceanic, while the last is characterised by its typically continental climate. The Cima Corgo is the emblem of Port wines and the best dry wines of the region. In this unique land, the vines slowly grow five emblematic grape varieties: Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cão, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Franca. The valley's winemakers are also beginning to rework indigenous varieties such as Sousão (or Vinhão) and Tinta Amarela (or Tincadeira).
Thus, thanks to this exceptional terroir combined with historic know-how, the quality of these great Portuguese wines promises to inspire wine lovers with purity and precision for many years to come.