Dow's Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira

Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira was originally acquired by Dow’s in 1890. The years after the Second World War were very difficult for the Port trade, and the decision was made to sell this Quinta in 1954. In most years, however, Dow's bought and vinified the Quinta's grapes, so they continued to be fundamental to Dow's Vintage Ports. The Symington family marked the Bicentenary of Dow's in 1998 by repurchasing the Quinta once more.

Terroir

The property is situated in the Douro Superior, the most easterly, hottest and driest sub region of the Douro valley, on the north bank directly opposite the legendary Quinta do Vesuvio.  The vineyard aspect is primarily south facing.  The Douro Superior has a continental climate marked by extremes, with hot dry summers and very cold and dry winters.  The 10 year annual average rainfall for the area is 448mm. The soil’s main component is schist, a laminated slate-like rock.

Wine

The very hot climate through the Summer at this vineyard results in highly complex and concentrated wines but very low yields.  Colours of the musts in the fermentation tanks are always purple-black due to the very high skin to juice ratio.  The old vines add further to the intensity of the wine as they make up a very large percentage of the vineyard. The resulting wine can be described as being the essence of Vintage Port, with powerful wild red-fruit flavours, leading into rich black chocolate notes, the whole balanced by complex, attractive and peppery tannins.

Winery

Senhora da Ribeira has one of the most advanced small specialist wineries in the Upper Douro, containing 7 original granite lagares for foot treading and 3 robotic lagares designed by the Symington family and installed in 2001.  Both are used during the harvest.  Farmers in the surrounding valleys who have been supplying Dow's for years also bring their grapes for vinification at the Quinta. In 2009 the Quinta produced 94 pipes of must, which is equivalent to approximately 7,180 9-litre cases of Port.

Quinta and Vineyards

Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira is located in one of the most beautiful and remote locations of the Upper Douro.  The Quinta is situated on the north bank of the river Douro, where there is an ancient river crossing that dates back to pre-Roman times.  This crossing is located half-way between the two 12th century hilltop castles of Numão and Lavandeira, built to guard this place.  Travellers would stop at the Quinta's small chapel to pray to the Senhora da Ribeira (The Lady of the River) for a safe crossing and onward journey, hence the name of the Quinta.

  • Together with Quinta do Bomfim, Quinta da Senhora da Ribeira defines Dow’s Vintage style in declared years.  In intervening years the Quinta also produces one of the Douro’s finest Quinta Vintage Ports, which is released En Primeur.
  • Touriga Nacional accounts for one-third of the vineyard
  • Average age of vines:  19% of the vines are at Senhora da Ribeira are 29 years old or older. These old vines are incredibly low yielding, in most years producing less than 1 Kg of grapes each, and produce intense and concentrated musts which are ideal for classic Vintage Port. The remainder are 22% from 2001, 35% from 2004 and 24% from 2009  
  • All of the property is A-rated, the highest possible quality designation and virtually the entire Quinta is now planted in varietal batches, allowing each variety to be picked and subsequently vinified separately.  All grapes are picked by hand.


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