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Alta Nº 10 Ten-Year-Old Tawny Port NV

Producer: Pedra Alta
Region: Duoro
Country: Portugal
Classification: DOC
Wine Type: Fortified
Variety: Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 19.5%
Residual Sugar: 107 g/L
Soil: Schist
Farming Practices: Traditional and sustainable
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Cellar Profile


In the heart of the Douro Valley’s Cima Corgo sub-region, you’ll find a winery that strikes a fine balance between tradition and modernity, elegantly showcasing the exciting breadth of offerings coming out of Portugal these days. Quinta da Pedra Alta is the longtime dream-come-true of a small group of family and friends from the United Kingdom, who purchased the historic property in 2018. Their 35 hectares of steep, terraced vineyards are the archetype Douro landscape, dramatically rising from the eponymous river that meanders through northern Portugal. Only indigenous Portuguese grapes — namely Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca and Tinto Roriz for reds and Gouveio, Rabigato and Viosinho for whites — are planted on poor, schist-based soils. The winemaking is led by two young and dynamic individuals, João Pires from Portugal and Matt Gant from Australia. As is tradition in the area, all wines are blends and grapes are crushed via foot treading in granite lagares. Only wild yeasts are used in fermentation and oak aging is measured. Pedra Alta wines are at once powerful and refined, offering up loads of Douro Valley warmth alongside Old World structure and sophistication.

Region


Named after the river which runs throughout the Iberian peninsula before entering the Atlantic Ocean, the Douro region is best known for producing the fortified wine, Port. The past few decades have seen an uptick in the quantity and quality of unfortified wines, usually falling under the DOC Douro designation. The region’s vast array of native grapes are the ingredients for both Port and their unfortified counterparts, most notably Touriga Nacional and Tinta Roriz (Tempranillo) for reds, and Gouveio, Rabigato, Malvasia Fina and Viosinho for whites. The climate here is hot and dry, with steep terraced vineyards combining to produce extremely ripe grapes and subsequently full-flavoured, high alcohol wines.

Vineyard


Sourced from vines aged 22-26 years old planted in schist-based soil. Vines are pruned via single and double cordon. Elevation lies between 250-400 masl.

Varieties


A classic Port blend of Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. Tinta Roriz—also known as Tempranillo—is considered Iberia’s answer to Cabernet Sauvignon. Its thick skins make deeply coloured wines with complexity and grip. It is now grown widely throughout the warmer regions of the wine world. Tinta Barroca is another thick-skinned grape and, as such, is an excellent candidate to make fortified wines. It generally adds jammy flavours and a rusticity to Port blends.

Winemaking


The grapes are hand-picked, hand-sorted and destemmed into granite lagars, where they are foot-stomped for up to four hours. The must is “fermented by wild yeasts at temperatures ranging from 20-25°C and spirit is added at the appropriate time to stop fermentation. At the end of maceration, the ferments are drained, pressed and transferred to old port casks to undergo maturation before eventual blending and bottling. As with all ports, blending is the key and Pedra Alta uses a variety of aged parcels with different levels of sweetness and acidity, including a small proportion from a few very old (40+ years) barrels. The aim is to deliver an elegant, complex Ten-Year-Old Tawny style where sweetness takes a back seat and acidity provides the focus. This is the first Ten-Year-Old produced on the estate and is a fitting tribute to the positive impact winemaker João has had on the estate since he started in 2009.

Tasting Notes 


A refreshing style of Tawny. Ruby-tawny in colour, with heady aromas of blackberry, plum, ripe strawberry, prune and pipe tobacco. Full-bodied but not viscous, with layers of dried and fresh black fruits, toffee, sweet vanilla and cassis, all with great underlying acidity to keep it from being ponderous. Chill to cellar temperature and enjoy with blue-veined cheeses (especially Stilton), mixed nuts or fruitcake.