Douro Branco 2021

Producer: Pedra Alta
Region: Duoro
Country: Portugal
Classification: DO
Wine Type: White
Variety: Rabigato and Gouveio
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 12%
Residual Sugar: 0.6 g/L
Soil: Schist
Farming Practices: Traditional
Awards: 90-Micheal Godel
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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.


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 from here, 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, producing extremely ripe grapes and full-flavoured wines.


These vineyards sit on schist soils. Fruit is hand-harvested from vines 15 to 26 years old. 4000 vines per hectare, single and double cordon pruned with smaller amounts of guyot pruning.


A blend of traditional Douro grapes Rabigato (38%) and Gouveio (62%). Both are used widely in the production of white Port as well as unfortified white wines. Considered one of the Douro’s finest white grapes, Rabigato adds bright acidity and salty minerality to blends alongside notes of acacia, orange blossom and white peach. Gouveio is now planted throughout Portugal with particularly significant plantings in Alentejo. To the 2021 Branco, it brings mid-palate weight with passion fruit and pineapple flavours


The 2021 growing season and harvest was one of the coolest in recent years, encouraging slower, gradual maturation with balanced ripening. Once the grapes are hand-picked, the winery’s aim is to preserve the aromatics and fresh flavours by gentle handling, and by keeping the fruit and juice as cool as possible. Whole-bunch pressing followed by a wild yeast ferment at 15ºC to maintain primary fruit aromas and flavours. The wines were then matured sur lie for 8 months before being blended.

Tasting Notes 

Pale yellow in colour, with green hues. Delicate aromas of citrus fruits, together with grapefruit and tropical notes. Bursting with citrus, passion fruit and pineapple flavours, with great texture and a lingering salty finish. Serve with fresh prawns or pan-fried chicken. Drinking well now but will gain further complexity over the next 3 to 5 years.