Pedra Alta Reserva Tinto 2017

Producer: Pedra Alta
Region: Douro
Country: Portugal
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Touriga Nacional, Sousao, Touriga Franca
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 13.5%
Soil: Schist
Farming Practices: Traditional
Awards: 93-Jamie Goode
info@buyersandcellars.ca www.buyersandcellars.ca

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, 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.


Vines are planted at an elevation of between 250 and 400 meters above sea level in schist-based soils. Vine age is between 15 and 19 years old. Vines per hectare is 4,500 and training is done via single and double cordon and guyot methods. Grapes are harvested by hand.


A blend of primarily Touriga Franca and Touriga Nacional with Sousão and Fernão Pires. Touriga Franca is the most widely planted grape in the Douro Valley and, along with Touriga Nacional, is considered among the finest of all Port grapes. It exhibits abundant aromatics and fruit character. Touriga Nacional, the king of Port grapes, is also gaining notoriety for its ability to create full-flavoured, firmly structured red wines. Its small berries result in hugely tannic wines that have an unrivaled ability to age. Sousão adds a rusticity and raisin character to blends, while Fernão Pires, a white grape,is used to add complexity and fruit.


Hand-sourced from the Quinta’s best sites. Sorted by hand, in order to pull the ripest and best berries. The clusters are destemmed and fermented by wild yeasts for 10 days, including traditional foot treading in concrete lagars. This is done to gently press the grapes and avoid crushing the pips and extracting bitter oils. The juice is put in French oak (35% new), where it undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Aged for 24 months in barrel, with a year in bottle before release.

Tasting Notes 

This is a blockbuster. Big, rich and chewy. Aromas of black plum licorice, cocoa and pipe tobacco. Ripe black fruit flavours, with a hint of anise on the palate. There some slightly raisin-like notes that show the definite presence of Sousão in the blend. Where the Pedra a Pedra Tinto is a brighter, more modern wine, the Reserva is more Old School, classic Duoro. Brilliant acidity and some prevalent, but ripe tannins give this real structure. This is a wine for the dinner table, and would be ideal with a rack of lamb or a hearty stew.