Quinta das Lages

The patamares at Lages, as seen from the entrance drive above the Rio Torto

Just west of Pinhão a river runs up from the south to join the Douro called the Rio Torto – the twisted river.  The incredible valley surrounding this river creates one of the finest microclimates in the Douro and has produced legendary ports for as long as port has been made.  For nearly a century Graham’s have sourced grapes from a quinta there called Quinta das Lages.  The agreement between the Symingtons and the family who own Lages is based on a handshake and several generations of trust between the two families.

Lages is one of the largest quintas in this valley, and all of the vineyards have the best possible “A” rating for Port vineyards, based on a combination of both topographical and viticultural features.  Half the vines have an average age of 30 years, and the areas re-planted in the past decade are now mature enough to produce good and interesting grapes.  The quinta generally is north-facing, which is a benefit in the valley, as the heat can become intense, held between the folds of the mountains.

The grape tasting team: Pedro Leal da Costa, Pedro Correia, and the caseiro António

The Tinta Barroca and the Vinhas Velhas (old mixed vine vinyards) had been completely harvested, and Pedro Leal da Costa, Graham’s head viticulturalist, together with the winemaker Pedro Correia and the caseiro Sr António were meeting to take a walk through the vineyards together to taste the grapes, and decide the best picking order for the next few days, in light of the showers Sunday and an unsettled forecast for the coming week.  There are significant plantings of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca still to go, and a small parcel of Tinta Roriz.

Asked about the rain on Sunday, the caseiro said they had not been bothered by it till very late in the afternoon, another good example of the microclimatisation in the region, as at Malvedos 13 km east northeast we had intermittent showers from morning till late afternoon.

During our visit on Monday the harvesters were working in a lower parcel of Touriga Franca, planted as a vertical vineyard.  Very vertical, as you can see from the photo.  The property has both modern (soil-banked) patamares, some incredibly steep rising 3 to 4 metres between terraces, and plots of vertical plantings at both the bottom and top of the property.  The tractors used at the quinta are all the kind with tank-like treads, the caseiro’s comment “wheels just don’t work here” seems a terrific understatement.

Altogether we had a whirlwind tasting tour of six parcels of Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca, and the viticulturalist, winemaker and caseiro all found reasons to be pleased with the quality of the grapes.  The vines are healthy, producing low yields of high quality grapes which are at or near perfect ripeness, and the flavours and colour extraction are all excellent.

Quinta das Lages looks set to deliver its usual intensely aromatic profile to Graham’s wines again this year.

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6 thoughts on “Quinta das Lages

  1. A couple of years ago I got to try a cask sample from Lages and was impressed by its very distinctive character, as were those with me at the time.

    I think we all agreed that this is a quinta that should be considered as a candidate for single quinta bottlings, even in declared years perhaps.

    1. Thanks for your comment Tom. This is a great vineyard and its wines have earned their way into our final Graham’s Vintage Port in every great year that we have ever made. Introducing an additional Quinta Vintage Port would be a major step for us, so would need some careful thought. But we never say never! Thanks again, Paul

  2. Exmos. Srs.
    Em 1985, por morte de um tio meu, recebi um lote de garrafas de vinho do Porto, de produção particular, que nunca me atrevera a experimentar. Eram de duas proveniências, embora pense que lhe tinham sido oferecidas pela mesma pessoa. Numas pode ler-se num rótulo manuscrito: “Reserva da Quinta das Lages – Vinho do Porto – 1973. Rio Torto, Pinhão”. Nas outras: “Quinta dos Canais (Alto Douro) – Vinho Fino do Douro – Eng. Ramiro Sobral”. Abri recentemente uma das vossas e devo dizer que o achei fabuloso. Poderei saber pormenores deste Vinho e se ainda há no mercado?

    1. O Charles Symington respondeu:
      Ambos os vinhos que menciona, não estão relacionados com a Symington Family Estates em termos de empresa que produz e comercializa vinhos do Porto. Muito provávelmente os propriétários da Quinta das Lages engarrafaram em tempos, privadamente, uma pequena quantidade de vinho para oferecer a amigos e família, e muito provávelmente a família Sobral que eram os propriétários da Quinta de Canais fizeram o mesmo. Era prática comum em proprietários de Quintas no Douro engarrafarem pequenas quantidades de vinho para oferecer, as quais nunca eram comercializadas. Todavia, tudo o que atrás se refere é uma suposição.

      Entretanto, se o vinho é bom, sugiro que o desfrute com gosto.

  3. Obrigado pela vossa resposta. Quanto ao vinho, estou efectivamente a desfrutá-lo deliciado. Cumprimentos,
    Luis Figueiredo

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