Quinta de Vargellas is pre-eminent among the wine estates of the Douro. Located in the wild and hilly eastern reaches of the valley, it has been prized as a source of the finest ports since the 1820s. Today it ranks among the great vineyards of the world.
The elegant and finely constituted wines of Vargellas are remarkable for their complex fruit, their distinctive scented quality and their well integrated sinewy tannins. These are most clearly discernible in the Quinta de Vargellas single estate Vintage Ports with their hallmark fragrance. However, in declared years, they also help define the personality of the classic Taylor Fladgate Vintage Ports in which the finest wines of Vargellas are blended with those of Quinta de Terra Feita and also, in recent years, of Quinta do Junco.
However, the wine which represents the quintessence of the terroir of Vargellas is the rare Quinta de Vargellas Vinha Velha Vintage Port, made in very small quantities from the very oldest vines on the property.
The original part of Quinta de Vargellas forms a vast north facing amphitheatre of terraced vineyard towering above the River Douro. Clustered at its centre are the house and winery, as well as the estate’s own railway station. On the steep slopes to the west of the winery rise the dry stone walls of the oldest terraces on the property, which form part of the ‘Vinha Velha’ or Old Vineyard. Along one of these ancient terraces runs one of the two narrow roads leading into the estate. It is from this precarious vantage point that visitors arriving by road catch their first glimpse of the estate buildings.
Downstream from the original part of the property is a second magnificent semicircular sweep of vines. This is the recently planted São Xisto vineyard laid out using the technique of vinha ao alto or vertical planting. The two parts of the estate are separated by a ridged promontory jutting out into the river and crowned by a pagoda-like structure known as the Ruby Folly, built to mark the ruby wedding anniversary of the company’s Chairman, Alistair Robertson, and his wife Gillyane.