Wines

The Terroir

When it comes to the secret of the perfect ingredients for a wine, it amounts to a few essential elements – the right soil and climate (a combination defined in winemaking circles as ‘terroir’), and a caring, responsible treatment by the wine grower.

The Algarve is enclosed in a natural amphitheatre, which is protected from the northern winds by the Monchique mountain range, resulting in a unique climate characterized by an average of over 3.000 hours of sunshine per year. The soil, dominated by lime and clay, forces the vines to root deeply, exactly what is required to grow grapes rich in the respective terroir-profile.

Our proximity to the Atlantic Ocean ensures that even on the hottest summer days there is always a fresh breeze, which provides a natural ventilation and temperature control of the vines. In combination with the canopy control, the local wine growers can actually choose in which direction to take a specific wine. One option is to maximize solar exposure, which results in opulent and fruity wines, whereas maximizing shade and cool air circulation will result in fresher and more subtle wines.

winery

Philosophy

A top quality natural wine can only be made with top quality grapes, which is why it is our belief that our winemakers need to spend as much time in the vineyards as they do in the winery. The role of winemaking is to guide the process, while allowing nature to take its course, namely a three-stage process of

  • 1.  Growing the grapes
  • 2. Transforming grapes into wine
  • 3. Ageing, bottling and labelling this wine

This exciting process comes to an end when the cork is popped and you start pouring the wine into a glass.

From vine to bottle our wine philosophy is based on quality, as opposed to quantity. We believe this is the reason why Quinta dos Vales has very quickly become the leading wine producer in the up-and-coming Algarvian wine industry.

Our approach is simple but straightforward. A good wine must have its origin in the vineyard as only perfect grapes will produce a real and natural wine. Insofar it is our main challenge to interact with all the infinitely variable and interconnected influences of soil minerals, sunlight, water, temperature, grape variety and the daily-changing responses of a living vine, balancing its fruit, leaves and roots. Natural systems are very complex and unpredictable, but once this is achieved, the work in the winery begins.

The work in the winery requires lots of technical skills, however everything is based on the strict principle that our role is only to assist the grapes in developing their best potential. Additives are avoided wherever it is possible. All we do in the winery is use modern technology to extract the best out of the grapes and convert them into the finest natural result that the respective varieties have to offer.

The process

Bud Break

Each year the new cycle begins in spring, when the vines slowly start to wake up from their winter dormancy. In our vineyards the bud break happens between mid-February and mid-March, when the vines start to push out the first green leaves of a new growth cycle. Having been tightly packed and protected all winter, the newly born tiny and sparse leaves have only one goal—to restart photosynthesis and generate new energy in preparation for the next harvest. Like magic, you’ll see entire vineyards turn from drab brown to vibrant green, as the vines grow more and more leaves in what is called “rapid shoot development”.

Bud Break Report
The process

Flowering

Flowering, or blooming, normally starts closer to the end of April, when the grapevines begin to produce flowers, the process which determines both the size of the crop and the size of the final berries. The newly formed flower clusters will start to diffuse a lovely smell that covers the entire vineyard in sweet aromas. About 10-14 days after the full bloom, the fruit set should be well established and the pollinated flowers begin to form small green berries that will eventually grow into individual grapes. At this stage we are able to make our first prognosis of that year’s harvest.

Flowering Report
The process

Veraison

Closer to the end of June, the berries slowly start to change their colour, which indicates the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. The grapes will now start the transition from their growing into their ripening phase, meaning that the focus shifts from quantity to quality. Soon it will be possible to detect the progress of ripening from the distance, when the berries start to attract birds due to the changes in aroma from acidic to fruity-sweet. Closer to the harvest, the increase of sugar and the decrease of acids in the grapes will be measured daily by our winemaker, in order to define the ideal harvest time.

Veraison Report
The process

Grape harvest

Typically, the harvest at Quinta dos Vales starts beginning of August. After a careful analysis of the latest samples of grapes in the field, the harvest date for each variety is determined based on whether they have reached the desired levels of sugar, acidity and pH. After that, the harvesting team starts their meticulous work of hand-picking the ripe grapes, collecting them into 12kg boxes, to then be taken into the cooling chamber to prevent the so-called “wild fermentation”, which can instantly start in the grapes due to the warm temperature outside. After being cooled overnight down to 5°C, the grapes are now ready for the next step.

The process

Processing the grapes

Now that the viticulture is complete (winemaking work in the field), the viniculture work can begin (winemaking work in the winery). The harvested grapes must be processed as soon as possible to avoid unwanted oxidation. The cooled down berries are passed to the production line to undergo a manual selection process, where grapes are carefully sorted to ensure that only the berries of the highest quality make it into the wine. Once sorted, the grapes are separated from the stems with the help of a destemming crushing machine, which starts to release the grape juice from the berries. After this point, the process for red wines and white/rosé wines starts to vary.

The process

Wine press

If we aim to produce a white or a rosé wine, the grapes are further transferred to the pneumatic press. This press is equipped with a membrane that will slowly inflate, gently extracting the juice from the grapes. The unfermented grape juice, also known as the must, is then stored in a stainless-steel vat at 8-10ºC, where the must will be left to settle for 2 or 3 days, until any sediment that might be in the wine is resting at the bottom.

The process

Temperature controlled fermentation

Once settled, the clean must will be transferred to another vat to begin alcoholic fermentation under controlled temperature in our cooling chamber. After the sugars finish their transformation into alcohol and carbon dioxide, it’s time for the wine to be transferred to the final vat for maturation. The wines go through the filtering and blending processes and are stored in the cooling chamber at 0˚C for two months (January and February), waiting for the tartaric stabilisation to be complete. Those are the final steps in the making of the white and rosé wines.

The process

Maceration

However, in order for us to produce red wine, the grapes must undergo a completely different process, as the colour bound in the skins is only released in the presence of alcohol. After the destemming and crushing of the grapes, they will be transferred straight to a stainless-steel fermentation tank, skipping the step of a wine press. Once in the tank, the process of maceration will begin, extracting the colour, flavour and tannins from the grapes, their skins and seeds, at a controlled temperature of 10-12˚C.

The process

Open Must Fermentation

After the maceration, the temperature in the tanks is set to 20-22˚C, and the alcoholic fermentation starts, as it did for the white and rosé wines. Depending on the variety and the type of wine being produced, various fermentation technologies are used in the production of red wine. In the past, the famously traditional way of working the grapes used to be crushing them with bare feet in open granite or marble tanks. While it is a very romantic and appealing approach, modern technology allows to achieve high-quality results in much more hygienic and controlled conditions of open fermentation tanks, which guarantee the required high oxygen impact on the must during the process.

The process

Fermentation tanks with pumping-over system

One of the most often used technologies for our wines is one using fermentation tanks with a pumping-over system. This extracts the must from the bottom of the tank and pours it over the skins at the top, to ensure constant circulation and optimal extraction of the colouration and aroma compounds from the grapes. As the process of fermentation takes quite a long time and is very temperature-sensitive, the fermentation tanks have built-in cooling rings to bring down the temperature inside the tank.

The process

Malolactic fermentation

After the alcoholic fermentation, the existing wine is removed from the skins, and the skins go through the process of pressing in order to release any additional liquid. At this point the wine is transferred to another stainless-steel vat, where the secondary, malolactic fermentation begins. During this process, micro-organisms naturally found in grape juice transform tart malic acid (found in green apples) into lactic acid (found in milk). This process helps soften the wine and give it a smoother texture.

The process

Oak barrel cellar

The highlight of each of our winery tours, the winery cellar, is truly an impressive sight. The wine is normally transferred here for the further maturation process, which happens in French oak barrels for around 12 months under controlled room temperature. This process is crucial for the development of flavours and aromas in a red wine. Tiny pores in the oak allow for the micro-oxygenation, softening the wine and creating a smoother final product, and the tannins released from the natural wood into the wine make it a lot more rich and complex.

The process

Blending

After the maturation is complete, it’s time to transfer the wine to stainless-steel vats for further blending, which is supervised by our top oenologists and ends up being an exciting creative process every year. The decided blends or single-varietal wines are then finally ready for bottling and labelling. In the case of red wine, the bottled product will need to further age for a year before it is ready to be enjoyed, whereas the white and rosé wines are ready for consumption straight away!

Wines

We have an average annual production of 150.000 bottles which is made from 15 different grape varieties, most of which are Portuguese, (e.g. Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Aragonês, Verdelho, and Alvarinho).

But we also have a few French varieties growing at the estate (e.g. Syrah, Viognier and Cabernet Sauvignon), which allows for plenty of different blends and combinations as well as monovarietal wines. One of the most traditional varieties of the region – Castelão – we use in red, white and rosé wines due to its versatility.

Quinta dos Vales' main wine brand – Marquês dos Vales – is constantly evolving and improving through precise production procedures and some flexibility when it comes to the decision on final blends, always seeking to provide only the best final product.

In 2014 we released our second brand – DIALOG – which is a gastronomic range designed for food-and-wine pairings. These exquisite wines are testament to our strong belief in rigorous quality-control procedures, but also to our flexibility in learning and creating an even better product.

All the labels on the bottles are representations of Karl Heinz Stock's art, as the combination of wine and art is a recurring theme throughout the estate.

In the first 10 years of production our wines were already honoured with over 100 national and international medals and awards, as well as commendations and great reviews. On a regional level we are proud to say that during this time-span, of the 10 awards “Best Wine of the Algarve”, we won 5 of them, which should speak for itself.

Marquês dos Vales

RED Selecta

This primarily red-coloured wine also presents streaks of purple to the eye. On the nose you’ll experience a combination of spices, cocoa and ripe plums. A full-bodied wine, with slight notes of toast, herbs and assorted red fruits. The balanced acidity results in a notably balanced finish.

WHITE Selecta

This light straw-coloured wine is exuberant in the nose, with tropical fruits and notes of green tea. The combination of a balanced acidity and citric hints reveals great freshness and minerality.

Rosé Selecta

This pale cherry-pink rose wine has notes of fresh red fruits. On the palate it is clean, with vivid acidity. It is light and refreshing, with hints of cherries.

RED Duo

Ruby coloured, with aromas of wild berries such as blueberry and blackberry. In the mouth, fruity with herbal nuances and a mild toast. Balanced acidity with well integrated tannins and a persistent finish.

WHITE Duo

This light straw-coloured wine has a nose of white fruits and quinces. Creamy, unctuous, has good structure and subtle notes of toast and oak. The finish is long but elegant.

Rosé Duo

This bright pink wine has a nose of red fruits paired with herbal notes. In the mouth the wine has notes of fresh strawberries, with a notable acidity and pleasant salinity.

RED Grace Vineyard

A wine in garnet colour with copper hues. Aroma with notes of ripe red fruit and black forest fruit. In the mouth rich and complex, with tannins of great quality and elegance, where the light toast and smoke are complemented by jam fruits and spices, with a long and persistent finish.

RED Grace Touriga Nacional

It is a deep coloured ruby wine, where the typical varietal aromas of violets stand out. On the nose it is spicy with aromas of cherry and chocolate. On the palate it presents great structure, notes of cherry and dark chocolate, round tannins and a long and persistent finish.

RED Grace Touriga Franca

Dark opaque wine, violet in colour, with aromas of wild berries and broom. In the mouth it presents notes of red fruit,with hints of spices noticeable in the finish. Delicate structure, with fine and polished tannins.

WHITE Grace Vineyard

This light straw-coloured wine presents streaks of green to the eye. In the nose a combination of white currant and lemongrass-tea is prevalent. A good acidity as well as subtle notes of oak come together to give the wine a persistent and elegant finish.

WHITE Grace Viognier

This light straw-coloured wine presents streaks of gold to the eye. In the nose you’ll notice fruits such as mango and tangerine, which are paired with a balanced acidity and some salinity. A well-structured wine with a persistent finish.

RED Grande Escolha

A blend composed of three noble varieties, with deep ruby colour and a spicy profile. On the nose it reveals aromas of dark fruits, such as plums, and some herbaceous notes. On the palate it’s very complex, with great structure, rich tannins, elegance and a long and persistent finish.

DIALOG

RED Ursus

On the nose there are aromas of red fruit and spices, with a hint of toast, black pepper and herbal notes. In the mouth the notes of forest fruit and toast are accompanied by a light freshness. Rounded, but surprisingly striking, tannins combine well with a persistent finish.

WHITE Ursus

This light straw-coloured wine has a tropical nose with notes of green tea. The combination of acidity and citrus gives the wine a great freshness as well as minerality.

Rosé Ursus

This cherry-pink wine has a nose of red fruits. A fresh wine with good acidity, it is refreshing and light.

WHITE Dialog

Lemon in colour and very aromatic wine, with fruity notes of peach and loquat. On the palate it has a strong minerality accompanied by a good acidity. The finish is long and remarkable.

ROSÉ Day

This pale pink-coloured wine presents a nose of raspberry and strawberry jam. A fresh and light wine, with notes of fruit such as pomegranate, with a pronounced acidity and refreshing finish.

ROSÉ Night

Shades of red cherry in its colour and predominant aromas of berries, namely strawberry and dark cherry. On the palate it offers a balanced acidity, good volume and a remarkable finish.

RED Dialog

Cherry colour with garnet hues. Slight notes of anis seed as well as red fruits and green peppers. In the mouth elegant, with a rich taste of ripe red fruits, pepper and a hint of honey and notes of toast, due to its ageing in high quality oak barrels. A persistent but very elegant finish.

Specialities

RED Elegant Grace

Purple coloured wine with violet hues. Its aroma is fresh and exuberant, with floral notes. In the mouth it has young but elegant tannins and the presence of wild berries and red fruit. Medium and smooth finish.

RED Grace Syrah-Viognier

This ruby-coloured wine reveals a slightly spicy profile with fruity and floral aromas. Notes of black pepper, cherry and some mint are noticeable. On the palate it presents good structure, notable acidity and well-integrated tannins. Its finish is complex, pleasant and persistent.

RED Wanted

This shade of red is so dark it almost reaches black. Fittingly, the primary aroma experienced in the nose is of mature forest fruits, paired with subtle notes of ginger. A powerfully fullbodied wine that manages to pair intensity with elegance. Notes of black plum and spices, most notably pepper.

WHITE Grace Syrah Blanc de Noir

This primarily silver-coloured wine also shows streaks of straw colour to the eye. With a spicy and citric nose, the wine is mineral and fresh, with a pleasantly subtle finish.

WHITE Grace Arinto

This straw-coloured wine reveals a lot of fruit on the nose, where aromas of citrus, such as ripe tangerine, are dominant. In the mouth it is citric, with a well-integrated acidity, good structure and a long, persistent finish.

WHITE Grace Alicante Bouschet

This primarily silver-coloured wine also presents streaks of green to the eye. A clean nose of aromatic herbs as well as jasmine is paired with a balanced acidity and notes of spices.

WHITE Castelão Blanc de Noir

Produced from the Castelão grape variety, very versatile, it is a pale yellow wine with prominent herbaceous and floral notes, aromas of green apple, balanced acidity and a refreshing finish.

WHITE Syrah Blanc de Noir

On the nose it is very delicate, with aromas of red fruit such as raspberry and strawberry. In the mouth it is spicy, creamy, with good freshness and a pleasant finish.

ROSÉ Grace Pinot Noir

This pink-coloured wine also presents notes of orange to the eye. A notably dry wine, in the nose with hints of magnolia and cinnamon. While in the mouth notes of forest fruits are prevalent, with a controlled acidity and an elegant and smooth finish.

Fortified Touriga Nacional

Ruby colored wine with complex aromas of dried fruits like raisins and figs. In the mouth sweet, well balanced with soft tannins and a long, persistent finish.