• Place
  • Terroir

The first estate in the Douro with monovarietal plantation

The first study of monovarietal planting in the Douro region occurred in the Quinta Nova estate, between 1979 and 1981, in conjunction with the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture, via the Douro Centre for Viticultural Studies. The study began with Touriga Nacional, then Tinta Roriz and finally with Touriga Franca.

There is monovarietal plantation in schist soil of: Touriga Nacional, with 1.55 ha, at an altitude of 170m, with East / North solar exposure; Tinta Roriz with 1.46 ha, at an altitude of 165m, with South / West solar exposure; Touriga Franca with 1.43 ha, at an altitude of 160m altitude, with South / West solar exposure.

There are 41 vineyard plots in total, with completely distinct natural microterroirs.

Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is located in the Cima Corgo sub-region. It extends over 120 hectares, spanning a 1.5 km stretch of the right bank of the Douro River, with a unique area of 85 hectares located within the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The vineyard has an average age of 45 years and currently has around 3500 plants planted per hectare. Using approximately 80 indigenous species, extracted from the original plantation of centuries-old vines that already existed on the estate, new cuttings and new vine plots have been created, currently distributed in 41 different plots, in function of their microterroir.

The genetic heritage planted in these gravel-schist soils - with a minimum height of 80 m and a maximum height of 297 m - expresses the unique character of this vine, planted on very steep slopes, with up to a 45% slope. The land had to be shaped in function of three ways of planting vines: stone-walled terraces (12%), vertical planting on slopes (16%) and patamares (terraces) (72%).

Our grape varieties

  • 12% centuries-old vines in stone-walled terraces (field blend)
  • 20% Touriga Nacional
  • 24% Touriga Franca
  • 11% Tinta Barroca
  • 6% Tinto Cão
  • 17% Tinta Roriz
  • 4% Tinta Amarela
  • 3% Souzão
  • 3% Tinta Francisca

Centuries-old vines in stone-walled terraces

The centuries-old vines in stone-walled terraces in the Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo covers two plots of centuries-old vine - 2.5 hectares and 4.5 hectares - both located at an altitude of 150 m and with solar exposure to the south west, preserved in 2.5 metre high schist walls.

Over 100 years old, this genetic heritage, with about 80 red and white grape varieties, makes it possible to replant around 6000 plants per hectare in a field blend. All of these plants derive from vines that were planted after the outbreak of phylloxera, and which have resisted until today, with the aim of creating excellent wines.

It is in this complex system that the plants compete with each other and increase their concentration level. Despite our very low production levels, we take care of these plots in a traditional way. We continue to till the soil with a horse and plough. We only apply natural fertilisation using grape husks, an option that aims to preserve the history and tradition of the Douro, a culture found in the creation of the world's greatest wines.

Massal Selection

At Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo, the vines that reach the end of their life are grafted with branches from sister vines and then planted in the same vineyard. Just like in a family, all vines are related to each other and even at different ages, they grow and live together. Massal selection is carried out on the most robust and promising plants, based on parameters linked to their oenological aspect (colour, aroma, polyphenols, anthocyanins and tannins) and to the viticulture (resistance to diseases, number and size of the bunches and resistance of the grape skin).

It is for this reason that the Douro demarcated wine region has 130 indigenous grape varieties, a unique genetic heritage in the world that we are interested in preserving for future generations!

Schist soil

The geological origin of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo is primarily based on a pre-Ordovician "Complexo Xisto Grauvaquico" (graywacke schist complex). Recent forms of schist, from the Ordovician and Silurian periods can also be found.

They are skeletal, poor and theoretically uncultivated soils, with sandy-loam, loam and silt-loam textures, pertaining to the family of anthroposols.

With many stones at the surface, planting of vines is only possible by human hand, transforming the mother rock into arable rock, limited by water losses through erosion, but where the schist manages to recover temperatures at night, thereby fostering a microclimate in terms of the vines and roots - which is unique in the world.

The combination of these many factors is responsible for the great complexity of the wines of Quinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo.

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