Vale Dona Maria is one of the most respected names in high quality Douro wine, the main label selling for around €50 in shops and a wine that often stands out as one of the region’s greatest reds in blind tastings.
There is now a second winery and vineyard under the same ownership located a bit further north on the banks of the River Sabor in the upper Douro region.
New in at Apolónia are Vinhas do Sabor 2017 red and 2018 white – the red is something quite special. Both the red and the white are priced at €19.95 and, whilst I feel this price is somewhat ambitious for the white, it represents excellent value for the red.
This is a serious Douro wine from the excellent 2017 vintage made from a blend of Touriga Franca, Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Alicante Bouschet. On the nose, there are lush berry and red fruit notes, full bodied but supple in the mouth with well-integrated oak and good acidity leading to a long and spicy finish.
This wine drinks as well as many Douro reds costing considerably more, and a few more years cellaring will reap great rewards.
The 2018 white is a blend of Rabigato, Viosinho and Arinto, light in colour, the delicate floral and tropical fruit notes on the nose perhaps a little overpowered by toasty oak. But in the mouth, the oak is less evident, well balanced with good fruitiness and acidity. But at just under €20, I can think of many more interesting Douro whites costing a good few euros less.