2019 #DouroValley | Quinta do Bomfim
Updated: Jan 8
Located right in the center of Pinhão village Quinta do Bomfim is a must visit winery once you’re in Douro valley. Perfect production set up, very well treated fine vineyards, welcoming and pleasant attitude towards theirs guests - awesome place to be and to learn about great Ports’ philosophy.
The winery produces Dow’s Port, which is one of the best Ports I’ve ever tried. The estate belongs to Symington family (also Graham’s, Cockburn’s and others), who treats it perfectly within whole cycle starting from grapes growing ending up with their amazing Port aging. The own vineyards are located around the winery going up to tophill (about 350 m above sea level) where the best parcels for Dow’s Port types are cultivated.
By the way, height of the vines for Port production is strictly controlled by official Port wine organization Instituto dos Vinhos do Douro e Porto, maximum is 80cm and it’s quite hard for grapes harvesting by hand picking, which is the only possible way on the terrace vineyards like at #QuintadoBomfim.
The winery itself located on the riverside in the bottom of the valley and opens spectacular views to neigbourhood around.
Any visit has to be booked in advance, day and timeslot are being fixed, the winery controls visitors‘ flow to offer maximum quality of their service and to ensure their guests are satisfied with the #wines and culture they bring into our life, the philosophy I fully support, it works very well I can say. I was lucky to have a private visit as it’s winter time, latest harvested grapes are already produced and being kept for aging in the cellars, winery is not in a rush - nice time to calm down and a great opportunity for visiting them.
The production part is very modern and kept in a perfect shape. They don’t use “human legs” to treat the grapes in the #lagares only automatic machines with silicon covers to imitate human skin touch and do not crush grapes’ skin and bones to avoid strong tannins extraction.
Lagares itself are made of stainless steel...
...and perfectly connected with next room contains stainless steel tanks for further fermeting process. Every parcel is treated separately, so they never mix different grapes while producing different wines for #Port aging.
Bomfim cellars contain different types of tanks and barrels. The biggest are white cement tanks for some of their Ruby Ports...
...the biggest wooden tanks are also for some types of Rubies...
...medium sized tanks contain some Rubies and partially Tawnies...
...and the smallest barrels are filled with best aged Tawnies and the best vintage Ports.
Once you’ve enjoyed being in the heart of the winery in the cellars, you move to tasting room. I chose different Dow’s for testing: LBV, 10 years Tawny, Vintage 1985.
Vintage 1985 Port is awesome one of the best years ever, you just need to try it and you’ll understand what I mean.
10 years Tawny (old style) is smooth, round, calm with a very complex aromas of caramel, nutty, tobacco, leather, vanilla and many others. Great wine.
Dow's are now changing the style of their Tawnies and a difference is huge! Elias, my perfect guide, kindly gave me to taste both to compare new and old style, so I surely can say that new style is not the one I liked. It’s definitely less classic, strong and nervious, somewhat closer even to Rubies, but not similar to well aged Tawny at all. The estate started to produce new style from 2018 harvest, so as soon as you can still buy any bottle of old style produced earlier I suggest to do it immediately as very soon they will just disappear from wineshops and only new style will be supplied worldwide. I bought two bottles of old style and I’ll be looking to find some more, if I can.
The old style bottle looks like this...
...and the new style is like this.
I would say thanks a lot personally to Elias, who managed this visit in the best way and gave a lot of super interesting information about the winery, grapes growing methods, classification tricks and some secrets about how to supply grapes for the finest Port.