The white wines produced by Kranemann Wine Estates at Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias in the heart of the Távora Valley are extraordinary. Elegance, a balance between fruit, freshness, and minerality, make them stand out from the rest. A marked acidity lends these wines' ageing potential.
The Douro is known worldwide for Port wines and full-bodied reds, but, in fact, we also produce surprisingly good white wines. Generally, these wines reflect the characteristics of a specific terroir, often in cooler areas, where the traditional grape varieties have their very own ripening patterns (due to the type of soil, exposition, altitude, and climate variability). Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias is a case in point. Let's explore this further:
The way the main white grape varieties ripen and match the characteristics of our terroir is crucial to our wines' profile. Four traditional grape varieties are essential to our winemaking: Rabigato, Viosinho, Gouveio, and Arinto. In simple terms, Rabigato gives us pleasing aromas, fruit, alcohol content and medium acidity. Viosinho lends the wine aromatic intensity and medium acidity with good structure. Gouveio stands out due to its more intense aromas and its higher alcoholic content. Arinto, on the other hand, gives us acidity and minerality, meaning it is key to ensuring ageing potential for many years to come. Although there are slight variations in each grape type, they all tend to give us balanced and consistently high-quality fruit.
When the grape varieties have such a natural expression, we ensure they reach their potential by taking the best they have to offer and combining it with minimum human intervention. This is the guiding principle behind all our decisions, from wine growing to harvest and winemaking in the winery. The plots of land where we grow our white grapes are located at the highest altitude and coolest areas of the Estate, with the distinctive schist and granite soil. The Távora Valley is, on average cooler than other areas of the Douro. Combining high altitude and north and northeast-facing vines (less direct sun and less heat stress, particularly in the hottest periods of the day) means the fruit ripens in a very balanced manner. Beyond the Arinto variety, they all have excellent acidity levels. These characteristics contribute to the freshness and longevity of our wines.
Acidity as the wine's backbone
Acidity shapes the wine's ageing potential. The way the white grape varieties express themselves would be completely different without the cooler climate in another terroir. The saying goes that wines are made 'on the vineyard,' which is especially applicable to our whites. From the outset, our main concern is how to preserve the fruit's acidity, identifying the right time for our harvest. Afterwards, in the winery, we keep intervention to a minimum.
Soil and minerality
One of the most valued wine descriptions, especially for whites, is their minerality. Even among scientists, there is no consensus on how these mineral attributes become part of the wine; does the local geology play a role, or is there some other explanation? Kranemann wines awaken profoundly mineral sensations reminiscent of wet stones. Mineral notes are more common in plots where the soil contains granite. We plant new white grapes in areas where we can ensure the essential combination of granite and high altitude. Despite the debate, minerality is of extreme importance to the freshness and elegance of wines.
Quinta do Convento de São Pedro das Águias has the key aspects needed to produce fresh, mineral white wines. Our Estate and the Távora Valley are by no means the only ones with these characteristics, but this is how we work at Kranemann Wine Estates, and we want to share this with you.
Maria Susete Melo