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Douro Boys launch Anniversary wines to mark 20th birthday

by Catherine Walbridge
Douro Boys

The Douro Boys have celebrated their two-decade long collaboration by hosting a once-in-a-lifetime Port wine tasting and unveiling two Anniversary wines that embody the Portuguese region they have put on the world’s wine map.

Cellared for more than 1,100 years

Quinta do Vallado, Niepoort, Quinta do Crasto, Van Zellers & Co. and Quinta do Vale Meão have every reason to celebrate their collective success. The Douro Boys are credited with putting premium Douro DOC table wines on the world wine map over the last two decades, with their red wines in particular attracting the highest ratings from respected critics.

So it was time to repay the favour by hosting an incredible Very Old Port tasting for specialist international press on 18 April in the historic Niepoort cellar in Gaia. In keeping with the birthday theme 'The Luxury of Time', 14 very rare Ports dating back to the 1860s were served. These wines, in total, had spent more than 1,100 years in cellars. It was a once-in-a-lifetime tasting not only for the media, but also the five producers themselves.

Limited edition Anniversary wines

The birthday celebrations culminated on 19 April at The Lodge Hotel in Porto with the launch of two exclusive 20th Anniversary wines: a Douro Boys Anniversary Cuvée red 2021 Magnum and Douro Boys Anniversary Very Old Tawny Port.

For the Red Cuvée, each of the five producers gave two barrels of their most outstanding wines from the 2021 harvest. Only 1,350 individually numbered magnums of the exceptional cuvée will be bottled.

Quinta do Vallado entered the Adelaide and Granja, Quinta do Crasto added two barrels of the top scoring Vinha da Ponte, Niepoort gave two barrels of their famous Batuta and Van Zellers added two from their best centenary vineyards, Vinha Alampassa and Vinha do Muro. All these wines are field blends from old vineyards (Vinhas Velhas), planted with more than 30 grape varieties, most dating back to between 1900 and 1950. Quinta do Vale Meão contributed a barrel of Touriga Franca from Vinha Grande and a barrel of Touriga Nacional from Vinha das Pulgas. The final blend was “seasoned” with two percent Touriga Nacional from Quinta do Vale Meão, vinified in the traditional Douro manner using whole bunches, including the stems.

Labour of love

The Anniversary Very Old Tawny Port was also a collective labour of love. The Douro Boys released some of their cherished reserves dating back to the 19th century from their cellars, before painstakingly blending these rare wines over several months to create a Port that encapsulates their unique spirit. Quinta do Vallado will bottle just 950 editions of the 75 cl Very Old Tawny Port.

Both the Red Cuvée and the Very Old Tawny Port were offered en primeur at the event. The wines will be bottled before the European summer and released to trade in September 2023. Purchase limits had to be imposed because demand was so great from international merchants to get their hands on the precious wines. Nearly all the 1,350 magnums of the Douro Boys Red Cuvée that will be bottled were ordered immediately after the presentation. Some 150 magnums will be kept by the five producers for their own use. More than 650 of the 950 bottles of the Anniversary Very Old Tawny were ordered directly after the en primeur tasting. The remaining bottles will be available for trade to purchase at the regular price.

Putting the Douro on the map

Over the last two decades, the Douro Boys' premium DOC table and Port wines have been applauded by top wine critics and are now a fixture at prestigious restaurants and fine wine merchants around the globe. During this time, they have not only grown their individual winemaking empires, which have a collective annual turnover of €40 million, but boosted the fortunes of the entire Douro region.

So it was fitting that the Anniversary wines feature striking labels with five seemingly separate horizontal sections at the front – one for each of the Douro Boys. But at the back, the five sections merge into a single whole, perfectly reflecting their two-decade long collaboration.

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About Douro Boys

Do great minds think alike? Absolutely—especially when passionate and talented winegrowers are involved. Since 2003, five wine producers from the Douro Valley have been working together on one common goal: supplementing their famous port wines with top-quality reds and whites, to show the world the incredible potential of this special valley.

Douro Boys
Douro Valley
Portugal

Douro Boys

Douro Boys
Katharina Gessl von Wine+Partners
Katharina Gessl
Project Manager - currently on educational leave

After a bachelor’s degree in International Wine Business and a master’s degree in Content & Media Strategy in the Netherlands, Katharina was gaining experience with Buero Medienagenten and Vinea Wachau, and is a part of the Wine+Partners team since the beginning of 2022. The sommelière, who comes from a family winery, is currently doing her second master’s degree in viticulture and oenology. With her natural knack for wine, she is responsible for the Douro Boys as well as Aux Bulles.