The bountiful array of native grape varieties in the Douro Valley makes it like “Disneyland for winemakers”, according to Tiago Alves de Sousa of Quinta da Gaivosa.
Speaking to the drinks business during a recent trip to Porto, dry Douro pioneer de Sousa said: “There are around 50 different white varieties and 70 different reds growing in the Douro – it’s Disneyland for winemakers and makes Châteauneuf-du-Pape look like child’s play.
“It’s so much fun to have all these different varieties to play with. I know around 30 of the varieties well, so still have around 90 that I need to explore. Many vineyards in the Douro are planted with lots of different varieties mixed up at random so it’s hard to know their individual character.
“It’s crazy to plant Syrah and Cabernet in the Douro – what’s the point when we have so many native grapes to work with? We work with around 70 different varieties and are trying to recover a lot of the old varieties once planted in the region like Malvasia Prieta.”