2007 Vale de Pios, “As Tourigas”
2007 Vale de Pios, “As Tourigas”

2007 Vale de Pios, “As Tourigas”

Douro, Portugal 2007 (750mL)
Regular price$59.00

2007 Vale de Pios, “As Tourigas”

An odd phenomenon in the wine world is how some wines simply smell expensive—not “the bigger the better,” but rather wines that exude a sense of regality and refinement. Vale de Pios’ 17-year-old “As Tourigas” is one of the clearest examples you’ll find. One sniff and you’ll be in triple-digit price tag territory. One taste will validate your prudent purchase. Sourced from an old 1.5-hectare parcel, and after an extraordinarily long barrel- and bottle-aging regimen, the 300-case production has been quietly released in periodic waves. Unless fortuitously stumbling upon it in an esoteric restaurant there’s no sense in trying to find this rare bottle anywhere else: This is your chance to snag a beautiful, under-the-radar red that rivals elites all over the world.  Seriously: Vale de Pios’ sole reason for crafting this strikingly savory and finessed wine was to showcase the cellar appeal of Douro reds! 

Portugal’s Douro Valley is one of the most breathtaking and treacherously steep wine-growing regions on Earth. If you’ve ever visited the legendary hillside vineyards of Cornas or Côte-Rôtie in France’s northern Rhône valley, trust us that the Douro humbles them with its gravity-defying grades and immense scale. The region was the world’s first “officially delimited” wine-production zone, and its signature product—sweet, fortified Port, originally crafted to withstand the rigors of overseas shipping—is capable of aging many decades. But many of us forget, or simply don’t know, that the unfortified reds here are just as cellar-worthy—Vale de Pios’ “As Tourigas” has been patiently waiting in the wings for 17 years to prove that claim. 

Quinta de Vale de Pios was founded in down-to-earth fashion: Rather than form a winery and then figure out where to source their grapes, they spent years studying geological maps and hitting dusty, dirt roads to locate the best terroir. They landed on a sprawling, forested property filled with century-old olive trees, fauna, and flora. After purchasing the land, they went to work cultivating vineyards in a natural manner. Only a couple of wines are made at Vale de Pios and today’s special bottle is their way of saying Portugal has wines that can age with the best of them. For this bottle, they utilized a single 1.5-hectare parcel with estate vines no younger than 40 years old. 

“As Tourigas,” or “the Tourigas,” refers to the grapes in this wine: Touriga Nacional and Touriga Franca. Both varieties were dry-farmed and hand-harvested early—the reason why this red clocks in at a shockingly elegant 12.5% ABV—before entering large, open-topped troughs called lagars. The weekslong, native-yeast fermentation then finished in stainless steel vats before aging in 67% new French oak for two years. After a light filtration, the bottles were moved to Vale de Pios’ stone cellars for eight additional years until the first batch was officially released in 2018. 

“As Tourigas” reveals a brilliant dark crimson moving out to flashes of garnet and bright ruby at the rim. The nose is exquisite, and with the cooler vintage of 2007, supple florals and savory underbrush burst out of the glass. Damp rose petals, garrigue, redcurrant, dried plum, tobacco leaf, black cherries, leather, iron shavings, exotic spices, cedar, and crushed stones unfold and increase in intensity as minutes pass by. Touriga Nacional lends the fruit, fragrance, and finesse, while Touriga Franca provides the density and structure of the wine. Together, they create a harmoniously blended red that echoes the elegance and complexity of cool-vintage Bordeaux. The palate shows a medium body with dark fruits and a mix of rusticity and crushed earth, as well as an intoxicating marriage of savor and delicate spice. Though “As Touriga” was held back 10+ years to illustrate the longevity of Portuguese wines, this ’07 easily has another decade in its tank. It’s that remarkable—all for less than $60. If consuming in the next few years, decant for 30 minutes and serve in your largest Bordeaux stems with a traditional Portuguese dish: beef trinchado. Cheers!

2007 Vale de Pios, “As Tourigas”

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