The Duoro Valley in Portugal is one of the most improbable regions for grape growing in the wold. Sheer cliffs overlook the sleepy river as it cuts its way from Spain to the Atlantic and soils of crumbling, flaky schist withstand tortuously hot summers and skin-cracking winters. But clinging to the valley sides, at gasp-inducing angles, is the stunning vineyard of the Quinta do Crasto run by brothers Miguel and Tomas Roquette
The region is so beautiful that it is demarcated as a world heritage site. The quinta (Portuguese for ‘vineyard’) has been in the Roquette family for over a century and the ancient history of the site is signified in the name Crasto, coming from the latin castrum, a Roman fort or castle.
Location, location, location!
But it’s not just for the view that we import Crasto wines. The vineyard sits high-up on the northern side of the Douro, thus at a southerly aspect to the sun. The wines from just across the river tend to be more tannic and austere due to poorer sunlight, while the Crasto brother’s wines are deeper, fruitier and much more intense. This is why we visit any new vineyards that we work with. It is just so important to witness all those particulars that conspire to make a plot remarkable rather than just acceptable.
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