The Douro Boys celebrates 20 years with twin release
The Douro Boys has marked its 20th anniversary with the creation of two limited edition blends, including a tawny Port whose components date back to 1860.
Representatives from the Portuguese group’s five member estates – Quinta do Crasto, Quinta do Vale Meão, Quinta do Vallado, Van Zellers & Co and Niepoort – unveiled the blends this week at an event in Porto.
The Douro Boys Anniversary Cuvée Tinto 2021 Douro DOC will be bottled in 1,350 magnums. The Douro Boys Anniversary Very Old Tawny Port will be made available in 75cl format, with a total of 950 bottles produced.
Due to be bottled this summer prior to shipping in September, both blends are currently being offered to the trade on allocation at an en primeur price of €500 per bottle.
Each wine was created from an equal contribution by the five members in a collaborative process. Francisco Olazábal from Quinta do Valle Meão emphasised that the red incorporates “the best wines of each producer”, including fruit from the centenarian field blend of Crasto’s Vinha do Ponte and Niepoort’s similarly venerable Batuta vineyard sources.
“2021 is a very elegant year,” outlined Olazábal, drawing a parallel with the Douro’s cooler 2008 vintage. “It’s not powerful but it’s very fruity and I think it’s going to survive a long time in bottle.”
Introducing the group’s Port blend, Cristiano van Zeller of Van Zellers & Co noted the decision to make a tawny style on this occasion in contrast to the vintage expressions created for the Douro Boys’ 10th and 15th anniversaries. “We discussed an ‘02 colheita and a 20 Year Old tawny,” he recalled, “but in the end we decided to make the finest blend of Very Old tawnies depending on the very best wine available in our stocks.”
The result features components from 1860, the 1930s, 1960s, 1992 and 2000. “Trial and error, that’s how we work,” said van Zeller of the blending process. “We reflect and we go back until we’re all happy.”
The Douro Boys’ manager Dorli Muhr offered a picture of just how much the group had achieved over the last two decades. She recalled early days when events featured “at least as many producers as people coming to taste. Nobody knew about the Douro and nobody was interested – it was tough.”
Since its 2003 launch the group’s members have achieved combined sales of over four million bottles of Douro DOC and one million bottles of Port spread across more than 100 countries.
This success has had wider benefits for the Douro, with the group now employing over 290 people, 250% more than when they started, and working with over 240 grape growers, a 500% uplift on 2003.
Through a combination of market visits and later inviting visitors to experience the region for themselves, Muhr observed: “We taught all those people about wines from the Douro, but also how beautiful it is, how much fun it is.”