Cristiano Van Zeller – the man behind Quinta do Noval and more recently Van Zellers & Co.

The story of Van Zellers & Co is long and ancient, yet this is a relatively new winery. It began as a Port Wine company in 1780, making them one of the oldest in the Douro. At one point it held a fleet of more than 27 ships, but over time the ships and the company were sold off. In 1937 great-great grandfather to the family, Luis Vasconcellos Porto, owner of legendary Quinta do Noval, rebought Van Zellers & Co. In the 1980’s, when current generational lineage head Cristiano Van Zeller was leading Quinta do Noval, Van Zellers & Co became independent from the main company. These gyrations in ownership deeply affected how the company operated, but in 2006, with the blossoming trajectory of the Douro and under the leadership of Cristiano, the company was set to be back in the business of hand crafting Porto and still red and white wines.

First came the release of VZ Douro White. Then came a few more reds and whites in the early part of 2011. Port wines reappeared later, because to truly become a port wine producer there must be a stock ageing in the cellar to have diversity of age, flavors, and aromas needed to create the complex blends of port.

By 2018 Van Zellers & Co had finally stocked itself with over 175,000 liters of tawny ports of various ages and they were ready for new life to be brought into the company. Today their focus is on hand-crafted ports and still wines, pressed by foot and cared for with delicate, experienced oversite of all aspects of the winemaking process. This was an early snapshot of the wines coming into the US market today, and I’m highly enthusiastic about the way they showed and the bright future ahead for the blossoming winery!

2018 Van Zellers & Co, Douro White (RT93) A blend of Viosinho, Ribigato, Codega & Gouveio, the grapes are destemmed and cold stored prior to being crushed, then aged for 9 months in French Oak with battonage. This is a superb, succulent white that caresses the palate with layers of bright, fresh fruit. Super floral and concentrated, this will make you smile from ear to ear! Drink now-2025

2017 Van Zellers & Co, Douro Red (RT91) A field blend of over 30 different red varieties from 30-80 year old vines and aged for 21 months in Allier French Oak. This is an exceptionally elegant and delicate wine which is as traditional, complex, and structured as Portuguese wines are renowned for. Full bodied, crisp, expressive & spicy! Drink now-2028+

Van Zellers & Co, Ruby Port (RT91) A serious, foot crushed Ruby built on a solid foundation of black cherry, blackberry liqueur, mocha and hints of baking spices. Full, round and mouth coating with deeply delicious fruit and excellent, bright acidity. This thoughtfully crafted ruby is ready to enjoy tonight and over the next 3-6+ years.

2015 Van Zellers & Co, Late Bottled Vintage Port (RT93) With its classic bouquet revealing it’s youthfulness, firm notes of blackberry, black cherry compote, orange zest and crushed gravel create the sensation of a structural fortress. Crafted from more than 25 different traditional Douro varieties, then foot crushed and aged in 100-year-old oak barrels for 42-48 months. The result is miraculous, this is an unknown gem! Drink now-2030+

Van Zellers & Co, 10 Year Tawny Port (RT94) This is a hand crafted, foot pressed, highly structured, and focused Tawny that shows great depth and elegance. Warm flavors of oranges and burnt caramel dominate with hints of elegant hazelnuts, star anise, toffee and dried apricot lead to a clean, delicious finish. Outstanding! Drink now