- Douro, Portugal
The known origins of the van Zeller family refer back to the 13th Century, to the Flemish village of Zellaer, where they held several properties. During the religious wars that ravaged northern and central Europe in the 17th century, the van Zellers migrated to Spain and Portugal, where they entered into the wine business; according to the wine records Livros da Imposição (1620-1640) ancestors of the van Zellers were the biggest wine traders registered at that time. The present-day generation of the van Zeller family are the the 14th in an uninterrupted series of consecutive generations devoted to the Port and Douro wine trade, making the van Zellers the longest unbroken "dynasty" in the Portuguese wine trade.
All of the wines are a blend of Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca, and Tinto Cao, sourced from the company estates of Quinta do Saião and Quinta de Zom, with 220 acres and 200 acres, respectively. The fruit is hand-harvested in small baskets and delivered to the Quinta to be sorted and crushed without destemming. They are cold macerated for a full day prior to fermentation and then fermented with native yeasts in open top stainless steel vats under temperature control until about half of the grapes' natural sugar is consumed.
At around 100-120 g/l of residual sugar, the fermenting wine is drained off its skins and stems and it is fortified with fine, 150 proof grape brandy from Spain. After the harvest, the wine remains in the adega or winery in the Douro, where is is left to settle until the spring of the following year before it is taken to the lodges at Vila Nova de Gaia, next to Porto and near the Atlantic coast, to be matured, blended and bottled.